Tag: mike rogers
Mike Rogers

Michigan GOP Senate Candidate Exposed -- As Resident Of Florida

Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) is running in the Republican US Senate primary on his longtime relationship with the Mitten State and his local roots. But a staffer for his Democratic rival just unearthed evidence showing his ties to a state decidedly much further away from his target constituency.

In a Monday tweet, Rogers — who represented Michigan's Eighth Congressional District between 2001 and 2015 — wrote, "I'm proud to be born and raised right here in Michigan. And I will be proud to serve my home in the US Senate." This prompted Austin Cook, the communications director for Democratic US Senate candidate Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), to tweet a screenshot of Rogers' voter registration record that shows a Florida ZIP code and a voter status of "active."

"Fun fact: @MikeRogersForMI is literally registered to vote in Florida right now," Cook wrote, tagging Rogers' official campaign account.

According to Newsweek, Rogers is currently living at his sister-in-law's home in Brighton, Michigan while a home he bought in West Lake Township is undergoing renovations. Michigan Advance reported that Rogers' official residence was a home in Cape Coral, Florida prior to him announcing his candidacy for the US Senate.

The Constitution dictates that in order to run for US Senate, a candidate must be a US citizen for at least nine years, be at least 30 years old, and be a legal resident of the state they seek to represent at the time of election. This means that even as a current Florida resident, Rogers could still represent Michigan in the US Senate if his residency in the Mitten State is established prior to the first Tuesday in November. Being a registered voter at his West Lake Township home would ostensibly meet the Constitution's residency requirements.

However, proving his authentic status as a Michigander may be more difficult to do between now and the time voters cast their ballots if Rogers was indeed a full-time Florida resident until recently. A 4,751 square-foot five-bedroom, four-bathroom house in Cape Coral valued on Zillow at nearly $1.7 million matches the address shown on Rogers' voter registration in Florida. And according to Lee County, Florida property assessment records, that home is in the name of Rogers, his wife, and their family trust. Rogers has not yet publicly clarified whether he is still a full-time Florida resident, which is required to be an actively registered voter in the Sunshine State.

Determining whether Rogers claimed the Cape Coral home as his primary residence could be confirmed by flood insurance claim records. Cape Coral was in the direct path of Hurricane Ian in 2022, which was Florida's most costly storm in history. Ian was also the third-costliest storm in US history according to the National Hurricane Center, causing more than 150 direct and indirect deaths and more than $112 billion in total property damage.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is the federal program that underwrites all flood insurance claims in the US, pays replacement cash value (RCV) in claims where the affected property is the insured's principal residence. In cases where a home is a secondary residence, the NFIP instead pays actual cash value (ACV), which is a lesser amount. If Rogers qualified for an RCV claim, that would mean he told the federal government that the Cape Coral house was his principal residence at the time of the flood.

AlterNet has reached out to the Rogers campaign via email to see if his Cape Coral home was damaged by Hurricane Ian, and if it was, if the adjuster assigned to his claim recommended an ACV or RCV payment. This article will be updated in the event Rogers' campaign responds.

Rogers has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump in the Michigan US Senate Republican primary. He's running against Peter Meijer, a scion of the wealthy Meijer family known for their nationwide grocery store chain. Meijer notably voted to impeach Trump following the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, though he has since softened his tone in regard to the former president.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Comey Confirms Trump Investigation During Intelligence Committee Hearing

Comey Confirms Trump Investigation During Intelligence Committee Hearing

From his first tweeted accusation of “wiretapping,” Donald Trump has thrown up a screen of chaff to obscure what he and his cronies seem to fear most: a thorough, transparent investigation of the multiple connections between the Kremlin and his presidential campaign. Self-destructive as his ploy was, he succeeded in distracting attention from the deeply troubling questions that surround his election.

But at yesterday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing, FBI director James Comey and NSA director Mike Rogers finally disposed of that phony “tapp” claim, in all its permutations (including the British variation he heard on Fox News). That topic merits no further discussion except whether and how the president should be sanctioned for this offensive prevarication.

While Republicans on the committee didn’t endorse Trump’s wiretapping fantasy, they attempted to spin up a slightly different sideshow, demanding prosecution of the leaks that exposed Michael Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador. Of course those same leaks eventually revealed that as national security adviser, Flynn lied about his Russian contacts, leading to his dismissal.

Now we know that Flynn was also acting as the paid agent of another foreign government while he advised Trump. Yet for reasons only they can explain, “conservatives” like Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) seem more disturbed by the leaks than what those leaks disclosed about the former national security adviser. Of course, Gowdy’s Benghazi committee leaked profusely and lawlessly whenever that served his party’s political aims, without protest from a single Republican. So their current indignation about leaking is bogus and deserves no response except laughter. The same can be said for White House press secretary Sean Spicer, whose effort to shift attention away from the Trump investigation to “wiretaps” and then to “leaks” at his press briefing was so obvious, so clumsy — and so instructive.

