CQ Politics has published an article claiming the National Security Administration has an audio recording of Congresswoman Jane Harman (CA 36) offering an Israeli agent help in getting charges reduced against two men in return for Israeli aid in her quest to become Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee:
Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.
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.”
Harman, of course, calls this all a pack of lies and, when the story first broke in 2006, it was reported that the investigation was dropped for lack of evidence. End of story, right?
Not if CQ Politics is right. If the NSA recording really exists, it shows Harman offering her influence to help a foreign intelligence service in return for their help in advancing her career. If her plan had worked, the conflict of interest would have been huge: the head of a key committee trusted with highly classified information having secret dealings with foreign spies.
While probably not criminal, it’s clearly ethical corruption; she was elected to serve the voters of the 36th district, not Israeli intelligence. While Israel is an allied state, and while only a naif would be shocked, shocked to learn that even allies spy on each other, voters in Representative Harman’s district have every reason to question her actions in this case and wonder how else she’s peddled her influence – and in return for what?
(hat tip: Don Surber)