House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., did little to tamp down speculation that he's under consideration to become the next CIA director, saying he could neither confirm nor deny conversations with the Obama administration about the vacant position.
Speaking Tuesday on WJR radio in Detroit, Rogers, a former FBI agent who's helmed the intelligence panel for the past two years, acknowledged that his name has been among those in public discussion to replace David Petraeus as leader of the CIA. But he said he hd "every expectation" he would continue to serve as Intelligence Committee chairman.
A New York Times report following Petraeus's resignation in an adultery scandal named Rogers — along with deputy CIA Director Michael Morrell, Obama counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan and former National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter — as potential picks to helm the CIA.
Obama has shown a willingness during his first term to name Republicans to top security roles. For instance, he continued to involve Petraeus — a GOP favorite whose tenure begun under President George W. Bush — in security efforts, and kept Robert Gates as his defense secretary until mid-2011.
What follows is a lightly edited transcript of relevant portions of Rogers's conversation Tuesday with WJR host Paul W. Smith:
Paul W. Smith: If you don't want the job, you can say so here and now, but it seems like you'd be a perfect fit for that kind of position, with your background.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R): Certainly, that name has been bandied about. They're going through a process now for that position. I have every expectation I will be the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which is a great job, it's where I want to be, and it's the kind of worth that I think is important for the country.
Smith: Have you had any conversation that you can share with us, without getting into the details, regarding the position of director of the CIA with people who could be involved in that kind of decision-making process?
Rogers: I would not be able to confirm nor deny any discussions on the process they may be going through on the CIA director. I can tell you I have every expectation that I will be the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in January.
Smith: Anything else, Mr. Director — I mean, congressman — that we need to talk about?
Rogers (laughing): It's going to be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a role that I'm honored and proud to serve in. And there's just a ton of work we're going to have to do in the next year.
Smith: That doesn't mean you wouldn't accept the position, should it be offered.
Rogers: A) I doubt that's likely to happen, and B) I think it's important to have somebody that can walk in the office and sit down and have a level of trust.