Apr 20 2009

Rep Harman (D) Caught On FIS Court Approved Wire Tap – Drama Queen Updates

Published by at 12:00 pm under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

Major Update: Seems the CQ Story is falling apart as the NY Times denies ever talking to Harman regarding the NSA-FISA story. Where there is one error, there are probably others.  - end update

Drama Queen Update Below

Well, before the drama queens on the left go ape over supposed spying on Americans and Democrats by the Bush administration, I need to note some key aspects of a story breaking today regarding the claims the NSA overheard Rep Jane Harman discussing possible efforts to lobby in support of Israeli agents here in the US. First and foremost, note that the wiretap was NOT part of the NSA listening in on our enemies overseas and monitoring their communications with people here in the US:

 

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.

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.

Emphasis mine. Clearly this monitoring was authorized by the FIS Court, so therefore cannot be associated with the changes the Bush administration put in place after 9-11 to make sure law enforcement can be notified of possible terrorists inside our borders without a FIS Court warrant. Clearly the target was inside the US (Washington DC according the reporting) and therefore not covered by the NSA-FISA changes made after 9-11.

Beyond that, much of the rest is wild and unfounded speculation. Rep Harman is allowed to communicate with AIPAC and discuss issues of importance to them. It is no secret that AIPAC would like more lenient treatment for their spies caught here in the US. Duh! 

The reporting here is sloppy, and will no doubt lead the leftwing drama queens to swoon in faux outrage:

Justice Department attorneys in the intelligence and public corruption units who read the transcripts decided that Harman had committed a “completed crime,” a legal term meaning that there was evidence that she had attempted to complete it, three former officials 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.

What this means is the Feds were considering making Rep Harman a target of a FIS Court warrant. Cooler heads prevailed and the case was dropped. This is actually an example of how the process can stop out of control monitoring and investigations. It is an example of how the broad review by multiple administration officials can stop a witch hunt. It is a prime example of Gonzales, working for President Bush, stopping abuse of surveillance power. It is an example of the Bush administration reigning in over zealous underlings, not inciting them to investigate the political opposition.

But according to the former officials familiar with the transcripts, the alleged Israeli agent asked Harman if she could use any influence she had with Gonzales, who became attorney general in 2005, to get the charges against the AIPAC officials reduced to lesser felonies.

AIPAC official Steve Rosen had been charged with two counts of conspiring to communicate, and communicating national defense information to people not entitled to receive it. Weissman was charged with conspiracy.

What is going to rip the left and right here is Harman was a supporter of keeping America safe, and she clearly played a role in not allowing the liberal media to run lies and falsehoods to influence a national election:

Harman, he 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

He was right.

Good for here and Gonzales for putting national security before political gain. Bottom line – nothing came of this discussion. As usual, drama queen time on national security, this time stage left.

Update: Right on key, the top conservative drama queen herself chimes in with full ignorance engaged. Neither Harman or Gonzales have anything to explain to anyone, let alone the dramatics.

Addendum: Regarding the claim Gonzales wanted Harmon protected because she supported the NSA-FISA changes the Bush administration put in place after 9-11, that is pure BS. What is more likely is Gonzales said something to the effect “Are you out of your frigging minds! Rep Harmon is a staunch supporter of protecting this nation from attack. Her support for the new NSA-FISA changes makes it obvious she is not planning to attack this nation or subvert it. End this nonsense!” Of course truth is not something the media (left or right) care about. They want political advantage and are more than willing to place biased and misleading stories to get it. Folks, cut the puppet strings and think this out.

Update: Egads! Even the usually level headed Ed Morrissey has sunk into drama mode, claiming “if this is true” arguments when it is clear it is NOT true. Why else was the investigation dropped? Seems some folks in the government leaked this for their own personal agendas. My take: the process worked and we on the outside with incomplete and biased information should not be making wild claims about anyone’s guilt or innocence. The only people legitimately under surveillance were the AIPAC contacts who contacted Harmon. When will the armchair generals give up and realize they don’t run this country from their keyboards?

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Rep Harman (D) Caught On FIS Court Approved Wire Tap – Drama Queen Updates”

  1. Redteam says:

    My initial question was and is: Why is this info being released now, it occurred prior to the 2004 election, over 4 years ago?

