Jane Harman: Stupid and Reckless, Not the Victim of Illegal Wiretaps

There are a lot of reasons to be appalled by the story of Harman’s agreement to pressure DOJ in exchange for help getting a Chairmanship, and by Gonzales’ decision to drop an investigation so he could protect himself.

But the fact that Harman was picked up on a wiretap is not one of them. 

The CQ story makes it clear that this wiretap was court approved and was directed not at Harman, but at the suspected Israeli spy whom she was talking to.

What is new is that Harman is said to have been picked up on a court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington. [my emphasis]

Now, we know from the court documents in the AIPAC case that there have been wiretaps involved going back years–probably as early as 2002. And it has been reported that the original focus of the investigation was Naor Gilon, an Israeli widely suspected of being a spy, not Larry Franklin or any other American. 

In other words, the investigation–and the wiretaps–were the classic, proper use of FISA: for an intelligence investigation targeting suspected agents of a foreign power operating in the US. And it goes without saying that we all better hope the NSA listens closely to conversations between powerful members of Congress and suspected spies, and that when they make quid pro quo deals, that conversation gets looked at much more closely. This was a totally proper use of NSA wiretaps. 

What is absolutely astounding, however, is that someone well-versed in intelligence like Harman got on the phone with someone reported to be under investigation at least a year earlier, agreed to a quid pro quo, and then said (so the NSA could hear her), “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

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bmaz Was the police response to Boston bombing really appropriate? http://t.co/uWcY77L9Wi Answer is no; great work by @radleybalko @WPTheWatch
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bmaz @GregoryMcNeal No. And it was pretty obvious from the start.
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bmaz I see all the good news+discussion on pardons today and can't help but think what profound+great impact @DafnaLinzer + @ProPublica crew had.
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bmaz RT @JameelJaffer: Excellent piece by @rgoodlaw & @SarahKnuckey about @nytimes' reporting on drone strikes in Yemen. http://t.co/08yMJVr3fG
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bmaz @FalguniSheth @gideonstrumpet Fair point. I think my county is bigger than 8 states, all up there except Hawaii.
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bmaz @gideonstrumpet @FalguniSheth Don't know about Falguni's schedule, but @emptywheel is going to be around a bit, you should hook up.
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bmaz @gideonstrumpet @FalguniSheth Right. But that is not exactly CT....
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bmaz @gideonstrumpet @FalguniSheth Wait, you are traveling?
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bmaz @FalguniSheth @gideonstrumpet No, like me Gid is really a recluse.
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bmaz This----> RT @DLind This morning's DOJ announcement is a BFD. And we are on hand to explain why it matters. http://t.co/zahKzX0jLK
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bmaz @FalguniSheth @emptywheel You girls keep the lawyer near you. Never know when the professional pricks might be handy.
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