On Jane Harman and NAO

A number of you have sent this piece, reporting that Jane Harman is trying to shut down the National Applications Office.

[Harman] has introduced two bills that would shutter the Department of Homeland Security’s innocuously-named National Applications Office.

In the waning days of the Bush administration, DHS officials began implementing plans to use NAO to oversee the training of military satellites on domestic targets — with funding for the program tucked in last year’s stopgap funding funding bill.

To the surprise of some in Congress, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano quietly inserted renewed funding for the program in the "classified annex" to the agency’s FY2010 budget.

Harman’s bill would eliminate the office — and a companion measure from Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) would completely de-fund NAO.

Glenn Thrush unfortunately ties Harman’s actions to the AIPAC-related wiretaps, which has led a number of people (including, perhaps, Thrush) to suggest she’s doing this solely because she’s smarting about being surveilled.

That’s unfortunate, because the surveillance is unrelated, and because the House Committee on Homeland Security–particularly its Chair, Bennie Thompson–has been taking a very proactive lead on this issue from the start. Harman, remember, chairs the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, which makes her exactly the right person to oppose this provision put through in the funding bill’s classified annex.

Harman, Dicks, and Thompson are doing the right thing in opposing this. Thompson, in particular, has been pushing for some oversight on this for a long time. We should be applauding efforts to insist on that oversight.

15 replies
  1. freepatriot says:

    Glenn Thrush unfortunately ties Harman’s actions to the AIPAC-related wiretaps, which has led a number of people (including, perhaps, Thrush) to suggest she’s doing this solely because she’s smarting about being surveilled.

    so, uhm,does her motive make this any difference ???

    would Americans benifit less if Harmon were motivated by doing the right thing instead of self interest ???

    maybe glen thrush should pull his head out of his ass and realize that he is using “What Is Good For America” as a prejorative

    but thas jes my view …

  2. WilliamOckham says:

    I think you’re being a little too kind in calling Politico’s approach “unfortunate”. It’s part and parcel of the ‘personal pique’ theory of politics of which the magazine is the primary purveyor (I didn’t start out to make that a sentence for Daffy Duck, it just happened).

    • emptywheel says:

      I pretty much agree–and think Glenn Thrush is one of the worst offenders–but I am very grateful that he reported this story, so I’m going to be nice for just this post.

    • LabDancer says:

      Notable net knight with knife-ish pseudonym, knickers in a knot wrestling writer’s pterodactyl: must be from Ypsilanti.

      No knowledge — just psychic.

  3. timbo says:

    What the heck is Napolitano’s reasoning to keep this funding? My guess is that it is cellular network spy satellites…is there some sort of top secret protocol for activating these spy systems…or are they ‘always on’, “passive” surveillance info gathering? Very scary if your political faction is not in control of something like that…

  4. freepatriot says:

    What the heck is Napolitano’s reasoning to keep this funding?

    they don’t like to give away money

    you ever seen a politician drop or lose so much as a nickle ???

    well, there was that one repuglitard who was investing his campaign funds in the stock market, but …

    you can’t follow most of these people thru life by following the pennies they have past by

  5. freepatriot says:

    ot breakin news

    SOCTUS says IXNAY on ysler crey

    Ginsberg delays sale to review the compensation of three Indiana funds

    carry on

    • BillE says:

      I have met Sestak and his wife they are just generally good people. Top notch. He is all about good health care and responsibly getting out of Iraq/Afghan. The only downside was he wouldn’t vote to cut funding and get us out under Bush with the usual canard of hurting the troops ( Although, in his defense I think the sociopaths in the Bush Admin would’ve hurt anybody especially the troops for political purposes see Iraq, War. ) He is not my congressman, (Pat Murphy is ) but the other downside is holding his seat if he goes. The rethuglitards are still the lead part in PA-07, if it wasn’t for a lot of things simultaneously happening the would’ve held the seat even without Crazy Curt Weldon.

