Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tap Into America!

Let's go for a swim in murky ethical waters, shall we? Rep Jane Harman, Democratic Congresswoman, is accused of, well, I'll let CQPolitics explain it.

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 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."
I'm all for sweeping out the influence peddlers, and I'm not attached to Jane Harman or Isreal. The question is though, what was the NSA tapping her phone for?

You'll recall that this warrentless wiretapping thing was repeatedly dismissed as not a problem because first, no Americans were being monitored. Then it was only Americans speaking to suspected terrorists. As it turns out, "terrorists" was defined as "Democrats" after all, just like Rush Limbaugh always says. And everybody says he isn't running the party!

Harman, for her part, is demanding that the complete transcripts be released. A good strategy in a post-Blagojevich world.

I want to see if this one catches on with the Right-Wing blogosphere - I came across it on ThinkProgress. On one hand it has the tremendously appealing "all Democrats are corrupt" angle, and even the "we need warrentless wiretaps" angle. Unfortunately, it also wrecks their valuable "but Bush never used them against his political enemies" meme. Tantalyzing!

h/t Think Progress


wamk said...

Before you get all preachy on wireless wiretapping, you might want to re-read the CQ piece, especially where it mentions that the tap was court-approved.

I know you have comprehension issues, so I'll help out.

"Court-approved" means they weren't wireless, but "approved" by a "court".

But hey, feel free to show your "outrage".

Danielk said...

Win/Win! Think Progress steered me wrong. The only think keeping your guys from picking up this juicy scandal now is why Gonzales killed the investigation - to get Harman's support on warrentless wiretapping, therefore it was a kind of influence peddling itself.

And, I suppose, that it's an illustration that FISA warrants were easily availble and therefore, why not get one? I mean, if you can get a judge to approve tapping an upper-level Congressperson...

wamk (on a plane. again) said...

Good God, man. Do you read/understand anything you post on?

This wasn't a FISA wiretap, it was a court-approved NSA wiretap. I know that having the letters "S" and "A" may have confused you, but they are different things.

To your point with Gonzo, who is the bigger fool here? Gonzo for needed her support, or Jane for not realizing she was being listened to. By a different agency.

Danielk said...

"And they were prepared to open a case on her, which would include electronic surveillance approved by the so-called FISA Court, the secret panel established by the 1979 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to hear government wiretap requests.

First, however, they needed the certification of top intelligence officials that Harman's wiretapped conversations justified a national security investigation."

My apologies - the NSA was wiretapping Harman in ANTICIPATION of a FISA wiretap.