Apr 20 2009
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. Â - 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.Â Jane HarmanÂ , 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 â€œwaddle intoâ€ the AIPAC case â€œif you think itâ€™ll make a difference,â€ according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.
Itâ€™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 arenâ€™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 â€œlack of evidence.â€
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!Â
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 â€œcompleted crime,â€ 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.
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?