      All I can say is go Joe, go.

      • BillE says:

        More, Sestaks stump always talks about the gov’t single payer health care that he got being an Admiral. And how it saved his daughter. Very good guy indeed.

      • Leen says:

        Every time Sestak speaks I want to listen. Sound reasonable, clear headed, rooted in reality. Makes me realize I am not going to get everything I want and Sestak is close enough.

        If a military man who has put his own life and well being on the line and seems to really get the seriousness of putting others lives on the line, for single payer yet knows we can not get it in one fell swoop. For some reason I trust Sestak he seems so sincere

  6. Leen says:

    Is what Jane Harman is doing now better than when she did this?

    Dem Rep Harman Did Urge Times Not To Publish Wiretapping Expose!


    that woman’s intentions are not to be trusted

    At Pat Lang’s site


    So, who might have been the actual target of the NSA wiretap that snared Jane? Rosen and Weissman were already indicted, so it is doubtful they would have been directly involved in the call to Harmon. I am told by a senior U.S. intelligence source that the caller was an American, maybe a dual citizen. So that would tend to rule out Uzi Arad, although he is still a target of U.S. investigation, as evidenced by the fact that he had a hard time just this past week getting a visa to come to the U.S. as the national security aide to Bibi.

    Was the caller Dennis Ross? As Col. Lang readers know, at the time, Ross was heading a front group for the Jewish Agency, an official arm of the Israeli government (one might even say that the Israeli government is an official arm of the Jewish Agency). He was working in think tanks financed by Haim Saben, and Saben’s name has appeared as a peripheral figure in this sordid affair, through promises of big bucks to the Democrats for the 2006 midterm election. Martin Indyk is another name that fits the bill, and it may be that Indyk’s failure to even get an honorable mention post with Obama is indication that he may have been the one.

  7. Leen says:


    “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 operation



    “If it was a court-ordered wiretap, it could have been obtained by the FBI and the technical collection was done by the NSA. But were both Harman and the person she was talking to in the U.S.? Was it a domestic phone call?

    The original CQ article of April 19, 2009 claims it was a “court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington” that revealed the conversation with Harman, and her phone mate was a “suspected Israeli agent” whose identity “could not be determined with certainty”. The Justice Department was going to open a case on Harman, and then-CIA director Porter Goss signed off on a FISA application to do electronic surveillance of her.

    CQ does not say when the Harman intercept was done, but seems to say it was in 2005, as the article claims that Harman in December 2005 defended the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program as desired by former attorney general Alberto Gonzales, who CQ asserts intervened to block the proposed investigation of Harman. Remember that the Washington Post puts the Harman wiretap in 2006.

    The NY Times story says that it is “not clear exactly when the wiretaps occurred”. And refers to the other person on the phone only as “someone”, and not a “suspected Israeli agent” (CQ) or “supporter” of Harman (Wash. Post).

    The tough thing for Harman is that all three articles agree that she appeared to agree to help Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman of AIPAC in exchange for help getting the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee.

    The NY Times and Washington Post attempt to help Harman’s image with the public by trying to create the impression that she did not actually intervene in the prosecution on behalf of Rosen, Weissman, and AIPAC.

    What those two newspapers do not tell you is that in federal conspiracy law, the agreement to commit an offense is the crime, and it does not matter if the offense that is the object of the conspiracy ever happens.

    Another intriguing thing: as we talk about one phone call, Congresswoman Harman appears to be in more than one recording. NY Times: “… was overheard on telephone calls …” (plural). Washington Post: “… in wiretapping her conversations …” (plural), and “Transcripts of the FBI wiretaps …” (plural).

    Were all these conversations with the same “someone”, the same “supporter”, and/or the same “suspected Israeli agent”?” Robert Willman”

    #####Will we ever have access to the transcript’s of Harman’s phone calls or be able to hear the tapes like we have of some of Blago’s conversations.

    What ever happened to that investigation of Harman’s ‘waddling”

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