When all the chaff is blown away, what remains is a simple fact that should arouse this endangered republic. Since last summer, the President of the United States and several of his disreputable associates have been embroiled in an ongoing investigation of crimes against the American political system by a foreign adversary. During the hearing, Comey deflected almost every specific question about the case, but what he confirmed was stunning. It was not “fake news,” but an announcement by the nation’s top law enforcement official that Trump’s presidency, only eight weeks old, is in deep peril.

Much as the White House continues to insist there is “no evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, the circumstantial evidence has been piling up for months: the abruptly dismissed, Kremlin-linked campaign manager Paul Manafort (whose role Spicer comically attempted to minimize); the contacts between Trump dirty trickster Roger Stone, Wikileaks, and Guccifer 2.0, the “cutouts” used by the Russians to veil their attacks on the Democrats; the various contacts between the Russians and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Carter Page, and Jeff Sessions, which they attempted to conceal; and the curious shaping of the Republican platform on Ukraine to mollify Vladimir Putin.

After reciting some of the troubling facts, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the committee’s ranking Democrat, observed that the likelihood of all these connections being merely coincidental is extremely small. Former White House counsel John Dean, whose 1973 testimony helped to break Nixon’s Watergate defense, went further, saying that he sees the Trump White House in a familiar “cover-up mode.”

Unfortunately, the conduct of the Republicans at Monday’s hearing inspired no confidence in their ability to complete the Trump investigation. Not only do most of them lack the necessary integrity and courage, but their leader doesn’t seem sufficiently engaged to master the material. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who chairs the committee, told David Corn of Mother Jones that he has no idea who Roger Stone and Carter Page are, even at this late date. He has been too busy blathering about leaks to learn the basic facts about the probe he is supposed to oversee.

That leaves America’s fate in the hands of Comey, whose stumbling and biased performance during the election was underlined by his own testimony — and the bureau he leads, which remains disgraced by a partisan clique that misused law enforcement for political purposes last year. We must hope that the FBI director has realized he made a terrible mistake and that he can muster honest agents to complete this historic investigation. It is the only way he can redeem himself, his agency, and his country.

IMAGE: FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill, March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do

What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do

by Kara Brandeisky,ProPublica.

Ten months after Edward Snowden’s first disclosures, three main legislative proposals have emerged for surveillance reform: one from President Obama, one from the House Intelligence Committee, and one proposal favored by civil libertarians.

All the plans purport to end the bulk phone records collection program, but there are big differences—and a lot they don’t do. Here’s a rundown.

President Obama’s proposal

What it would do: As described, the president’s proposal would prohibit the collection of bulk phone records. Instead, the government would seek individualized court orders every time it wants American phone metadata. The government would get the data from telecoms, which already keep it for at least 18 months.

The proposal would solidify some changes Obama has already made: For instance, since January, analysts have needed to get court approval before searching the phone records database. Also, NSA analysts have only been able to obtain records from people who are two “hops” away from a surveillance target—a target’s friends’ friends—rather than three “hops” away. Obama’s proposal would make both of those policies law.

What it wouldn’t do: It’s hard to know. The White House hasn’t released the actual text of the legislation, and lawmakers have yet to introduce it in Congress. But privacy advocates do have a lot of questions.

One thing the president hasn’t proposed: ending the bulk phone records program now. He could do that without any vote if he simply stopped asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to reauthorize the program, as Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has suggested.

The secret surveillance court’s last 90-day order for Verizon phone records has expired. President Obama reportedly wants the court to renew the program at least one more time, to give Congress a chance to pass new legislation. Until Congress acts, the NSA will continue collecting American phone records in bulk.

Of course, if President Obama were to act unilaterally, another president could later reverse his changes. If Congress passes his proposal, his reforms will have the force of law.

The president’s proposal also appears to address only one of the NSA’s many surveillance programs. It doesn’t seem to change the FISA Amendments Act, which allows the NSA to sweep up foreigners’ communications without a warrant. In the process, the NSA “incidentally” collects Americans’ communications.

In January, Obama said he would ask the Justice Department to limit the government’s authority to use any American communications collected while targeting foreigners. The administration has not offered any details yet. However, even the Senate’s biggest NSA critics say the FISA Amendments Act has been an effective counterterrorism tool, so Congress is unlikely to repeal it.

FISA Transparency and Modernization Act

What it would do: Very little to limit surveillance. Introduced by House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and ranking member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), this bill represents the wishes of the NSA’s biggest defenders in Congress.

The bill nominally bans the government’s bulk collection of phone records. Like Obama’s plan, telecoms would keep the records, but this in proposal, the government could request the records without a court order.

The bill also says it would prohibit the government from indiscriminate collection of other kinds of data, including “library circulation records,” “firearm sales records,” and “tax return records.” But the government could still use search terms to get the records it wants.

