DETROIT (AP) - U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who has been a prominent voice as President Barack Obama attempts to overhaul U.S. surveillance, said Friday that he won't seek re-election after his term ends this year.
Rogers, a seven-term Republican, announced his plans during an interview on Detroit radio station WJR-AM. The 50-year-old former FBI agent, who has been invited regularly to talk about national security issues on TV and radio, said he plans to start a national radio program focusing on those and other issues.
"It's a pretty rare opportunity," Rogers said "They don't come around very often."
Last year, Rogers had said he would not run for the U.S. Senate in Michigan this year, saying the best way for him to make a difference in Washington is staying in the House. As Intelligence Committee chairman, he has a prominent role on American national security issues.
"I believe in being a productive conservative, meaning you have to move the ball forward, and that voice is just missing out there," Rogers said. "And I want to have the opportunity to talk about it."
On Thursday, responding to public outrage over the National Security Agency program, the Obama administration on came up with a new program that it says would address privacy concerns and preserve the government's ability to fight terrorism.
A proposal from the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, which also has bipartisan support, has some similarities to Obama's plan in that it would call for the government to query phone companies directly. However, Rogers' plan would not require prior court approval of searches.
Rogers has been in the House since 2001. He previously was a state senator from 1995 to 2000.
"When I first started, I asked voters to give me two years to see if we could make a difference," he said. "I think we've done a lot of that."
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