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Monday: Getting the goods on Harman

Remember when Pelosi took up the Speaker’s gavel and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief because finally *something* was going to get done in Congress to curb the Bushies worst instincts?  We waited and waited while congresscritter after congresscritter did absolutely nothing but cave to the Republicans demands for, well, just about everything.  And we all started scratching our heads and got all tin-foily thinking that Karl Rove must be surveilling our reps and senators and had evidence of dead girls and live boys?

hahahahah!  That would be CRAZY!  We were just letting our paranoia get the better of us.

Well, you’d better sit down for this one.  It turns out that the Bushies *were* doing high tech surveillance on Congress members and one who got caught was Jane Harman.  Here’s the basic story:  Jane wanted to lead the House Intelligence Committee.  She had the seniority.  But she needed support so she made a deal with AIPAC.  She would try to do something about charges of spying against Israeli agents if AIPAC would lobby Pelosi for the job of head of the committee.  As part of a “routine” wiretap investigation on the spying allegation, the Justice department had Jane’s phone conversations tapped (how conveeeeenient) and learned about the deal.  Now, apparently, this quid pro quo arrangement that Jane was trying to swing crossed the line legally (I’ll say) and she could have faced some serious charges of a “completed crime”, meaning she made the deal and there is evidence she tried to fulfill her part of it.    But the Bushies protected Harman because…

(wait for it)

… they needed her support for warantless wiretapping.

What’s that about karma?

Then-CIA Director Porter J. Goss reviewed the Harman transcript and signed off on the Justice Department’s FISA application. He also decided that, under a protocol involving the separation of powers, it was time to notify then-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Minority Leader Pelosi, of the FBI’s impending national security investigation of a member of Congress — to wit, Harman.

Goss, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, deemed the matter particularly urgent because of Harman’s rank as the panel’s top Democrat.

But that’s when, according to knowledgeable officials, Attorney General Gonzales intervened.

According to two officials privy to the events, Gonzales said he “needed Jane” to help support the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about to be exposed by the New York Times.

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.

On Dec. 21, 2005, in the midst of a firestorm of criticism about the wiretaps, Harman issued a statement defending the operation and slamming the Times, saying, “I believe it essential to U.S. national security, and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.”

Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.  Amazing.  There have to be dozens of stories like this that explain weird voting records.  The Bushies were very, very busy.  Of course, Harman should have known her phone would be tapped so maybe she wasn’t cut out for a leadership appointment anyway.

(BTW, as I was searching for an image on wiretapping, I found this interesting post about Skype.  Apparently, it’s harder to crack the encryption on Skype.  Good to know.)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Bushies were busily waterboarding.  They did it 266 times.  On 2 people.  Now, that’s dedication to the job.  You’d think after the first 3 dozen times of getting faulty information they might have moved on to something a little more effective.  You’d be wrong.  But Obama is willing to let this all be so much water under the bridge. It’s all in the past.  Let us not quibble over a little drowning.  It would require a fight and potential loss of political capital, which he will need when he goes to Capitol Hill to fight the members of his party who are in the majority for the things he wants.

Changeity! Change! Hope! Change!

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74 Responses

  1. OMG! Jane Harmon was wiretapped? I heard there was a member of Congress that the NSA tried to tap when he/she was overseas. I wonder if that was Harmon or someone else? Do you suppose this explains Obama’s FISA vote? What do they have on him? It would be funny if it weren’t so scary.

  2. Linkee to Skype info is a jpeg image.

    Burned by a little wiretapping? issOK as long as activity’s not inadvertently disclosed, right? God, these people have no moral compass. What kinda rocks were they brought up under?

  3. yeah, it was karmic – but so wrong I cannot find pleasure in it.
    And no, this doesn’t explain Obama’s FISA vote – this is just one small fish caught in a big ambition of power.
    And in another side of the Jr.jr department, remember when Obama said about the torturers that “the ones acting in good faith” will be shielded from responsibility? Well, according to Rahm, he edited and edited that statement long and hard, and what we all missed was that
    he meant…. everyone gets a freebie on this

    • Jane Harmon is a pretty big fish.

      • Not the fishes Bush’s 3rd term was after

        • Bush’s third term didn’t start in 2006. I doubt if Obama had any control over Bush’s wiretapping. They could have been interested in him though.

