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Jane Harman and AIPAC Officials:

Lobbying for Israeli Spies

By Judith Norman, April 26, 2009

An AIPAC-related intrigue has come to light.  The National Security Agency (NSA) recorded a conversation that took place several years ago between a suspected Israeli agent and Rep. Jane Harman (a Democrat from California).  In the conversation, Harman agrees to pressure the Justice Department to “reduce espionage related charges” against two AIPAC officials.  In return, the suspected Israeli agent would help get Harman appointed chair of the Intelligence Committee. 
This deal was known, or at least suspected, in 2006.  An FBI investigation was begun, but ended for “lack of evidence.”  What is new is first, that a recording of this conversation has surfaced (the recording came from of a court-approved wiretapping of the suspected agent); and second, that it appears that the FBI investigation against Harman was not dropped for lack of evidence after all.  Rather, it was dropped because then-attorney general Alberto Gonzales intervened to get the charges dismissed, so that Harman, a big cheerleader for the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, could be free to defend it (this was at the time when news of the program was breaking in the New York Times). 
The deal was ultimately unsuccessful, from the standpoint of the players involved: Harman never got her committee appointment after all, and the two AIPAC officials (Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman) still face trial (in June) – lest we be tempted to draw conclusions about the omnipotence of AIPAC.  What happens next remains to be seen.
There is lots of information about this at:



Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC
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.
(Join Jeff Stein for live Q&A about his column at 3:30 p.m., or submit a question for Jeff.)
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."
Harman declined to discuss the wiretap allegations, instead issuing an angry denial through a spokesman.







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