Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) outgoing Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Friday that he is “not surprised” President Obama would send a secret letter to the Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The Michigan Republican also said that he has had “zero meetings” with the President since becoming Chairman of the Committee and described the few meetings he had in the White House Situation Room as “dysfunctional.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that President Obama wrote to Khamenei last month “describ[ing] a shared interest in fighting the Islamic State [ISIS].” This is the fourth time the President has written to Khamenei in such a fashion since taking office in 2009, according to The Washington Examiner.
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Rogers told Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor, hosts of WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall, he was “not surprised” President Obama wrote the letter without informing proper diplomatic channels.
“…We’ve seen this before, and we’ve tried to have that discussion the last time that… even in kicking off these negotiations we didn’t think was appropriate without the proper notification and for this very reason by the way, that it causes all of these other problems.
“That’s why you don’t – you have a notification process to try and avoid some of these things. And I’d like to tell you I’m surprised and shocked and dismayed that they would do this, possibly at the expense of partners who are in the fight right now against ISIS, but Brian I’ve watched the way they’ve worked for six years – I’m not surprised.”
Rogers, who is not only stepping down as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee but is leaving Congress altogether at the end of this year to pursue a talk radio career, said that as a regular member of the committee, he had four meetings “one on one” with President George W. Bush regarding “pretty sensitive counterterrorism efforts in the Afghanistan region,” and “more than 12 meetings” with a broader group of what he described as “national security type members”–but no such meetings with President Obama.
“I have had exactly zero meetings as Chairman with the President of the United States on any of these issues. I’ve had a couple of meetings in the Situation Room that were, I hate to say it, a bit dysfunctional as far as meetings go. No conclusions, no to do lists, none of that comes out of these meetings.”
The former FBI agent mentioned he met with Vice President Joe Biden on one occasion, but noted that booking the meeting was a tedious process. “We had to ask and keep working on it – to get it took us a few months to get that meeting,” Rogers said. “It’s the oddest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“It just shows you the disengagement from the severity of these issues, which is why I think they make mistakes like this and they repeat these mistakes, because the number of people that they talk to is getting smaller and smaller and smaller.
“And when you do that, when you become that insular, you’re only repeating each other’s ideas. That’s when you’re going to do something really crazy at the expense of your allies like sending a secret letter to the Iran regime that’s trying to unseat all of the Sunni-led nations from their ability to govern their own countries.”
Rogers, a 14 year veteran of the House, also said that frustration with the President was equal, if not worse, with Democrats on his Committee.
“My Democrat colleagues are more frustrated I think at the administration and how they handle members relations than Republicans are. I suppose to some extent you expect a little bit of that. Although in national security issues you should expect none of that.”