“We are not about particular viewpoints. We are not about particular parties. We just can’t work that way,” National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers said at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado.
Rogers added that the U.S. intelligence community owes U.S. citizens “honesty and integrity.”
Saturday’s remarks come only months after Rogers and at least two other senior U.S. officials were personally asked by President Trump to publicly rebut news reports laying out details of the federal government’s probe into Russia’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Although Rogers has refused to publicly discuss his private conversations with Trump, he has previously vowed to keep politics out of his agency’s work. But his remarks today at the annual gathering of senior officials, reporters and others tied to the U.S. intelligence community were noteworthy in their intensity and passion.
Punctuating each word -- one by one -- the U.S. Navy admiral said, “I will not violate the oath that I have taken in the 36 years as a commission officer.”
Rogers’ face hardened and his voice cracked as he added: “I won’t do that.”
He went on to say that he often relays this message to his workforce: “We are intelligence professionals. We raise our right hand and we take an oath to defend the citizens of this nation and the values that are embodied in the Constitution …” he said. “Your integrity isn’t worth the price of me or anybody else. You stand up and you remember that oath that we take.”