What else it would do: Roll back current protections in the law. The legislation would no longer require that the government get a court order before obtaining American records. Instead, the secret surveillance court would review the privacy procedures before the Justice Department collects any records, and the court could also tell the government to stop collecting records after the fact.

Also, under current law, the government needs to show that records are related to foreign terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Rogers’ bill would change that standard, requiring the government to show that records are for an individual who is associated with a “foreign power” — a broad term that includes terrorist groups, foreign governments and foreign political groups.

If the bill passes, a lot would depend on how the secret surveillance court interprets it. For instance, what kinds of “selection terms” could the government use to search for records? The broader the search terms, the more likely it is that innocent people will get caught in the dragnet.

Finally, Rogers’ bill would not amend the FISA Amendments Act. “I don’t believe that foreign collection on foreign soil is something that we need to change,” Rogers said.

This bill has House Speaker John Boehner’s support.

USA Freedom Act

What it would do: A lot. First, the bill’s authors, Democratic senator Leahy and PATRIOT Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) say the legislation would end all bulk collection of American records. To do so, they’d narrow the language in the PATRIOT Act to require that the government only collects records that are “relevant and material” to an authorized investigation. To qualify, an investigation must be related to foreign terrorism or clandestine activities, and the records must directly “pertain” to a foreign power.

The proposal would also close a so-called backdoor loophole that allows the NSA to search its databases for the content of Americans’ communications. Under the new bill, analysts would need an individualized warrant to access any domestic content collected “incidentally.”

In addition, the lawmakers would also tighten oversight of national security letters, a kind of administrative subpoena that lets the FBI obtain records related to “national security” without a court order. The idea is to make sure that the government can’t use the national security letters law to justify bulk collection of American records in the future.

What it wouldn’t do: The bill covers a lot of bases and has won the support of the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 142 representatives and 21 senators.

However, some worry that the bill does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Again, a lot depends on how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets the statute. While this bill’s language is narrower than current law, we now know the secret surveillance court has interpreted the PATRIOT Act very broadly. The EFF has suggested that the bill’s sponsors make their intent more explicit.

This bill has by far the most co-sponsors, but its prospects are uncertain — it was introduced in October, and it still hasn’t reached the floor.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

House Intelligence Chairman Says Russia Might Have Helped Snowden

House Intelligence Chairman Says Russia Might Have Helped Snowden

By David S. Cloud, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said Sunday that former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden may have received help from Russian intelligence in stealing and leaking thousands of classified files, many of which the lawmaker said compromised U.S. military operations.

“He is likely to have had help. I think there are some interesting questions … that certainly would lend one to believe that the Russians had at least in some part something to do with” Snowden’s activities, Rogers said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Something more was going on there.”

Many of the thousands of computer files that Snowden copied from the agency’s computer servers related not only to surveillance programs, but also U.S. military operations, some of which now have to be ended, Rogers added.

Snowden is living in Russia, which granted him temporary asylum. Privacy advocates portray him as a hero for disclosing NSA surveillance programs, but U.S. officials call Snowden a traitor who joined the agency with the intent to steal and release information.

Rogers said earlier this month that a damage assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency indicates most of the estimated 1.7 million classified documents that officials say Snowden copied from NSA computers involve military operations.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it was still unclear whether Snowden received assistance from Russian intelligence or another foreign government. No evidence of a link has emerged.

“He may well have,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We don’t know at this stage.”

She and Rogers called for further investigation into Snowden’s possible foreign intelligence ties before he fled, first to Hong Kong, then to Russia.

Feinstein and Rogers also expressed doubt Sunday about President Barack Obama’s plan for restricting the federal government from collecting data on domestic telephone calls, saying that private phone companies should not be assigned the job instead because they do not want the responsibility and would not be subject to adequate oversight.

“I think that’s a very difficult thing,” Feinstein said of eliminating the government’s role in keeping the records. “The whole purpose of this program is to provide instantaneous information to be able to disrupt any plot that may be taking place.”

Obama in a speech Friday stopped short of calling for the job to be turned over to private companies.

Acknowledging concerns about either the government or private companies holding such data for use in investigations, Obama called for a public-private panel to review the issue and make recommendations in 70 days.

Rogers warned about the possibility of privacy abuses if Congress, the courts and other government agencies are not involved in overseeing the data collection.

“If you move away from the government sector, you lose all of the review,” said Rogers, adding that phone companies are “there to provide service to their customers, not work for the government.”

The comments suggested that Obama’s plan may face opposition in Congress from both parties when the NSA surveillance programs come up for reauthorization next year.

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., backed the Obama plan, saying there have been “abuses” in use of the data by the government. He noted that phone companies already collect the information and would not be likely to use it to invade customers’ privacy.

“They’re not going to use that data in ways that will break faith with their customers,” Udall said on “Face the Nation.”

Photo: AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards

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