AP photo of Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan)
WASHINGTON (Detroit Free Press) - U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Howell, is being touted as a possible replacement for longtime FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The FBI Agents Association, representing more than 12,000 active duty and retired agents, is urging President Obama to nominate Rogers, a former agent who currently serves as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mueller's 10-year term expired in 2011 but was extended for two years and ends in September. No timeline has been announced but a replacement would be expected to be named this summer in advance of Senate confirmation hearings.
The FBI Agents Association took the endorsement of Rogers to Vice President Joe Biden's staff two weeks ago. Biden's office is handling the vetting for Mueller's replacement.
"Chairman Rogers exemplifies the principles that should be possessed by the next FBI director," Konrad Motyka, president of the FBI Agents Association, said in a news release today. "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."
The White House did not immediately react to the endorsement.
The suggestion - the nomination of a Republican to serve under a Democratic president - comes at an auspicious time as the Obama administration moves forward on several nominations. Meanwhile, the FBI has played a leading role in investigating the Boston Marathon bombings.
Rogers, who is in his seventh two-year term and been chairman of the Intelligence Committee since January 2011, has been getting a lot of interest lately. He has been prominently mentioned as a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Democrat Carl Levin, who will not seek reelection next year.
Rogers, 49, has said he would consider running for the Senate seat.
Today, he said he was "honored to have the confidence of the men and women of the FBI's special agent community" and "humbled" by the endorsement. He did not, however, say specifically whether he would be interested in the job, saying only, "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," he said.
Motyka noted the endorsement in an interview with the Washington Post, which posted it on its website today. In his statement, Motyka said Rogers is respected by both Republican and Democratic leaders and added that his background as an agent "sets him apart as someone capable of confronting the wide array of challenges facing our country and the bureau."
Rogers, who served in the Army before working for the FBI in Chicago for six years, has been a sought-after commentator on the Boston investigation, telling NBC's "Meet the Press" that he thought the FBI's handling of deceased suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev -who was interviewed two years ago - was appropriate.
The Post reported that several others have also surfaced as possible candidates to replace Mueller, including Lisa Monaco, Obama's chief counterterrorism advisor; James Comey, deputy attorney general under former President George W. Bush; and Neil MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Rogers' committee, previously chaired by another Michigander, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, provides oversight for U.S. intelligence agencies, including the FBI.
By Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press Washington bureau