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Rep. Peter King looks to chair House Intelligence Committee

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said he, along with

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said he, along with other lawmakers, want the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain differences between how fast Northport officials say patients get doctors' appointments there and what a national VA audit of Northport reported. Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Peter King said he is eyeing a chance to lead the House Intelligence Committee after its chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers, announced Friday that he will retire at year's end to host a nationally syndicated radio talk show.

Rogers, 50, a seven-term Michigan Republican and former FBI agent, has chaired the committee since 2011 and is a staunch defender of U.S. intelligence and the National Security Agency's controversial data collection programs -- a stand also taken by King (R-Seaford).

After Rogers, King is the fourth most senior Republican on the committee. At least one of the three lawmakers ahead of him has signaled interest in the committee chairmanship.

"It's an honor to be considered," King said. "But it's totally controlled by the speaker."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to decide at the end of the year or early next year on a new chairman.

Rogers, who announced his retirement in a statement and on radio, will join Cumulus Media, which syndicates such radio hosts as Don Imus, Mike Huckabee and Michael Savage.

"I have always believed in our founders' idea of a citizen legislature," Rogers said in his statement. "I had a career before politics and always planned to have one after."

This week, Rogers and the committee vice chairman, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), introduced a bill to allow phone companies to retain the NSA data but would not require the government to get a court's approval to access it -- drawing complaints from civil liberties advocates.

"I co-sponsored that bill. But I don't think any reforms are necessary," King said. But he added that a bill is needed to get Congress to reauthorize the phone-data collection program run by the National Security Agency.

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