Monday, April 20, 2009

Re-thinking Jane

This Jane Harmon thing literally would not let me sleep. The story we are being told -- which I told, in the preceding post -- doesn't feel right.

Before proceeding, I should note that the latest information is that the Israeli agent who made the quid pro quo offer to Jane Harmon was probably (though not definitely) Haim Saban, the guy who brought the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers to America. He's a big Democratic party donor.

The offer, you will recall, was for Harmon to lobby the Justice Department to drop the AIPAC investigation. In return, the Israeli agent would lobby Speaker Nancy Pelosi to give Harman the job of running the intel committee.

Now, it appears that Saban did indeed make a call or two to Pelosi. But none of the stories we've seen so far have offered any evidence that Harman acted on behalf of AIPAC, which was at the crux of the matter. The CQ story quotes an anonymous source to the effect that Harman attempted to "complete" the crime, but we are not told what -- if anything -- she actually did.

That's one of the things that bothers me.

The other questions bothering me are: 1. Why eavesdrop on Harman? and 2. Who is revealing this stuff now, and for what purpose?

As I have mulled over those questions, a third one formed: Who eavesdropped on Harman?

The NSA did, with court approval -- or so we are told. But now I'm beginning to suspect that the party recording that telephone call was Israeli.

When you think about it, Saban (presuming he was the agent) could have recorded the call, using a device anyone can buy at Radio Shack for five bucks. Indeed, the agent probably did make a recording. Wouldn't you, if you were in his position?

But the eavesdropper was probably Mossad. Everyone has forgotten one of the great scandals of the Bush era: Congressman Bob Ney, an associate of Jack Abramoff (whose loyalties, we can safely say, went to Israel) arranged for an Israeli firm called Foxcom to install wireless communications for all of Congress.

So here's an alternative scenario.

Harman had an initial conversation with Saban (or whomever), during which an offer is made. Harman agrees tentatively, then later gets cold feet. Much depends on the exact wording of the conversation or conversations. The agent might have thought that a firm deal existed, while Harman might have thought that she could still weigh her options. (Remember the quid pro quo in Strangers on a Train?)

Saban-or-whoever makes his call to Pelosi, but Harman does nothing. She stalls. She does not jump as quickly as the Israelis want her to jump. (Remember how miffed Farley Granger got in that movie?)

Feeling stiffed, the Israelis hand a transcript of the call over to the CIA. They seek court approval for further NSA eavesdropping on Harman.

Gonzales now "has something" on Harman. He wants her support of the adminstration's wiretapping program.

Harman does voice support -- initially, in December of 2005 -- but, as I have noted in the earlier post, she backtracks in early 2006. I'm not sure she would have backtracked if she thought there was much chance that Gonzales would use the evidence against her.

Am I convinced of this alternative scenario? No. But I think it worthy of consideration. Keep it in mind as further facts come out.

By the way: All the above took place in 2005-2006. Before that, in 2004, Jane Harman allegedly helped to spike a New York Times story on the Bush's wiretapping program. Or so we have been told. The NYT officially denies that Harman played any role in their decision to hold back the story. However:
Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, remained silent for over a year after being briefed on the Bush administration's violation of federal wiretapping law (FISA) and recently told "Meet the Press" that she deplores the New York Times for informing the American people that the Bush Administration ignored the law.
Seems to me that if anyone "had something" on Jane Harman, the option was exercised in 2004-2005. It makes sense. The intelligence community traditionally does its damnedest to make sure that it can exercise some measure of control over the leading figures on that committee.
As Glenzilla points out, there was never any doubt that Harmon would support the NSA spying. He speculates that Gonzo wanted her free to do so.

BTW - isn't the AIPAC case going to trial soon? Coinky-dink?
The other questions bothering me are: 1. Why eavesdrop on Harman? and 2. Who is revealing this stuff now, and for what purpose?
I think it's been pretty much demonstrated they were eavesdropping on Saban. So that means Pelosi's call were tapped too.
The other questions bothering me are: 1. Why eavesdrop on Harman? and 2. Who is revealing this stuff now, and for what purpose?
1. According to the story they were not eavesdropping on Harmon. It was "a court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington." From which I understand they were tapping the Israeli agent.

2. The reporter is saying that he had known there was a story but just got around pursuing it. I don't know if that is the truth but sometimes there is a simple explanation for things.
Mondoweiss has more - Jeff Stein says Harman wasn't the target and the leak wasn't recent.
This is old news...from 2006.,8816,1549069,00.html

I have never trusted Harman, so I am not as generous as you. I have seen her lie on numerous occasions, not that this is an unusual political move, but...
The irony is that in some strange way- the renewal of this old story seems to have helped AIPAC.
BTW- Pelosi knew of the wiretap back in 2006 too. They came to her with the info, as the house leadership is procedurally informed of these things.
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