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Former House Intel Chair Mike Rogers: Widened European Privacy Laws Hurt Intelligence Collection

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.)

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.)

As is the case in privacy laws created after World War II, and widened in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks in Europe, “we’re going to pay a price” for limiting intelligence-collection when it comes to knowing what adversaries, terrorists and even allies are thinking, the former chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday.

Mike Rogers, speaking at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think-tank, used the CIA as an example of self-imposed restrictions limiting intelligence-gathering. “If you’re not stealing secrets . . . how do you know what their intention is?” such as when China deploys troops for the first time outside its region (to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa) or Russia changes its cyber-use policy and then knocks out Ukraine’s electric grid.

The seven-term Republican congressman from Michigan mentioned both countries’ militarization of space as another threat and one that could directly affect American military operations. He noted that the U.S. Naval Academy has decided to again teach sextant-based navigation to midshipmen, in the event global positioning systems are disrupted in a military conflict.

“Sometimes your allies can get you in more trouble than you can yourself.” Citing potential actions by Japan or the Philippines with China in territorial disputes, or German trade deals with Iran, “shouldn’t we know?” he asked, what their thinking was beforehand.

Rogers, a former FBI agent, said the United States needed to be “as aggressive as we can within the law.” Snowden, a former CIA employee and contractor working at the National Security Agency, turned over classified documents involving both those agencies for publication—first in the United States and United Kingdom 2013, and later in revelations to publications in Germany, Brazil and other countries.

Rogers said the Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures would continue to guarantee privacy.

Also following Snowden’s release of classified information, “the [longtime] alliances of economy and security . . . are starting to part,” Rogers said. As a recent example he cited Apple’s refusal to decrypt a iPhone owned by one of the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., last year at the FBI’s request.

The phone was decrypted without Apple’s assistance. Unsettled is the question of future requests from government agencies to unlock smart phones or other devices.

Rogers said, “We should stop apologizing for helping” other nations by passing along information about potential terrorist threats to them. “We call that a good day’s work in intelligence.” He said the United Kingdom’s practice of that—to members of the European Union—ended after Snowden’s documents became public.

The need for better strategic intelligence exists in the United States as well, he said.

In the United States, he said there are more spies operating today than in the Cold War “and they’re stealing everything that isn’t nailed down”—from intellectual property to government secrets, including advanced aircraft designs, “at a breathtaking rate” because of the openness of American society.

Rogers said such increased spy activity should be expected. “That’s what the intelligence business is supposed to do,” he said.

He said Russia and China differ in their approaches to spying. Moscow prefers to use professional intelligence officers while the Chinese recruit specialists—in the science of engineering and often through companies either directly owned or in part controlled by the government—to collect specific pieces of information.

China’s government and companies are “going to be aggressive about their interests.”

Saying the United States needed to be vigilant about such activities without provoking a trade war, he said the nation should “feel that pain now or we’ll feel the pain later.”

  • The Norseman

    The leftists in Europe, especially Germany, constantly perpetuate the narrative that the USA is George Orwells’ Big Brother and that the NSA wants to enslave everyone. Edward Snowden is one of their god’s that they want to give the Nobel Peace Prize to. It’s pretty bad there.