      • Our government is the big fish, rotting from the head down. Jane is just one of thousands of not so pretty scales. Too bad the vast majority of Americans aren’t following this parade of OMG stories.

    • sure everone of them is going to get a freebie what eles what a O-bushes 3rd term do for the 1st 2

    • The ones that I would like to see held accountable are : G. W. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Ricardo Sanchez and torture apologist, Gonzales.

    • I’m still trying to wrap me brain around the concept of tortururing in good faith. Or at least the best possible faith. Sheesh.

  4. OT BBC America has an interesting article on women in the military and sexual assault.

    A long time ago when I was in my early 20’s I almost went in the navy but chickened out. I’m glad I did. I feel for the young women going in and what they are likely to face.

  5. Interesting.

    AIPAC was so connected, that its members being investigated for sharing top secret intel with their “owners” in Israel (who had provided Cheney et al much of the exaggerated intel to invade Iraq—willfully misleading???) , felt free to call a highly-placed , influential Democrat to offer a “deal” : lobbying Pelosi (that means $$$$) for the chairmanship of an important House committee.

    And that powerful Democrat jumped at the chance for the chairmanship, saying “This conversation never happened” at the end of the deal-making conversation.

    Apparently Pelosi herself didn’t see Harman worthy of that chairmanship, long before we knew any of these details, so Pelosi must have given credibility to the info she was given in “confidential” briefings.

    Israel thought they could BUY an American House of Representatives committee chairmanship, riverdaughter, and the Democratic candidate they wanted to buy was available for sale. SHE defended the secret wiretapping herself, didn’t she, and the “investigation” of her , was completely dropped.

    Many a Democrat was complicit in supporting the Patriot Act and wiretapping Americas. It is why they did not investigations when they won the Congress in 2006.

    That’s deeply offensive, RD, no matter what you think of Gonzales, and no matter how supportive you may be of Israel.

    AIPAC and their supporters , here and in Israel, attempted to BUY a committee chairmanship.

    Therein, is the real outrage.

    • It all seems outrageous to me.

    • Just being cynical but I’m sure we’ve tried, and succeeded, at doing the same thing in other countries.

    • I agree. But we have just seen the Presidency bought ,
      so buying a mere committee chairmanship might not seem such a big deal within the Beltway / snark.

    • Our Congresspeople who happen to be Jewish have to decide once and for all if they are for America or for Israel. Emanuel was just chastised by someone of note in Israel to ‘remember that he is Jewish’.
      No, no, no! You check the Jewish thing (or the Irish thing or the Catholic thing or whatever) at the door when you take public office in the USA. That’s why there are so many questions about dual-citizenship for office holders.

      AIPAC needs to be dismantled. They need to be shown the door when it comes to American politics.

  6. SOD you’re winning me over. 🙂

  7. SOD,

    I don’t discount even the most far out theories anymore. Remember the anthrax attacks that targetted Congressional Dems?

  8. This wiretapping of Congress members is a BIG reason to “Throw the BUMS out”. If they all have dossiers on them, then get new people in place and everyone should be aware of the ability to wiretap Congress. And anyone who votes for the wiretapping authority means that they have been blackmailed. Time to change the laws and we seem to need all new people. We all knew that the Bushies had the goods on anyone and everyone they wanted to control. Obama wants the same info available to him. And probably the Bushies have big time dirt on 0bama. Hence, the election of 0bama without apparent vetting. They can control 0bama. He is the willing tool of the cabal. (Like we didn’t know!)

    • Perhaps Obama wants to continue the wire-tapping so HE can have the same power over legislators for his own agenda.

      I can easily see ole Rahm Emmanuel telling Obama……..”You need this. Trust me. ”

      Can’t you?

  9. One last thought, riverdaughter:

    Regardless of how you feel about wiretapping…..

    How does this revelation make Jane Harman any different from Rod Blagojevich, given that the Israel-supported AIPAC offered payment, of a type, in return?

    Well, except that Blago was impeached, and Harman was not.

    Situational ethics?

    • WTF? What’s your aggenda here? I am not reading in to RD what you are at all.

  10. Wasn’t this the kind of crap that ol Herbie Hoover was known for over at the FBI in days gone by? Guess some things don’t change so much after all.

    Although I must say that Harmon’s willingness to sell for the Chairmanship of a committee does seem like the epitome of a really cheap wh*re.

