Michigan Republican Rep. Mike Rogers has been crowing about being head of the House Intelligence Committee, which sort of makes him partly responsible for preventing terrorist attacks against the U.S.
So why is it we haven't heard a peep out of Rogers after the House failed to approve extending the Patriot Act this week? Especially since he was a co-sponsor of the measure that went down to defeat?
Can you imagine the attacks impugning the patriotism of Democrats had they been in charge when the Patriot Act came up for renewal and was defeated?
It's not as if Rogers has been too busy to talk to anybody. He had time to send out an email Wednesday (February 9, 2011) touting a hearing he is going to have on terrorism. Not a word about the Patriot Act going down to defeat, though. Isn't he outraged? If not, why not?
Has the local media asked Rogers for his reaction to the defeat, asked him to explain why it lost and whether it means that House Republicans are soft on terror? What did Mike Rogers do to round up votes for the measure? Isn't it sort of important to his committee? Did Rogers even lift a finger to help this bill pass? If not, why not? As he likes to remind us so much, Rogers is the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
On his website, Rogers makes it sound like he wrote the Patriot Act originally. His biography says:
"In Congress, in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mike’s expertise was sought out during development of the USA PATRIOT Act, which gives law enforcement the tools necessary for tracking terrorists with today’s technology. Mike’s expertise proved invaluable in understanding how wiretaps are obtained and used, the complex checks and balances that prevent abuse of wire taps, and why the rules based on 1970s technology were no longer applicable in the day of cell phones and the Internet."
So Rogers obviously thinks the Patriot Act is important. Yet when members of his own party reject the renewal of the act, Rogers says nothing. He's not worried about the nation having "the tools necessary for tracking terrorists with today's technology"?
There are legitimate concerns about the provisions of the act and its impact on Americans' freedom. (Yes, freedom means more than just not paying taxes.)
But Rogers and his leadership brought the bill he co-sponsored to the floor without having the votes lined up and that's a reflection on his competence. If he and the rest of the House leadership can't count votes, how can he keep us safe?