The Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence demanded Saturday that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appear before congress to explain his call for the removal of his potential replacement.
Clapper and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter sent a letter to the White House last month calling on the removal of National Security Administration Director Adm. Michael Rogers, according to the Washington Post. In response, Chairman Devin Nunes issued a letter demanding Clapper and Carter appear before his committee.
“Since Admiral Rogers was appointed as NSA Director in April 2014, I have been consistently impressed with his leadership and accomplishments,” wrote Nunes. “His professionalism, expertise, and deckplate leadership have been remarkable during an extremely challenging period for NSA. I know other members of Congress hold him in similarly high esteem.”
Rogers reportedly met with President-elect Donald Trump Thursday without notifying his superiors, an apparent break from protocol. He is currently slated as the leading candidate to replace Clapper once Trump takes office in January.
“I am asking you to provide a full explanation of the allegations contained in the Post article,” said Nunes, who added that he is concerned the article may have contained “unauthorized disclosures of classified information.”
Sen. John McCain, chair of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, joined Nunes in defending Rogers.
“Admiral Rogers and the forces he leads have struggled to perform their mission because of the administration’s inability to formulate a clear cyber strategy and provide sufficient authorities,” said McCain. “Any suggestion that Admiral Rogers should be fired is certainly unwarranted.”
Clapper and Carter’s letter comes amidst a feud in the intelligence community over whether the head of the NSA should also head United States Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). Clapper and Carter recommended the two roles be split, but Rogers recommended against it during testimony to the intelligence committee in September.
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