Et Tu, Rep. Harman?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It would seem, based on yesterday evening's conversation between NPR's Robert Siegel and Representative Jane Harman (D - California), that Rep. Harman is in a heap of trouble. If you missed the interview, here's a transcript.

Rep. Harman is the Chair of the Intelligence Subcommittee of the Homeland Security Committee, but at the time of the offense in question, during the Bush administration, she was the ranking Democrat on the committee. It appears as though two lobbyists (damn lobbyists...) were accused of espionage, and someone called Harman to ask for lenience. And the National Security Agency recorded (read: wiretapped) the call. According to the article: "...the caller offered political help to Harman in her hopes of becoming chair of the House Intelligence Committee and asked that she call the Justice Department on behalf of the two lobbyists." The WaPo reported that the Fed Prosecutors were considering dropping the charges aginst the lobbyists.

The fun begins:

Robert Siegel: First, do you remember the phone call in question? Who is the other party and is that a fair description of what was discussed?

Rep. Jane Harman: We don't know if there was a phone call. These are three unnamed sources, former and present national security officials, who are allegedly selectively leaking information about a phone call or phone calls that may or may not have taken place. I have to say I am outraged that I may have been wiretapped by my government in 2005 or 2006 while I was ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee. [emphasis added]
So...despite deatiled recordings and multiple reports, you aren't sure if this phone call ever existed?? More fun:
Siegel: The New York Times reports today that in a call, the caller offered to get Haim Saban, a big political donor and a supporter of Israel, to tell Nancy Pelosi that he wouldn't donate money if you didn't get the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee.

[Harman chuckles.]

Siegel: Any conversation like that, ever?

Harman: Well, how do we know?
What do you mean "how do we know??" You were there, right? Or are you pulling a Reagan?
Siegel: But here are some quotations attributed to the transcript of the wiretap of your conversation that CQ reported. At the end, you say to the caller, "This conversation doesn't exist." But that's after you're quoted as saying that you "would waddle into the matter" — that is, of Rosen and Weissman —if you "think it would make a difference." Can you recall saying that, or is that a fair conversation to have with someone?

Harman: No. I can't recall with any specificity a conversation I may have had...
Yup. Looks like it.

Read the transcript. She is calling for a full, non-redacted release of the transcripts to her office, which she will make public. Mostly, though, she's pissed that there is an investigation on her and nobody told her. Siegel calls her out on the fact that gee, if there's an investigation on you or anyone, do you think they'd let you know?? She essentially deflects, saying that wiretapping members of Congress is bad enough, but really it's the citizens we should worry about. I personnally find it hilarious that she supported wiretapping all of us, but is really pissed that she got wiretapped. Careful what you wish for, Harman.

So here's a big test for Pelosi. Will she dump Harman from her Chair? Should she?

8 comments:

Rickey Henderson 9:46 AM  

Hey look everybody--the first instance of the Patriot Act actually working!

B Mac 6:57 PM  

But they were only supposed to listen in on the conversations of dangerous, guilty people! You know, brown people with hyphenated last names, war dissenters, the Dixie Chicks... Why would the government be interested in listening in on people with nothing to hide?

Oh.

Welcome back to the roost, chickens. We've missed you.

steves 9:38 AM  

She should be dumped and possibly prosecuted, though I am not all that confident that either will happen.

I posted this on another blog and thought it applies to this situation, too:

I read an interesting article on one of the gun forums I frequent. The author takes a a somewhat parental look on politics and says that we reward bad behavior in some of our elected officials. In other words, we re-elect many people that do bad things or engage in unethical or illegal behavior. The result is that we encourage, on some level, them to break the rules or at least tell them it is ok.

Hey look everybody--the first instance of the Patriot Act actually working!I don't think the PA is complete shit. The parts that require cooperation between intelligence agencies are good and there have been some people caught. That being said, there are portions that are clearly overreaching and unConstitutional. Congress and the President should have taken more time in crafting the PA.

Bob 10:46 AM  

"In other words, we re-elect many people that do bad things or engage in unethical or illegal behavior."I totally agree with this. We reward those who lie to us becuase we cannot accept the truth. This applies to taxes, budget cuts and policy. We hate Congress, but love our Congressman, we hate pork, but reward our Rep. who brings home the bacon.

Everyone wants everything without any pain or sacrifice and when a legisaltors says he/she will deliver it, we vote for him/her.

B Mac 12:47 PM  

Congress and the President should have taken more time in crafting the [Patriot Act] Former Congresswoman Lynn Rivers was a professor of mine in my days at U of M. The way she tells it, there was actually a great deal of debate on the original version of the bill, and many questionable provisions were stripped.

However, once it reached the floor, the House members had about 15 minutes to read the final "draft", which was in fact an entirely new bill. Majority leadership and the President drafted the bill by themselves, and that was exactly how they wanted it to go down. This was not a rush job; it was a power play.

Mr Furious 9:08 AM  

Fuck her. She's an ass.

1. Every Democrat or potential political enemy of the previous Administration should've ASSUMED they were being tapped at all times. That program had shit like this written all over it.

2. Anytime you feel the need to utter a phrase like, "This conversation never took place," perhaps it was a converation you never should have had.

3. Pelosi was smart to spike Harmon's chance at Chair a year or two ago.

4. PElosi's got her own shit to deal with in the matter of torture and what and when she knew about it.

5. Line 'em all up against the wall with Cheney if they're dirty.

Mr Furious 9:10 AM  

Woot! Lynn Rivers in the house!

My former Congress-critter and I too two classes with her as well.

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