Former FBI whistle-blower Coleen Rowley (search) will run for Congress as a Democrat in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, where she hopes to knock off GOP Rep. John Kline.

"I'm concerned about the direction of the country," Rowley said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We have done things that have made us less safe, among them the Iraq invasion and the loss of our allies and the moral high ground in international affairs."

Rowley, 50, was named one of Time magazine's Persons of the Year for 2002 after writing a critical memo on FBI intelligence failures (search).

She had sought a seat this year on the new Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (search), designed to ensure that government actions in the war on terror do not infringe on people's rights. But when President Bush appointed members of the board earlier this month, Rowley's name was not on the list. She said that was a factor in deciding to run for Congress.

Rowley will face an uphill campaign in a conservative district that Kline won by 16 percentage points last year. Also, Kline's opponent in that race, Teresa Daly (search), might run again. Daly did not return phone messages Tuesday, but her 2004 campaign manager, Darin Broton, said, "If I was betting, I'd say she will run."

Rowley said the district's conservatism would play to some of her strengths.

"I'm also quite conservative in many respects," she said. "I'm fiscally conservative, and conservative on law-enforcement-type issues."

Rowley, who retired from the FBI last year, said Kline has voted too much in lockstep with the Bush administration. "A congressman should be independent-minded," she said.

Kline spokeswoman Angelyn Shapiro declined to comment on Rowley, saying the congressman was focused on his work.