  11. This thought is out of left field but was this leaked at this time to stifle dissent on two party state plans as a preemptive strike. I have no idea what Harman would do (or who would get her to do anything) if this administration is pushing the Israeli govt for concessions, but may they have considered her a potential problem with her seniority, high profile and supposed expertise? It just seems everything they do is to silence someone or ruin their rep to silence them. I have no sympathy for Harman if she was stupid enough to do this.

  12. Oooh, I can tell this is a great post RD. And I’m going to savour ever moment of it, but the first lines about Pelosi becoming speaker….. I just have to get my mind off of that issue first to focus on the rest. I remember when she became speaker… joy! chills! A woman as speaker…. women were on the move… she could help with women’s issues… she could help women move up the political chain……. AARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!

  13. Like it or not, remember that we have Obama to thank for even knowing that waterboarding was used 266 times on 2 suspects.

    • Obama released those memos because he had to or he would be breaking the law.

      How much praise does he deserve for that?

    • Are you people out of your minds? Wonderful, he released memos showing what criminals the bushies are before letting them off the hook and going off to use their vastly increased illicit powers. What a hero!

    • Oooooo, isn’t he simply FABULOUS?! Everything we hoped for…

    • No, we have the ACLU to thank. If not for them, none of those memos would ever have seen the light of day. The hand of the Obama administration was forced. This has absolutely nothing to do with Obama wanting to do the right thing, nothing at all. Pretty pitiful if we’ve been reduced to feeling grateful when the president is maneuvered into doing his job through court action.

      • The bar has been set pretty low for Teh Precious, hasn’t it?

      • Everyone complains about the ACLU until they or someone close to them has some civil liberties problem, then they discover why the ACLU is so necessary to a free society and freedom of its people.

  14. – sounds almost like a free pass for Obama thanks to Bush, at least for a while anyway – Imagine an Administration doing such things! Oh the horrors!
    Let’s dedge up Abu Ghraib again and ingnore all the Administrations that tactitly and even actively endorsed the School of the Americas – get your Google buttons ready to push! 95% here wouldn’t even have a clue what the School of Americas is let alone know what has transpired in South America with the USA’s blessing

  15. Well all this is just magically delicious.

    As has been noted…

    Pelosi seemed to have had her own reasons for supporting FISA aside from this Harman matter. Though it obviously raises the question of who else was cooperating with the Bush admin…

    something tells me a “Truth Commission” just might reveal more about certain dems than repubs.

    • It’s pretty obvious that the Dems in Congress were in this up to their necks. At the very least, the leadership and cmte chairs were involved. They can hardly investigate for fear of catching each other in the prosecutions.

  16. on aside note. when he dems took control of congress on … & gave bush everything & more where the 1sr red flags of wich was to come & what did to us & democracy (wich was preety much kill it) in the primaries & what the have dose scince those 2 years when rancy nancy took impeachment was taken of the tabel . now that was a big red flag … the signs were there we just didnt think our oun party would abandon its core principles & everything it stood for…. they were telling us even then by there actions … all the signs were there ….

  17. The Bushies were very, very busy.

    The Bushies are no different from any other crime family, heck, they even have thier own Fredo! ( Neil) When one looks at them like that , things make alot more sense….and there are less surprises. Of course they were tapping everyone and anyone….what crime family wouldn’t?

    …., Harman should have known her phone would be tapped so maybe she wasn’t cut out for a leadership appointment anyway.

    Indeed. She proved herself a pretty clumsy small fry

    Except for the 8 year pause Bill Clinton brought to the White House, the Regan/Bush 1 years and then Bush 2 and now Barry in hyper speed, the goal has been the compleat criminalization of our government .
    With the installing of Bush2 then Barry, I think they can say Mission Accomplished!

    I’m not saying there was no governmental crime during Bill’s 8 years . Some minor stuff had to accrue , because crime is part of the human nature. But the criminalization of our government wasn’t seen as the main goal. The wee people are living off the what was done during those 8 years. They are vital

    I maintain one of the reasons the Upper Crust hate the Clintons so much is that they insist it not all be a criminal concern. That is seen as thier grestest sin, since it means more work and less loot for the Belttway and Wall St.

    You’d think after the first 3 dozen times of getting faulty information they might have moved on to something a little more effective.

    Well that might be the case if they were after information…..frankly I think were after a hard on and found torture much more effective than vigara. Everyone knows torture doesn’t work. But you see, for them, it’s fun.

