Former NSA Director is cooperating with the Durham investigation

Earlier today Ed noted that John Durham’s investigation was taking a close look at former CIA Director John Brennan and his involvement with the Steele dossier. This afternoon, the Intercept reports that former NSA Director Mike Rogers is cooperating with the investigation and has already met with Durham several times.

Retired Adm. Michael Rogers, former director of the National Security Agency, has been cooperating with the Justice Department’s probe into the origins of the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump presidential campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, according to four people familiar with Rogers’s participation.

Rogers has met the prosecutor leading the probe, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, on multiple occasions, according to two people familiar with Rogers’s cooperation. While the substance of those meetings is not clear, Rogers has cooperated voluntarily, several people with knowledge of the matter said…

Rogers’s voluntary participation, which has not been previously reported, makes him the first former intelligence director known to have been interviewed for the probe.

“He’s been very cooperative,” one former intelligence officer who has knowledge of Rogers’s meetings with the Justice Department said.

It’s a bit hard to tease out but it appears that there is some bad blood between Rogers and former Defense Secretary Ash Carter as well as former director of national intelligence James Clapper. In November of 2016, after Trump’s election, the NY Times reported that Obama was considering firing Rogers from his post at NSA and was being urged to do so by Carter and Clapper:

The recommendation to remove Admiral Rogers, a career intelligence officer who was promoted to his posts by the Obama administration two years ago, came last month from Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and the current director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr…

It…raises the question of why Mr. Obama would consider firing one of the nation’s top intelligence officers in the last days of his administration. Admiral Rogers’s replacement would not be confirmed until after Mr. Trump takes over. One senior intelligence official argued that letting word of the effort leak seemed more about politics or vengeance than about effecting any real change…

Administration officials had planned to relieve Admiral Rogers of his duties after the election and announce a plan to create separate chains of command for the N.S.A. and Cyber Command. But the plan, supported by Mr. Carter and Mr. Clapper, stalled in part because of opposition from Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who heads the Armed Services Committee.

Under the plan, Cyber Command would remain under the Armed Services Committee’s jurisdiction, but oversight of the N.S.A. would shift to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Mr. Trump’s victory complicated the planning.

So the plan was to split off US Cyber Command from the NSA and both Carter and Clapper supported that plan. However, that got scuttled when Trump won the election. Trump wound up keeping Rogers on and firing Clapper. All that to say that you probably shouldn’t assume Rogers is the type who wants to circle the wagons with his old colleagues Clapper and Brennan. On the contrary, if he has a story to tell he might be eager to tell it.

Dunham is expected to interview Clapper and Brennan as part of his investigation but the Intercept reports it’s not clear if that has happened yet.