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Mike Rogers, key House Republican, won't run for reelection

By Halimah Abdullah and Joe Sterling, CNN
updated 1:10 PM EDT, Fri March 28, 2014
  • Rogers is considered an important congressional voice on national security
  • He is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee
  • Rogers just recently backed a plan ending the NSA collection of bulk phone records

Washington (CNN) -- Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a key congressional voice on national security, announced Friday that he will not run for reelection this year.

The Michigan Republican made the announcement on Detroit's WJR radio station, saying he will host a syndicated radio program that will talk about national security issues and other news of the day.

"I had a career before politics and always planned to have one after," Rogers said in a statement. "The genius of our institutions is they are not dependent on the individual temporary occupants privileged to serve. That is why I have decided not to seek re- election to Congress in 2014."

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Rogers, who has held a seat in Congress for more than a decade and is close to House Speaker John Boehner, has been a staunch supporter of National Security Agency surveillance programs, which came under fire after leaks by Edward Snowden publicly disclosed their sweeping nature.

This week, he and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland -- the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee -- came up with a plan for ending the NSA's sweeping collection of bulk telephone records.

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Rogers has said in the past that the phone and electronic surveillance programs were not abused and has stridently criticized Snowden, a former NSA contractor.

He also has acknowledged public worries about government storage of surveillance data.

"That's really what we're trying to do here is alleviate that concern that there could be abuse in the future of these programs," Rogers said recently.

Authorization for those programs expires on Friday, but President Barack Obama is expected to seek their temporarily renewal while Congress works on reform legislation, a senior administration official said.

Rogers is also a favorite of Sunday public affairs programming on which he frequently criticizes Obama.

He joins a cadre of House members not seeking reelection in November, but his seat in the 8th Congressional District is still considered relatively safe for Republicans.

But the Rothenberg Political Report and the Cook Political Report shifted their analysis of the district from "likely Republican" to "lean Republican" for the November election following Rogers' announcement.

Democrats sought to tie together Rogers and Boehner.

"Senior Republican committee chairmen continue to flee John Boehner's broken Congress rather than defend their indefensible record of siding with special interests over middle class families that has earned them record low approval ratings," Rep. Steve Israel of New York who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Rogers became a key figure in developing U.S. national security policy, informed by his experience as an Army officer and FBI special agent.

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"Mike has spent his entire life ensuring our country has been kept safe from threats both foreign and domestic," National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden said in a statement. "He never once let partisan politics stand in the way of doing what's right for our nation and its safety. I can't think of anyone who enjoys more respect from both Republicans and Democrats alike."

Before Rogers became chairman, he issued an Intelligence Committee report "on Iran's nuclear ambitions, authored a bill to protect against chemical and biological threats, and co-authored legislation reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," his Intelligence Committee biography said.

"Mike Rogers is as solid as they come -- one of those patriots willing to go to the wall to keep the American people safe, no matter the strain or sacrifice," Boehner said in a statement.

CNN's Jim Acosta, Tom Cohen, Lisa Desjardins and John Helton contributed to this report.