Rogers' testimony Tuesday sparked interest after reports Trump asked him to publicly deny evidence of cooperation
Rogers batted down notion that Obama administration requested that British eavesdrop on Trump
Late last year, Adm. Michael Rogers found himself in both the catbird seat and the hot seat all at once.
On one front, he was being considered as a candidate for the job of director of national intelligence under President-elect Donald Trump. On another front, there were questions about whether he would be fired as director of the National Security Agency by then-President Barack Obama.
Obama’s defense and intelligence chiefs had recommended firing Rogers due to the belief that Rogers was not working fast enough on a critical reorganization to address the cyberthreat, but Rogers survived and remained in his role as the director of the NSA and head of US Cyber Command under Trump.
Now, Rogers is now among those agency heads testifying before Congress as an authority on cybersecurity as it relates to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
In fact, Rogers has spent more time testifying about that topic than just about any other US official and is facing more questions from lawmakers on Tuesday as the probe continues to look into possible collusion between Russian officials and associates of the Trump campaign.
His testimony Tuesday has sparked additional interest in the wake of reports that Trump asked him along with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russia after then-FBI Director James Comey revealed in March that the bureau had launched a probe into alleged collusion.
The revelations, first reported by The Washington Post, deepen the intrigue over alleged links between Trump’s campaign and Russia as they follow the President’s firing of Comey and his subsequent statement he did so because of the Russia probe.
Both Coats and Rogers were uncomfortable with the nature of the President’s request and refused to comply, sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
Rogers also played a key role in last month’s House hearing with Comey when he joined the FBI director in refuting Trump’s claim that Obama had had his phones tapped during the campaign. He specifically batted down the notion that the Obama administration requested that the British eavesdrop on Trump, an unfounded assertion made on Fox News and later cited by White House officials.
Earlier this month, Rogers revealed that the US also warned France about Russian cyberactivity prior to the hack of then-presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.
Despite ultimately winning the election, Macron had been the victim of a “massive and coordinated hacking operation,” his campaign team said.
“We had talked to our French counterparts … and we gave them a heads up: ‘Look, we are watching the Russians. We are seeing them penetrate some of your infrastructure. Here’s what we’ve seen … what can we do to assist?’” Rogers told lawmakers on the Senate armed services committee earlier this month.
Prior to assuming his current role at the NSA in 2014, Rogers served as the director for Intelligence for both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and US Pacific Command, and most recently as commander, US Fleet Cyber Command.
A native of Chicago, Rogers attended Auburn University. He graduated in 1981 and received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. He was selected for re-designation to information warfare in 1986 after initially serving as a surface warfare officer.