Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chickens Come Home To Roost For Jane Harman

Rep. Jane Harman, who was a staunch supporter of Bush's domestic spying programs, has herself been caught on NSA wiretaps, possibly attempting to cut a lobbying deal with AIPAC, the Israeli Lobbying group which had members under investigation for espionage.

From CQ:
Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat long involved in intelligence issues, was overheard on a 2005 National Security Agency wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two former officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

In return, the Israeli agent pledged to help lobby for Harman to become chairwoman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Now all of a sudden, Harman is "outraged" that she was caught on government wiretaps. Even though she was not the target at the time and approval for the wiretap was apparently legally obtained. But more important than that, Harman - A Democrat - had been a cheerleader for the Bush administrations domestic spying programs, including warrantless wiretapping.

From Salon:
Jane Harman, in the wake of the NSA scandal, became probably the most crucial defender of the Bush warrantless eavesdropping program, using her status as “the ranking Democratic on the House intelligence committee” to repeatedly praise the NSA program as “essential to U.S. national security” and “both necessary and legal.”  She even went on Meet the Press to defend the program along with GOP Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Pete Hoekstra, and she even strongly suggested that the whistleblowers who exposed the lawbreaking and perhaps even the New York Times (but not Bush officials) should be criminally investigated, saying she “deplored the leak,” that “it is tragic that a lot of our capability is now across the pages of the newspapers,” and that the whistleblowers were “despicable.”  And Eric Lichtblau himself described how Harman, in 2004, attempted very aggressively to convince him not to write about the NSA program.

Hear Harman on NPR attempting to explain her involvement in the AIPAC case.

Investigators acknowledged that Harman "completed a crime" with her actions. However, she apparently was not pursued by the Bush Administration because she was seen as an asset for selling their domestic spying/surveillance program at a time when the case was receiving a lot of scrutiny and negative press.

This is what should happen when a member of Congress tries to work with a group like AIPAC for the interests of another government, even when that government is spying against that Congressmembers own Country. She should have been prosecuted. At a minimum, she should consider stepping down- if the reports turn out to be true.


rikyrah said...

I thought, when Pelosi blocked Harman on the Intelligence Committee, that it was just personal. It probably was, but now, it seems like a smart decision.

Citizen Ojo said...

I came in late to an interview she was doing on NPR. She sounded pissed. I didn't know she supported Bush though... ha ha ha. This makes the story even better. But why am I not hearing about this on MSM?

Andre said...

This is making me a little more of an advocate for wiretaps. While the country has been griped with fear over the threat of terrorism - the most recent justification for wiretaps - crookedness has gone virtually undetected. Wiretaps, as it appears, have some use after all. :)

Obviously, there is the issue of oversight that must still be considered (monitoring the monitors), but the more shadiness exposed with processes like wiretapping, the less opposition I have with them.

Truthiz said...

First: Co-sign with Andre.

Second: I caught a bit of Harman's NON-denial "denial" on CNN last evening. IMO, she came across as NOT convincing, to say the least.

The truth is, because of her actions over the past several years, I view Jane as a "Zionist", whose First loyalty is to Israel.

I'm no fan of Pelosi either. She may have to face some tough questions herself regarding what she ACTUALLY knew and didn't know about the Bush/Cheney "Torture" fest that was going on.

But that's another story.

Pelosi was "smart" to block Harman's promotion on the Intelligence Committee.