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Pelosi Knew of Harman Wiretap

By Paul Kane
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) today acknowledged that she was briefed "a few years ago" by Bush administration officials shortly after Rep. Jane Harman was ensnared in a wiretap. But Pelosi denied that the subsequent criminal review by the Justice Department or any pressure from Harman's pro-Israel supporters played a role in denying the California Democrat's ascension to the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee after the 2006 midterm elections thrust Democrats into the majority.

Pelosi, who had yet to speak about her knowledge of Harman's appearance on the wiretap, said it is a "tradition" for the top Democrat and top Republican in the House to be alerted any time a member shows up on wiretaps or other surveillance devices, something that occurred when security officials were surreptitiously recording the conversations of an American supporter of Israeli causes.

She did not let Harman know about the matter: "It wasn't my position to raise it with Jane Harman, no. In fact I didn't even know what they were talking about. All they said was that she was wiretapped."

Congressional Quarterly reported on the wiretap earlier this week. Current and former administration officials confirmed for The Post that Harman could be heard discussing the possibility of asking Bush White House officials about seeking leniency for two lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, both of whom were subsequently indicted for espionage charged under a World War I-era espionage law with conspiring to give national defense information to journalists and Israeli Embassy officials. Prosecutors are reviewing the case now and considering dropping the case.

The accusations sparked a criminal review because, in exchange for seeking
leniency for the AIPAC lobbyists, Harman allegedly sought the support of
pro-Israel donors in her campaign to move from ranking minority member to
full committee chairman, once Democrats were in the majority. No charges were brought, and Harman has denied that she spoke to Bush administration officials about the prosecution.

Harman has asked for the Justice Department to release the transcripts from her surveillance. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said today he was concerned about how and why a member of Congress could turn up on a national security wire tap, assuring reporters he would seek more information from Attorney General Eric Holder.

"The stories that I've read give me great concern, and I'm going to be in the process personally of finding out more about it and then, with the speaker, determining what action, if any, needs to be taken. I think the Justice Department needs to take this under consideration," Hoyer told reporters.

Pelosi said she had "great confidence" in Harman, whom she called a "patriotic American," but the speaker acknowledged Harman did mount a furious campaign to become chairman. "Many, many, many of Jane's friends talked to me about her being made chair of the Intelligence Committee, none of them in any threatening way," she said.

Pelosi specifically denied any reports that Harman's campaign, or her original support for the Iraq war, influenced her decision. She said it was based entirely on tradition that the top slot on the intelligence committee -- selected solely by the speaker -- usually serves a two-term limit. Harman was appointed ranking member of intelligence in 2003 and served in that role through two congresses, until 2007.

"Jane was there for two terms. When she leap-frogged over the others, I said, that's just for two terms. So when we took the majority, the idea that Jane would have three terms, was inconsistent with the commitment that I had made and the custom that we had and continue to have," Pelosi said. "So the only reason Jane is not chairman is because she served two terms. It had nothing to do with her position on Iraq, had nothing to do with donors, had nothing to do with eavesdropping, what are we calling it, wiretapping. It had nothing to do with anything. It only had to do with the fact that this extraordinarily talented member of Congress had served her two terms."

By Paul Volpe  |  April 22, 2009; 3:23 PM ET
 
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Comments

considering that pelosi and harmon don't get along, it's no wonder she said nothing...
what else have they hidden from us...

Posted by: DwightCollins | April 22, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Harman is unAmerican, serving her Israeli controllers. Pelosi is unAmerican, serving her lust for power and money. Californians, wake up!! You are destoying what was once a beautiful nation.

Posted by: frazeysburger | April 22, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that I can express my anger, but I find it repugnant that insidious agents of a foreign government (AIPAC & its bedfellows) have the audacity to "directly and openly" lobby the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives to appoint the likes of Rep. Harman, a certified "quisling", as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee!

Posted by: dgward44 | April 22, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

The tentacles of Mossad and the APAC appear to reach into the very highest levels of the government of the United States. The danger to US security of this circumstance cannot be overestimated.

Posted by: gargoyle22 | April 22, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

The tentacles of Mossad and the AIPAC appear to reach into the very highest levels of the government of the United States. The danger to US security of this circumstance cannot be overestimated.

Posted by: gargoyle22 | April 22, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I suspect this will quickly be swept under the rug, however if all else fails there is always the anti semitism card.

Posted by: Christine8 | April 22, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm mostly surprised that our government was able to catch Israeli intelligence subverting one of our Congressmen.

Posted by: johnc_80 | April 22, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I suspect this will quickly be swept under the rug, however if all else fails there is always the anti semitism card.

Posted by: Christine8 | April 22, 2009 6:03 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I agree, and if that doesn't work, there's always the new annual holocost movie. This years Oscar to be nominated, Boy in the Stripe Pajamas. And if that doesn't work, how about an all Jewish cast Christmas story.

Posted by: ICantBelieve_ItsCongress | April 22, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Anti-Israel comments here make me sick.
Go to Israel and see for yourself!
Then, you will know that you know not!

Thanks!
Neal in NY, NY

Posted by: nealhugh | April 23, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

There needs to be a full investigation in this matter. CIA and FBI operatives working this case must be fully questioned. If this is true, it is another example of just how much our politics are being controlled by external forces. These are traitorous allegations.

Posted by: dontblamemeivoted4gore | April 23, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Irony: Rep. Harman's husband makes the best audio recording equipment in the world.

See


http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/audio-irony/

Posted by: MikeLicht | April 24, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

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