Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jane Harmon AIPAC Scandal Exposed

Jane Harmon's illegal deal with AIPAC, and the Bush Administration cover-up, has been exposed, and it is ugly.

Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling 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.

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.”

More interestingly, the Alberto Gonzalez elected not to prosecute becuase Rep Harmon was supporting the illegal wire-tapping program being pushed by the Bush administration.

Key points to note are:

* Harmon had supported the wire-tapping program prior to being told she was under investigation.

Harman, [Alberto Gonzales] told Goss, had helped persuade the newspaper to hold the wiretap story before, on the eve of the 2004 elections. And although it was too late to stop the Times from publishing now, she could be counted on again to help defend the program[.] ... And Eric Lichtblau himself described how Harman, in 2004, attempted very aggressively to convince him not to write about the NSA program.

* The wiretap that cought Harmon was FISA approved, and therefore legal, and involved monitoring a foreign (Israeli) agent, not a Harmon.

the CQ story says that Harman's conversation was recorded as part of "a court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington."

* What Harmon did was a crime.

As for those wondering what the possible crime would be, the allegation is that Harman agreed to use her influence as a member of Congress to intervene in a pending criminal proceeding directed at AIPAC officials in exchange for receiving something of value (namely, AIPAC's lobbying for her to be appointed Chair of the House Intelligence Committee). It's exactly what Pete Domenci was accused of: trying to influence DOJ prosecutions for political ends, though in the case of the allegations against Harman, it's even worse, since the suggestion is that she agreed to interfere in the criminal proceedings in exchange for AIPAC's support of her quest to become Intelligence Committee Chair.

This is receiving a lot of attention, as it should, but we should all bang the drums on this one.

The Harmon denial and comments thereon can be found here.

Other Links

Daily Kos (Needs Updating).



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