Watch The Video Of Rep. Mike Rogers Attacking Fellow Reps For Saying They Had No Idea NSA Spied On Foreign Leaders
from the could-he-be-any-more-condescending? dept
Yesterday, we wrote about the incredible exchange between Reps. Mike Rogers and Adam Schiff, after Rogers made a big production out of claiming that of course the House Intelligence Committee knew all about the NSA spying on foreign leaders. Schiff (and some others on the committee) made it clear that, contrary to Rogers’ condescending claims earlier, they had no idea, despite being on the committee. However, to understand the level of dripping condescension from Rogers towards his colleagues who contradict him on the Committee, you really have to watch the video. If C-SPAN’s video clipping service is working correctly (and it’s crazy buggy), you should see the whole thing below (or at this link, starting with Schiff’s questions to the panel, in which he makes it clear that he was not informed, and that he’s not at all happy with James Clapper trying to tap dance around this by spewing a bunch of words that don’t mean anything about how he tries to follow “the spirit” of the law.
The fun starts a little over five and a half minutes in when Rogers starts lecturing Schiff about not saying what Schiff knows is true, and making not-particularly-veiled claims that if only Schiff had done his homework, he’d know about it. Schiff shoots back to point out that dumping a ton of documents and insisting that he must know everything in them is quite different than directly informing him of this very serious activity, leading to a long and ridiculous lecture from Rogers that has to be watched to see the scolding father tone he adopts, all the while knowing he’s full of crap, because Schiff clearly has him dead to rights. The information may have been buried somewhere, but the Committee clearly was not informed directly about these activities. If they had been, when Schiff asked his question of Clapper, Clapper wouldn’t have tap danced like he did around the question. He would have just said, “We did inform you.”
Here’s a bit of the transcript, though you have to see the tone to believe it.
Rogers: I would argue that to say that we’re in the dark is mystifying to me. Some members spend a lot more time based on their schedules, which are significant, in this Congress. But, it is disingenuous to imply that this Committee did not have a full and complete understanding of activities of the intelligence community, as was directed under the national intelligence priority framework, to include sources and methods.
Schiff: Will the Chairman yield?
Rogers: I would yield.
Schiff: Chairman, are you suggesting you and the Committee were informed of the wiretapping of foreign leaders if that report is correct?
Rogers: Well, I wouldn’t confirm any specific activity by intelligence community. As the gentleman knows — as I have highlighted — that we have access to all sources and methods and there is lots of product to be reviewed by the Intelligence Committee, through the Intelligence Committee and through the members of the Committee. Any implication that through the reviews that this Committee would not be informed to the status that has been in question is not correct.
Schiff I’d be interested to know, Mr. Chairman —
Rogers: We would be happy to take you to the committee and spend a couple of hours going through mounds of product that would allow member to be as informed as a member wishes to be on sources and methods and all activities of the intelligence community under the national intelligence framework.
Schiff: I would just say —
Rogers: I think we need to be careful about what we talk about but I think it would be disingenuous to use the classification…
Schiff: … I think it would be disingenuous, Mr. Chairman, to suggest we have information if we don’t have it. I would like to find out just what we were informed by the intelligence community. I would also like to find out if this is in the posture that you sometimes see in litigation, where you’re given a warehouse full of documents…
Rogers: Again, reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time. This is a very unique Committee on Capitol Hill. It’s the only committee on both sides of the chamber that has both military and civilian intelligence activities. That is an enormous responsibility for every member of this committee, enormous. We don’t get to take personal staff from the office to assist in processing of information we may have to do as members of this committee. I think it is to the semantics of exactly who, what, when or why, if you’re asking if intelligence community submits a selector to every engagement in their business to the intelligence committee, that would be ridiculous. And no one would receive information in that way, not even the Director of National Intelligence would receive it in that particular way. To know what the framework is and know what the guidelines are and know what the reporting is and go through the very significant oversight of this Committee and the review of the product, which is incredibly important to the end, and to say this Committee is somehow in the dark on intelligence activities simply is not accurate.
I think we need to be incredibly careful about making any assertions that somehow we’re in the dark because that information is available in robust amounts of material in our particular Committee. It is time consuming. I get it. It’s a very time consuming committee. Again, this feeds into this flame of misreporting about lack of oversight or our intelligence community is running around doing what they want to do outside of the law or any oversight is wrong. Again, I just caution members before you might make any statement to the contrary, I would argue that a significant portion of your time should be spent in the committee reviewing the materials available and made available by the Intelligence Committee accordance with the law we are charged to do. With that, Miss Bachmann.
Schiff: Mr. Chairman, can I —
Schiff: — will you yield?
Rogers: No. Reclaiming my time. I will not. Miss Bachmann.
And, just for fun, I’ve left Bachmann’s questions in the video if you’d like to see what was so important that Rogers had to “reclaim his time” and not allow Schiff to speak. It’s a bunch of questions about just how evil Ed Snowden is, complete with making the entire panel state that Snowden is a traitor, despite not actually fitting the classification under the law. The only one who refused to play that game was James Cole who says considering the legal proceedings, he really can’t comment, which Bachmann refuses to accept as an answer.
So, rather than actually get to the heart of the matter on an important question of whether or not the intelligence community actually provided this important information to the Committee, we’re treated to a game of bogus name calling. Ladies and gentleman, this is “Congressional oversight” under the leadership of Mike Rogers.