Monday, April 20, 2009

Not Much Fire On Jane Harman Front

Last night, a lot of smoke emerged in the vicinity of California Democrat Jane Harman. A member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Harman was caught making promises to "suspected Israeli agents" on an authorized wiretap to help get charges reduced in the case of AIPAC officials (AIPAC is a pro-Israeli lobby) accused of spying.

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.

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.”

But there's less here than meets the eye. Harman is making promises but she doesn't appear to be making those promises in return for anything. Harman just says she'll try "if it will make a difference." Harman can be criticized here for being so gung ho for the Israelis. What have the Israelis ever done to justify that kind of knee-jerk support in a case where pro-Israeli officials were spying on the United States? Harman can also be fairly criticized for her support of warrantless wiretapping and other Bush administration causes when she was a high-ranking Democrat. However, it doesn't appear from this transcript that Harman is exchanging her support in any kind of corrupt way. As the CQ article claims, Harman doesn't appear to like the idea of "the suspected Israeli agent" trying to help her in return and cuts off the conversation.

If Jane Harman's going to be hung out to dry, there needs to be a lot more evidence that she did something unethical, corrupt, or criminal besides being overly supportive of Israel.

I don't see it here.

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