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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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