Custom Search

Monday, April 20, 2009

NSA Electronic Surveillance Catches Jane Harmon Making Deals With AIPAC

Before delving into the article written by Jeff Stein at CQ Politics and before the left start howling at the moon about illegal wiretaps, let me quote one clearly written sentence from the article, so there will be no distraction from the story itself which, if true, is a scandal of major proportion.

What is new is that Harman is said to have been picked up on a court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington.

Emphasis mine.

Evidently, from the 4 page article, Democratic California Congresswoman Jane Harman, made promises, caught on tape, to a suspected Israeli agent "that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington."

The story also says the Bush administration, namely Alberto Gonzales interceded on Harman's behalf, in order to get her help defending the warrantless wiretapping story that was about to break at the time in the New York Times.

Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

Harman, via her spokesperson, is denying the allegations reported by CQ Politics, saying in a prepared statement "These claims are an outrageous and recycled canard, and have no basis in fact. I never engaged in any such activity. Those who are peddling these false accusations should be ashamed of themselves."

It’s true that allegations of pro-Israel lobbyists trying to help Harman get the chairmanship of the intelligence panel by lobbying and raising money for Pelosi aren’t new.

They were widely reported in 2006, along with allegations that the FBI launched an investigation of Harman that was eventually dropped for a “lack of evidence.”

What is new is that Harman is said to have been picked up on a court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington.

And that, contrary to reports that the Harman investigation was dropped for “lack of evidence,” it was Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush’s top counsel and then attorney general, who intervened to stop the Harman probe.

Why? Because, according to three top former national security officials, Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House.

As for there being “no evidence” to support the FBI probe, a source with first-hand knowledge of the wiretaps called that “bull****.”

“I read those transcripts,” said the source, who like other former national security officials familiar with the transcript discussed it only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of domestic NSA eavesdropping.

“It’s true,” added another former national security official who was briefed on the NSA intercepts involving Harman. “She was on there.”

Such accounts go a long way toward explaining not only why Harman was denied the gavel of the House Intelligence Committee, but failed to land a top job at the CIA or Homeland Security Department in the Obama administration.

Go read page two, page three and page four for the whole story and what sources have told CQ Politics.

This blockbusting news is just starting to gather traction around the blogosphere, and you can bet more media outlets will not be far behind.

As more details come out, we will of course keep our eye on them and post.