  18. Jane Harman – i used to so like her. Very disappointing.

  19. I knew they were blackmailing pols; it explains so much.

    *polishes shiny aluminum beret*

  20. Harman denies wiretap report
    Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), a leading supporter of Israel, is vehemently denying a report that the NSA wiretapped a conversation in which she assured a suspected Israeli agent that she would try to reduce charges against a pair of American Israeli Public Affairs Committee officials accused of espionage.

    I actually like Harmon, but either way, there goes any hopes of her and higher office.

    • Harman statement:

      “These claims are an outrageous and recycled canard, and have no basis in fact,” Harman said in a prepared statement. “I never engaged in any such activity. Those who are peddling these false accusations should be ashamed of themselves.”

      Ooops forgot the statement.

  21. RELEASED: The Bush Administration’s Secret Legal Memos

    On April 16, 2009, the Department of Justice released four secret memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture.
    OLC Memos

    Go down load them and report back…

  22. I can’t help but believe that they have something on Congressman/women and yea, Obama. Everybody that did not push back against the obvious offenses of the Bush/Cheney cabal and now, with the banking industry. As for Clinton, over 2 years of investigations and 50 million dollars plus and all they could come up with was a BJ. He and Hillary were clean as a whistle I bet. They’re not that stoopid!

  23. i think they know all about the fake potus..

    • Why he was installed. They not only have him by the junk, he’s only junk that they have….he’s been groomed since forever and there’s nothing there but thier grooming

  24. wise woman, SOD

  25. I read NQ on this. You know, something is creepy and scary about all this kinda stuff. Seriously. I’ve been following a guy called Ed Morrissey of late for his journalism — just to read him because he is so on things — he really is — on the characters we aren’t so crazy about either –what I am not getting is about the soldiers coming home and what is being said?

    Don’t forget I look at these things like a therapist. It’s the mixed messages that are being sent right now. Incredible?
    hugs you guys…..

    Those kids need treatment, not this. Ugh.

  26. I take it this explains why Pelosi took Harman out of the hunt for committee chair. It kind of makes you wonder if wiretapping is such a bad thing. I will give Pelosi cred here for refusing to let Harman get by. I agree—there is a lot of this stuff that goes on and there was the Bush version and we now are going to see an Obama version. They are all crooks and liars.

  27. Harman Asks DOJ to Release Wiretap Transcripts

    Source: Roll Call Hoping to clear her name in the wake of allegations that she made a deal with a suspected Israeli agent to advance her position in Congress, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) on Tuesday hit back by calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to..

    “It is my intention to make this material available to the public,” Harman said.

    I always had respect for Harmon and she is fighting back as best she can. I hope DOJ Holder releases the transcripts and answers her inquiry. I too want to know why and how many congresspersons they were wiretapping.

  28. The Wall Street Journal
    Rep. Harman Seeks Release of Spy Case Transcripts

    This one has the best parts of her letter to the DOJ. If this was done to slime her, and ruin her political career, she should take some serious action, because all the news anchors were busy chatting this up as the gospel truth. They should release the transcripts and as she has requested, otherwise she has no way to clear things up.

  29. Washington, DC – Following below is a copy of a letter Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) sent to Attorney General Eric Holder today:

    April 21, 2009

    Dear General Holder:

    I am outraged to learn from reports leaked to the media over the last several days that the FBI or NSA secretly wiretapped my conversations in 2005 or 2006 while I was Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee.

    This abuse of power is outrageous and I call on your Department to release all transcripts and other investigative material involving me in an unredacted form. It is my intention to make this material available to the public.

    I also urge you to take appropriate steps to investigate possible wiretapping of other Members of Congress and selective leaks of investigative material which can be used for political purposes. As you know, it is entirely appropriate to converse with advocacy organizations and constituent groups, and I am concerned about a chilling effect on other elected officials who may find themselves in my situation.

    Let me be absolutely clear: I never contacted the Department of Justice, the White House or anyone else to seek favorable treatment regarding the national security cases on which I was briefed, or any other cases. You may be aware that David Szady, the FBI’s former top counterintelligence official, is quoted in the media saying of me “…in all my dealings with her, she was always professional and never tried to intervene or get in the way of any investigation.”



    • OK, let see what the ‘Constitutional Professor POTUS’ does and if he gives Attorney General Eric Holder the OK to release the wiretapping and the full un-redacted transcripts.

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