Meet the Press   |  June 02, 2013

Rogers: Probe of AP reporters was ‘overreach’

House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers says the ‘dragnet approach’ used by the Justice Department to investigate AP reporters’ phone records was a step too far.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back. joining me now republican congressman from michigan, chairman of the intelligence committee , mike rogers . congressman, welcome back.

>> thanks for having me, david.

>> let me ask you about these intelligence leaks, the news leaks and the investigations. you have been among the most outspoken saying some of the national security leaks have been very damaging to the country. in light of the a.p. story and the seizure of those telephone records. at the time the attorney general defended what he did. this is what he said last month.

>> i have to say that this is among if not the most serious, it is in the top two or three most serious leaks that i've ever seen. it put the american people at risk.

>> that was his defense for what he was doing. now they're talking about changing the guidelines and trying to offer an olive branch to the press. are you concerned that the attorney general has folded on this?

>> well, listen, as a former fbi agent, certainly as the chairman of the intelligence committee , keeping classified information secret is incredibly important for our national security . however, i think that dragnet that they threw out over those a.p. reporters was more than an overreach. and it really is not very good investigative work. as a matter of fact, you normally want to target -- you narrow that list down. then you might be able to go for someone's phone records or e ma mails. but that dragnet approach i argue is a little dangerous when you talk about first amendment protections for a free press. same with the co-conspirator issue. that just defied logic to me. it almost seemed like someone wanted to get around the notion that they had the shield protection law. if you look at the law and you look at what they did, it would have been exempted from that. there's, i think, a lot of questions that need to be answered there. but at the same time, we do need to remember that these leaks are serious and for those folks who are leaking information that may lead to the death of sources or people who are cooperating with the united states or men and women who are serving in combat, there should be consequences for that.

>> do you think that the attorney general leveled with congress, with the judiciary committee , with your colleagues, when he said that he was never involved in the potential prosecution of a journalist given that he named as a co-conspirator a journalist in the affidavit?

>> certainly the timing is, i think, problematic for the attorney general. i think that has to be thoroughly investigated. i think you need to lay out exactly what the testimony was, exactly the timeline when he signed and checked off that they should move forward with going after -- naming him as a co-conspirat co-conspirator, then find out what reconciled that with his testimony. i think all of that needs to be tone. but this pattern of deception administration wide is starting to become concerning. when you look at the irs and you look at the benghazi issue and you look at the a.p. issue, i think the trouble here isn't even the individual specific scandals. it's this broader notion that there's a pattern of this activity. i think that's what concerns people. what you don't want to have happen is americans lose faith and trust in their institutions. that, i think, is what's at risk here. we better get this back in the box so americans can rest easy at night knowing we're working for them and not against them.

>> bottom line, do you think the attorney general should keep his job? should he resign?

>> yeah. i think that's going to be up to him. i think how he handles this moving forward is critically important. i've argued from the beginning they just need to lay it out on the table. americans are more forgiving if you tell the truth up front. this moti this notion that you're going to leak some things out, hold some things back, administration wide on these issues, i think has been damaging to them, certainly damaging to the public trust . i think it's going to be up to him. there should be a thorough investigation. those facts should go where they should go. include ing ifthat takes it back beyond the attorney general to make that determination. one of the thing we've got to do here is restore that faith and that trust. that only happens when the truth comes out and people who -- who have gone beyond the pale of the law are held accountable.