One of the top advocacy groups for the FBI has endorsed Michigan Republican Congressman Mike Rogers – chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a former FBI agent – to succeed Robert Mueller as FBI director after he steps down this fall.
The FBI Agents Association, which claims it represents 12,000 active and former agents, urges President Barack Obama to nominate Rogers to become the nation's top G-Man when that job becomes vacant this fall.
Mueller ascended to the position of the country's top law enforcement agent in September 2001. His term was supposed to expire in September 2011, but Obama asked him to stay on for two more years. The Senate approved the extension earlier that summer.
"Chairman Rogers exemplifies the principles that should be possessed by the next FBI Director," said FBIAA President Konrad Motyka in the statement. "His unique and diverse experience as a veteran, FBI Agent and member of Congress will allow him to effectively lead the men and women of the Bureau as they continue their work to protect our country from criminal and terrorist threats."
Rogers issued a statement to U.S. News Monday, but declined further comment.
"I am honored to have the confidence of the men and women of the FBI's Special Agent community, and am humbled by their endorsement of me to lead the Bureau," Rogers said. "The next generation of FBI leadership must recognize how essential Special Agents are to the Bureau's core mission. In whatever capacity I serve the public, my focus will always be to ensure we are in the best position possible to keep America safe."
Calls to the Department of Justice and White House were not returned in time for this report.
Rogers became an FBI special agent and served in the Chicago field office until retiring in 1995 to assume his public office. He previously served as a U.S. Army officer in the 7th Infantry Division after graduating from the Reserve Officers Training Corps at the University of Michigan in 1985.
He has been very vocal in the Obama administration's classification and prosecution of terrorism suspects, and is a strong proponent of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act which would mandate government and private business share information about cyber security and attacks on digital infrastructure.
Recently the FBI has taken the lead in counterterrorism investigations, spearheading the investigation into the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and helping coordinate the search for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
These events "take both an expertise in counterterrorism and an expertise in criminal investigation," says Paul Nathanson, a spokesman for FBIAA. "If you look at Mike Rogers' background, he fits the bill."