Waddling Into Controversy: Harman Reportedly Intercepted in Quid Pro Quo Deal With AIPAC For the Chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee

160px-harman_jane300px-aipac_logoFor civil libertarians, this story is proof of a divine being. Rep. Jane Harman has long been criticized for her knowledge of the unlawful warrantless surveillance program and torture program. The democrats have blocked any investigation into the unlawful programs in part to protect democratic members like Harman who would be implicated. Now, it has been reported that Harman was captured on an NSA surveillance allegedly cutting a deal with a suspected Israeli agent to help reduce charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. Harman allegedly offered the help in exchange for AIPAC securing her the position as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. According to CQ, Harman offers to “waddle into” the AIPAC case in exchange for help securing the Chairmanship. Harman reportedly ended the call with the suspected spy with the warning “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

Harman has long denied that she tried to cut a deal with AIPAC, but Congressional Quarterly reports that it was not previously known that she was actually captured in one of the surveillance operations that she helped establish through a lack of oversight.

In a prepared statement, Harman insisted that “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.”

The report would confirm again not only the lack of serious oversight of Democratic members on this committee but the all-powerful role played by AIPAC on Capitol Hill. In the CQ report, Harman portrays AIPAC as having the authority to help secure the position for her. When these allegations were first reported, then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales quashed the investigation of Harman, who was vital to the Bush Administration in pushing through their wiretapping legislation.

If true, the wiretap transcript would directly contradict Harman’s public statements and increase calls for her possible censure and expulsion. It also creates an interesting comparison with former Illinois Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich who was indicted for trying to give the appointment to the U.S. Senate to people who would give him political contributions or appointments for his wife. Here, Harman is allegedly offering to use her senior position on the House Intelligence committee to force a reduction of criminal charges if AIPAC would secure the chair position. At a minimum, it raises serious ethical questions and, if the prosecution of Blagojevich is a measure, it could raise criminal questions. What will be particularly interesting if Blagojevich will try to raise this matter in his trial to show that this is standard politics.

At a minimum, Harman should call for the entirety of any wiretap to be made public. Obviously, there is no national security issue since she and the caller are fully aware that they were intercepted. Harman should also explain if she was aware of such a transcript and whether she took steps to keep the tapes sealed.

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11 thoughts on “Waddling Into Controversy: Harman Reportedly Intercepted in Quid Pro Quo Deal With AIPAC For the Chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee”

  1. I actually think you’ed have less standing as one of her constituents since, in a weird way, her successful graft may in someway benefit her district. It’s every U.S. citizen who’s own representative was potentially passed over in favor of Harmon or those reps themselves who sought a position on the committee legitimately who would seem to have a suit.

    Really I think any private citizen should have standing. Several cases here in Illinois recently indicate that public office is a commodities that can be stolen, even if the work is being done properly once the crook is in office.

    The real problem seems to be in bank-rolling such a suit, which is probly why you never see this happening. I believe one is entitled to treble damages in a privately raised RICO action but I don’t know one would start to calculate damages in this instance.

  2. seamus,

    I do like your style. But the issue is standing. Would I as a non-constituent of Jane “I’m A Whore For Israeli Spies” Harman have adequate standing to file?

  3. Congresswoman Harman was interviewed on NPR today. She sounded so slimy and evasive that I don’t have any doubt in my mind that something improper went on. She dodged every single question asked to her by the interviewer and refused to even acknowledge that these conversations existed or that she knew who they were with. I’m sure she will get away Scot free, but it will be interesting to see how much actually comes out. She claims to have asked AG Holder to release all transcripts without any redacted parts.

  4. I have serious doubts about the intestinal fortitude of the current administration, particularly Holder. I believe a private right to sue under RICO exists for any individual, and not necessarilly just someone in her district, since the committee she was trying to get on clearly represents the entire United States. I say we sue the bitch, God knows the Justice Department is unlikely to.

  5. The NYT confirms she asked them to hold the story before the 2004 election. Thank you so very much for your contribution to four more years of hell in the US, Jane.

  6. Google AIPAC for its’ leadership. Then Google the leadership to see where they’re coming from. They are a bunch of Right Wingers, in thrall to neoCons, whose representation of Israel’s interests is closely would together with their own prejudice. I’ve never given them a dime because this has been true for many years. However, like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson the MSM bestows leadership on their shoulders and various congresspeople kowtow. Three quarters of American Jews, of voting age, supported our new President, yet remember the MSM stories about the unwillingness of Jews to vote for him. These stories came from AIPAC honchos and were accepted as true.

  7. Let me think, apparently that phrase has been lost in congress. If I get you this then I get this. Make sense to me.

    Question, what self respecting, self effacing person of any moral character would want to be in Congress to begin with?

    Makes me want to run, yeah right. Makes me want to be in Government. yeah right. Make me feel warm, fuzzy and safe knowing that a congresswoman is taking care of all of our most interrelated innate desires.

  8. There’s the old DC adage that one’s political career could only be permanently ruined if one is found with a dead woman or a live boy in one’s bed. My wife suspected years ago that J. Edgar Hoover’s ghost had dirt on everyone who could have blown the whistle on these illegal wiretaps and that that was what was protecting Bush/Cheney.

  9. I ask again . . .

    Why the Hell is AIPAC allowed to operate since they are known aiders and abettors of espionage? AIPAC offices should be shut down and filled with FBI agents this very moment as should Jane Harmon’s office.

    Hey Jane! Who elected your sorry @*$? AMERICANS NOT ISRAELIS, that’s who you feckless, stupid piece of filth!

  10. JT, shall we assume you were among the small circle of people who knew of her secret dealings – all this time…?

    Representatives from CA (as well as NY) have often been suspect in my mind, but in the West, I admit being more focused on Pelosi and Feinstein plus her spouse, Richard Blum, frankly…

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