Um, this is real awkward. California Democrat Jane Harman is said to have promised to help two AIPAC employees who were accused of spying for Israel some time before March 2005. We know this because Harman said so on a secret NSA wiretap, and because the CQ Politics had this story today.
Harman’s agreement to “waddle into” the thrilling espionage mess as a quid pro quo that AIPAC lobby hard for her to become house speaker in 2006 instead of Nancy Pelosi. Um, again, we know this because Harman was caught on tape saying so…
From the CQ story:
It’s true that allegations of pro-Israel lobbyists trying to help Harman get the chairmanship of the intelligence panel by lobbying and raising money for Pelosi aren’t new.
They were widely reported in 2006, along with allegations that the FBI launched an investigation of Harman that was eventually dropped for a “lack of evidence.” 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.
And that, contrary to reports that the Harman investigation was dropped for “lack of evidence,” it was Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush’s top counsel and then attorney general, who intervened to stop the Harman probe.
Why? Because, according to three top former national security officials, Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House.
This item is particularly awkward for The New York Times, because the CQ story alleges that Harman effectively lobbied the paper’s Executive Editor, Bill Keller, to stop The Times’ famously delayed story about the Bush Administration’s illegal surveillance tactics, which the paper held for an entire year between 2004 and 2005.
Keller, not surprisingly, denies this outright in The Times story about Harman, which makes you wonder a little about the CQ story’s claim. Still, not good news for anyone involved. Also, is it just me, or does Harman look slightly terrifying? (Not to mention a lot like Cloris Leachman).