    It appears the behind the scenes answer is that Harman is being protrayed (probably accurately so) as friendly toward Israel. This appears to be a very valid reason within the Obama Admin to be seen as not part of the ‘in crowd’, why she was overlooked for some jobs it is rumored she was considered for.
    There may be other objectives also, especially the ‘Bush gang’ was violating the law by listening to Democrats conversations. There are a lot of motives that drive these events. Consider most of them to be valid.

    in the interest of disclosure: I am pro Bush and pro Israel.

  2. Redteam says:

    Another interesting story that has just come to light is one: sorry I don’t have a link, about the true story behind the Capt Richard Phillips rescue and what went on behind the scenes and why it took 4 days. I consider it a rumor as of now until I see more proof. I’m glad it ended as well as it did.

  3. AJStrata says:

    Redteam,

    Clearly this was released to try and hold Obama’s and the Dem’s base together. With the economy not producing jobs there is growing frustration with the Dems in DC now in power. It is a classic diversionary effort, but it won’t work. The country never once bought into the NSA-FISA BS from the New York Times. Did not work then, will not help now.

  4. whippoorwill says:

    You may be right about one key charge here ,which is the serious charge that Gonzo agreed to drop an investigation on Harman for her support on wiretapping legislation. However, you are wrong to cite Harman’s general support of Bush administration as a reason. Harman is well know to we on the left as a flighty waffling entity on who and what she supports on a daily basis. This was especially true during that period. So saying Gonzo was pre assured of her support would be false. Until we get more reporting, I would say we don’t know what happened here and every possibility is on the table.

    Otherwise, if Harman was caught on tape agreeing to exert influence on an ongoing federal case, and then does it. She’s in a mess of trouble.

  5. Ethical corruption…

    CQ Politics has published an article claiming the National Security Administration has an audio recording of Congresswoman Jane Harman (CA 36) offering an Israeli agent help in getting charges reduced against two men in return for Israeli aid in her……

  6. MagicDog says:

    AIPAC is an agent of a foreign power, Israel. The fact that they don’t have to register as such is testament to their power and influence over both political parties. Harman is corrupt, and she is far from alone. The U.S. has been thoroughly penetrated by Israeli spies in every facet.

    This scandal is going to vanish. The U.S. government and media, both of which are Israeli assets, will make it happen. Just watch and see.

  7. MerlinOS2 says:

    http://legalinsurrection.blogspot.com/2009/04/harmon-tape-leak-shot-across-israels.html

    As others have pointed out, the story is replete with open questions, such as who was the “suspected Israeli agent,” and whether such person was Israeli or American or other. Others question the timing, coming soon before the trial of the AIPAC officials is to take place (after the DOJ suffered serious legal setbacks on the case).

    While these analyses are interesting, they miss the point. Leaks of highly classified NSA wiretaps don’t just happen. Someone has to have a purpose, and have confidence that they will not become the subject of prosecution for leaking the material. While the leak may have some relationship to the upcoming trial, I think it is more likely that the leak is an attempt to set supporters of Israel back on their heels in light of a growing U.S.-Israel dispute over Israel’s alleged plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel denies have imminent plans to attack, although one would not expect such acknowledgement anyway.

  8. combat18 says:

    Completed crime? What is that. No legal term I have ever heard of. What I think the reporter is referring to is the federal consipracy statute, 18 United States Code Section 371, which does refer to the overt act, which is “do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy…” The overt act completes a conspiracy, as the crime of conspiracy is completed then. He might also be refering to the criminal object of the conspiracy.

    But the FISA court has nothing to do with criminal investigations, as Title III covers criminal cases involving wiretaps. Title IIIs are reviewed and approved by a District Court judge.

    So, what we really have here is a garden variety criminal investigation of espionage by Harman. Looks like another Jonathan Pollard.

  9. Frogg says:

    Harman Vehemently Denies Bribery Allegations Allegedly Caught on NSA Tapes
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/20/harman-vehemently-denies-bribery-allegations-allegdly-caught-nsa-tapes/

    I hope this story isn’t true; because Rep Harman is one of the few Democrats I have always liked and respected up there on the Hill.

    I also doubt she would come out so strongly denying it if she knew it were caught on tape.

    So, who leaked this rumor…..and why?

  10. Frogg says:

    “Just One Minute” Blog points out this is an old story from 2006 (Time)

    http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2009/04/unpacking-the-aipac-story.html