    • R’ Yitzchak M

      Clapper lied to the US Senate, Congress, and to the American people.. Without any consequences? Four of other NSA officials tried earlier to forewarn American people of excessive government intrusion into their privacy. US today have 135 MILLION of its citizens under the scrutiny of the NSA, CIA and FBI (since 9/11 “PATRIOT” act they are all interlocked into one “cause”) constitution forbade such a pathway to tyranny.
      First to lie to the Congress / Senate is a crime, a poor “player” had loose relationship to the truth by not disclosing his PERSONAL usage of performance enhancing drugs (every senator or a congressman should be mandatory put on such prescription.. perhaps something could actually start “performing”?) the poor guy got a 5 years into the slammer. Clapper lied with the UTTER CONTEMPT on the US laws and the US Constitution. Four other NSA officers tried to forewarn the American people of the excesses of the NSA and rest of the spooks that are collecting and compiling the information on the 135 MILLION Americans over 1/3 of the total population of the US Stalin, Stasi, Gestapo could never even dreamed abut such a tyrannical “paradise” collecting the information on your OWN people has nothing to do with the “external” threat and everything to do with a utility of the BLACKMAIL to shape the “future” of the country. Remember the utility of the IRS to intimidate, prosecute and bamboozle the whole “Tea Party” movement.. open, clean abuse of government agency ty stipple the OPENLY GRASS ROOT DEMOCRATIC movement? Oh yes ask those real patriots which came forward FOR the American people sacrificing everything in the process.. “Justice” department did everything to gag them out from disclosing absolutely ANYTHING. Those are the PATRIOTS a “PARTY DISCIPLINE” is the most dangerous social disease that millions and tens of millions of innocent lives were sacrificed to at every place where this disease was put into the practice.

  • Jay

    Rodgers has always been a Republican hack — now he’s just making more money pushing his right wing propaganda on am radio. Part of the Republican legions with Obama Derangement Syndrome whitewashing the 8 years of Bush/Cheney.

  • Swiftright Right

    So the only way to save Western civilization is to destroy it and then rework the ashes into some perverse Stasi-murica! nightmare?

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    During the WW2 the war was fought “To preserve OUR WAY OF LIFE” we went “there” and they changed their “way of life”? After the 9/11 we GAVE UP our way of life while they kept theirs.. We are creating the POLICE STATE on the account of fear mongering.. If someone could not or is unwilling to resolve the issue he should not be INVOLVED any longer on the “issue” he is unable to RESOLVE.
    Just to put in to prospective IQ is defined by the ABILITY OF THE SUBJECT TO RESOLVE THE PROBLEM IN A GIVEN TIME.. The focus is on “RESOLVE” not to spin the problem into an applied poetry of “political narratives” to justify surrender of our values – freedoms in order to justify unjustifiable the surrender our freedoms to the tyranny of arrogance and the INCOMPETENCE.
    In the DNA there is only one gen that separates humans from the apes.. the freedom is the only one thing that separates United States of America from the rest of all other failed “alternatives”.
    If the British and the Americans used the SAME RULES OF THE ENGAGEMENT as our Marines have to follow today we all would be speaking only German.. PERIOD!

    “The people who are willing to surrender their freedom for safety DESERVE NEITHER..” Thomas Jefferson
    “Every nation has the government they deserve..” Winston Churchill
    ..it was his really very simple and powerful statement but it does make the sense. Democracy demands CITIZENS to be involved, educated (about the issues) in order to matter it is the critical component of every democratic governance.. with the tyranny it is the opposite it can only strive with the MOB and its hysteria driven mob is a does “matter” like the “killing fields” in Kampuchea, N Korea, “Cultural Revolution” in China, “Cristal Nacht” in Germany, “Goulags” in a Russia etc. Just to put in into a prospective..

    Just imagine in an charter airliner the pilots got incapacitated one airliner carries the share holder of any company.. And the another airliner is carrying acorn registered (dead, alive or fictional voter of course..) citizens college kids, street people etc.. In the such a event how do you think those two airliners will end? One group will look for the QUALIFICATION of the pilots to be and will most likely find an appropriate “crew” to land the plane in one piece? While other group obviously will look for the “cutest one” who will.. do what? Oh yes he would WISH to be able to land that plane.. So unfortunately we have to many “priests” of the wishful thinking and very few common sense patriots to demand the solutions instead of the malignant POETRY they are serving us lately.

    “The price of freedom is the vigilance of its people to protect it..” Thomas Jefferson.

  • R’ Yitzchak M

    To the censor of my last post here. Remember what the Churchill said? “The every nation deserves the government it has..” it is the power tool for the wise. Benjamin Franklin did everything to educate and to inform his fellow citizens to dispel the DARKNESS when you open the “drapes” you give the light the chance but when you are closing the “drapes” you are only allowing the darkness of ignorance to hide in the “shadows”.. So there is absolutely nothing else to say when there is no longer a tolerance for the “light”.