T Nation

Jane Harman - Where's the Outrage?


#1

Not surprising, I guess, given how quickly the mainstream media buried the story. Would that have been the case if we had an American Congressman offering to obstruct justice for any other state but Israel?:

"Until the transcripts of Rep. Jane Harman?s telephone conversations are made public, if they ever are, her transgression can only be assessed secondhand. It appears to have consisted of talking with someone who may be an Israeli citizen regarding influencing the outcome of the ongoing trial of ex-American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman. The conversation took place in late 2005, when it appeared that the two men might well be convicted. The Israeli citizen appears to have been on the receiving end of an FBI wiretap because he was an associate of a known Israeli intelligence officer based in Israel?s Washington embassy, possibly station chief Naor Gilon, who was responsible for running influence operations in the United States, or Uzi Arad. Both Gilon and Arad were involved in the FBI investigation of AIPAC that led to the imprisonment of Larry Franklin and the indictment of Weissman and Rosen. Both now hold senior positions in the Israeli government.

Intelligence officers refer to influence operations as covert actions because they are designed to manipulate the activity of a foreign government without that manipulation being attributable to any outside source. In this case, Israel wanted the men to go free to minimize any public perception that it was engaged in spying on the United States, which is what the AIPAC trial was all about, but it did not wish to be seen as directly interfering.

Harman reportedly was receptive. She agreed to do what she could on the AIPAC trial in exchange for the powerful Israel Lobby?s support for her bid to become chairman of the House Permanent Committee on Intelligence. Harman?s contact suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be informed that contributions from Israeli billionaire Haim Saban and others of a like mind to the Democratic Party war chest might diminish if Harman were not given the chairmanship. The conversation might well be dismissed as a congressional version of phone sex but for the fact that Israel and its lobby were well positioned to deliver what they had promised. Their influence over key congressmen and, most particularly, the Democratic Party leadership meant that Harman could act with confidence that she would be rewarded. Did Harman know what she was getting into? She reportedly concluded the phone call by saying "this conversation doesn?t exist.""
....
"The real Harman story is about Israel intelligence operations directed against the United States which have brought about the systematic corruption of the America?s political system by a foreign power aided and abetted by friends strategically placed throughout the government and the media. Just imagine if Harman had obtained either senior intelligence position that she sought. She would have had access to every sort of top secret intelligence possessed by the US government and would have been in a good position to influence policy. From the Israeli perspective, she would have been their spy, a highly placed agent of influence who could also provide every bit of sensitive intelligence in the CIA cupboard. The apparent fact that she agreed to help an agent of a foreign government and was to be rewarded with advancement makes her something like Kim Philby, the British spy of the 1960s who progressed through his own system while secretly working for another country, Russia. Philby was a whole lot smarter, but the essential betrayal was the same. Those who argue that Israel is no Cold War Russia miss the point, as the national interests of the U.S. and Israel are far from identical, particularly after a series of right-wing governments in Tel Aviv has culminated in the current monstrosity of Netanyahu-Lieberman.

Once you are on the hook in an intelligence relationship, there is no getting off it. Had Harman done a favor for the Israelis and been rewarded in return, it would have been a skeleton in her closet forever. The Israelis might also have taped the incriminating conversations, presumably unaware that the FBI was also on the line. The Israelis would surely remind her of her crime whenever they need a favor, and she would be forced to pay the piper whenever called upon. What could have been better for Israel than owning the director of central intelligence or the head of the House Intelligence Committee? What could have been worse for the United States?"

The original Congressional Quarterly story, and the New York Times and Washington Post:

http://static.cqpolitics.com/harman-3098436-page1.html?docid=hsnews-000003098436

And the depressing, predictable denouement:

"If you pass information that you know to be classified to a foreign Embassy, that should be considered espionage, shouldn?t it? If an elected official agrees to interfere in a trial in exchange for help in seeking a more important government position that should be obstruction of justice and influence peddling, shouldn?t it? If an experienced candidate withdraws his name from consideration for a senior government position because he has been slandered by supporters of a foreign government that the candidate has criticized it should raise questions about who controls foreign policy, shouldn?t it?

The right answer is ?No it doesn?t, none of the above.? The two AIPAC staffers who gave the information to the Israeli Embassy have had charges dismissed, Congresswoman Jane Harman has not been rebuked by any of her peers and is making jokes about the tapping of her phone, and the mainstream media killed the Chas Freeman story within three days of his withdrawl from consideration for office.

Starting on Sunday, AIPAC will be holding its annual convention and it will be interesting to see how many of Washington?s high and mighty will make sure that they are seen to be present and making all the right noises. Senators Joe Lieberman and John Kyl have introduced an AIPAC supported bill called the ?Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act? which is anything but and will instead cut off gas supplies to Iran, an act of war. It will also explicitly punish the Swiss because the Swiss President recently had the temerity to speak to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Is there something wrong here? Yes, something terribly wrong, though for the life of me I don?t know how we will ever take our government back. Nothing changes. AIPAC always wins. Depressing."


#2

Too much text. What did she do?


#3

[quote]Makavali wrote:
Too much text. What did she do?[/quote]

So far as we can determine, absolutely nothing.

She was on phone call with a party subject to wiretapping. There were accusations, which may have been trumped up to pressure and embarrass Harman, Pelosi, and a Democrat Party contributor.

The whole incident leading to the arrest and arraignment was based on alleged non-secret information transfer.
No trial will be held, in part because the evidence is tainted, and in part because there was no crime under the 1917 law used for indictment.

Harman is demanding the transcripts be released. So far, even Obama’s Justice Department won’t do it, even if it adds to the Bush administration’s embarrassment.


#4

Methinks this is a non-story given that the ‘accused’ is demanding a release of the transcripts.