Why does Jane Harman have a target on her back?
Posted by danishova on April 21, 2009
Jane Harman (D) California is not exactly Nancy Pelosi’s BFF, and has consistently taken positions which are inconsistent with those of the far left Democrats who run Congress. Which makes me just a wee bit suspicious about the A.I.P.A.C. scandal and various subplots that are swirling around her.
Yesterday Michelle Malkin wrote :
If even half of what’s in Jeff Stein’s CQ exclusive is true, this is a blockbuster scandal of historic proportions. It makes all of the pay-to-play scandals to date look like kindergarten games.
But some Lefty bloggers are outraged by allegations that Jane Harman urged the New York Times not to publish a “wiretapping expose’” on the eeevil Bush Administration. Indeed this allegation is more criminal in their minds than pay-for-play allegations. The Daily KOS opines:
She’s done enough damage to this country. The honorable thing would be for her to resign.
Uber lefty Greg Sargent writes:
Whoa. Dem Rep Jane Harman did in fact urge The New York Times not to publish its big expose of Bush-era warrantless wiretapping, apparently before the 2004 election, potentially changing the election’s outcome and the course of history, according to a statement from the paper.
As I noted here yesterday, one key revelation in that big CQ Politics scoop is that Harman may have privately tried to kill the story in 2004. Yesterday Times executive editor Bill Keller said that Harman hadn’t spoken to him or influenced his decision.
But now Times spokesperson Catherine Mathis sends over a more detailed statement from Keller explaining what really happened:
Congresswoman Harman spoke to Washington Bureau Chief Phil Taubman in late October or early November, 2004, apparently at the request of General Hayden. She urged that The Times not publish the story. She did not speak to me, and I don’t remember her being a significant factor in my decision. In 2005, when we were getting ready to publish, Phil met with a group of congressional leaders familiar with the eavesdropping program, including Ms. Harman. They all argued that The Times should not publish. The Times published the story a few days later.
So Harman did urge the paper’s Washington bureau chief not to publish. While the timing is slightly fuzzy, it seems fair to assume in light of the CQ story that it was in fact before the election.
Meanwhile, Greg Miller of the L.A. Times reports that Harman denies the pay-for-play wiretapping charges, and at least one high level person in the FBI vouches for Harman’s character:
The Justice Department and the FBI declined to comment. David W. Szady, head of counterintelligence for the FBI from 2001 to 2006, said he was not aware of any improper contacts from Harman.
"She was circumspect and professional and never tried to influence me or the FBI in any way," said Szady, who routinely briefed Harman and other senior congressional officials on espionage cases.
And the W.S.J. reports that Harman has written a letter to Attorney General Holder seeking release of the “spy tape” transcripts and wants all materials involving her made public.
I’m holding my fire against Harman for now. This story smells very fishy, particularly in light of ginned-up attempts by the Left to prosecute Bush Administration officials and C.I.A. Agents for “torturing” terrorists. As a Democrat who sided with Bush on some issues, and who wanted to chair the House Intelligence Committee, Harman is a threat to their plans to smear and possibly prosecute members of the previous administration.
1. What a surprise! The Times reports that Obama is “Open to Inquiry in Interrogation Abuses”. Gosh, Holder can kill two birds with one stone and go after Jane Harman while at the same time posing as a non-partisan who is willing to investigate Democrats. Indeed, not to be too much of a skeptic or anything, but I was suspicious of Holder’s magnanimous gesture of dropping charges against Sen. Stevens for the same reason. The goal of getting a Democrat in the Alaskan Senate was accomplished, so it was a win-win for Holder to show his non-partisan side before he gets really partisan and prosecutes Bush officials.
2. This just in from WaPo: Prosecutors Considering Dropping Espionage Charges Against Former AIPAC Lobbyists. Apparently this is just a coincidence and has nothing to do with the Harman situation.
3. Legal Insurrection writes, Harman Tape Leak A Shot Across Israel’s Bow, and notes, “The leak of the Harman wiretap cannot be divorced from the looming Iran issue. What else could explain the timing of a leak of a conversation which took place years ago? Leaking such a conversation would have little or no effect on the upcoming trial, but would affect the ability of supporters of Israel on Capital Hill from being heard in support of Israel’s right of self-defense.” Indeed, that makes a lot of sense. He adds this UPDATE:
How interesting that the leftwing blogosphere is approaching this story so uncritically and unquestioningly. Bloggers who never accept any government espionage source as being truthful (can you spell "weapons of mass destruction") are falling all over themselves about the "careful" reporting of this anonymously sourced story, perhaps because it provides an anti-Bush angle: Wonkette, DailyKOS, The Nation, Glenn Greenwald, Think Progress, Talk Left, and FireDogLake, to name a few.
4. David Frum has written an interesting analysis of the Jane Harman/A.I.P.A.C. situation here. Ed Morrissey rebuts Frum here. My position remains unchanged at this point in time. I don’t think we know enough about this yet to conclude that Harman is guilty of these allegations, and I don’t quite see how “waddling in” is “obstruction of justice” as Morrissey believes, particularly since her words of encouragement for A.I.P.A.C. did not necessarily need to hinge on getting something for herself out of the deal. I’m also having difficulty seeing how A.I.P.A.C. would have had the power to make or break Harman’s appointment as chair of the Intelligence Committee.
Keep in mind that the Soros funded “watchdog group” C.R.E.W. is involved in pursuing Harman, and by doing so, also goes after former A.G. Gonzales, a favorite target of those who would like to see Bush officials in jail. Other favorite targets of CREW have been Tom De Lay (a trial has yet to be held), Sen. Stevens (acquitted), and Foley (who committed morally reprehensible, but not criminal acts).
Finally, I find the fact that Jeff Stein of C.Q. Politics is, shall we say, ‘leaking’ information in the form of this ‘blockbuster story’ just a wee bit ironic under the circumstances, a point which is picked up here by Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic.
For my part, I will say that I may have been too hasty in expressing my skepticism towards Holder’s possible role in this situation, although I don’t trust him anymore than I trust C.R.E.W.
5. Here’s the link to C.R.E.W.’s page on Jane Harman.
6. Coincidentally, Marcy Winograd of the Los Angeles chapter of Progressive Democrats of America wants to challenge Harman in the primaries. No doubt she will be endorsed by Lefty Bloggers and acceptable to C.R.E.W.