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Harmangate!

scarshapedstar's picture

Interesting times:

(TPM link)

So, as far as I can tell, Rep. Jane Harman [D-Ca] was conspiring with the Israelis to drop some spy charges in exchange for some lobbying on her behalf, and Alberto Gonzales had an NSA warrantless wiretap™ (wait for it) on her phone and overheard the deal.

In exchange for not investigating, Gonzales asked her to attack the NYT's exposé on (wait for it) NSA warrantless wiretapping. The one she had personally requested be held back until before after the 2004 election (Department of With Democrats Like These, anyone?)

And so she goes free, although the Israelis didn't get her that committee chair she wanted in the first place.

One has to wonder just how much dirt Hoover Gonzales and Rove had on everyone in Washington, and more importantly, how many other favors they blackmailed out of people. And it certainly explains some of those bizarre, neo-Maoist ritual apologies.

Tip of the iceberg, or typical day in Crawford East?

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Submitted by lambert on

What a shame about Harman. I wonder if another D-CA, DiFi, faces similar challenges?

And is this one of the "politically explosive disclosures" that the FISA court system has kept under wraps?

And the question really is how much dirt the NSA has on everyone else, and how many people they traded dirt with (And, even more generically, how much dirt everyone has on everyone). My guess would be "lots" and "lots", respectively. After all, Spitzer was taken down with a warranted program...

Remember the blackmail theories? Tinfoil hat stuff, right? Not.

And I thought TPM's last sentence was interesting:

This raises lots and lots of questions -- not least of which is why this is coming out right now. Any particular reason people in the intel community would want to start talking to the press right now?

Hey, any insiders who want to post some transcripts... We're here for you!

UPDATE Also, scarshapted start, please check your private messages (under Post Other Content in middle sidebar).

lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

The article sources are:

  • two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.
  • according to three top former national security officials
  • a source with first-hand knowledge of the wiretaps
  • “It’s true,” added another former national security official who was briefed on the NSA intercepts involving Harman.

Is that 7 anonymous sources or 3 quoted multiple times? My favorite is the 'it's true' comment from one who apparently never heard the supposed call or read the transcript of it. Very reliable.

All of the above "discussed it only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of domestic NSA eavesdropping." I bet.

Another really choice article snippet is this construction:

The identity of the “suspected Israeli agent” could not be determined with certainty...Rosen had been charged with two counts of conspiring to communicate, and communicating national defense information to people not entitled to receive it. Weissman was charged with conspiracy.

AIPAC dismissed the two in May 2005, about five months before the events here unfolded.

The article does nothing to link the two agents mentioned with this wiretap. Maybe the reporter can accomplish guilt by shout out.

I have no idea if any of this is true but the story seems like a batch impossible to verify heresay. Wonder if the FOIA would cover obtaining transcripts of illegal wiretaps (or are they legal now)?

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Certainly now that they got what they wanted, former Bush apparatchiks will go ahead and spill the blackmail goods on every Democrat they had goods on. That is the better use of the data for them, to discredit powerful Dems and Dems in general. As long as it is actual corruption that is exposed, I'm fairly indifferent (read they aren't going after "teh gay"), since enablers like Harman deserve everything they get. Of course that isn't 11-dimension chess, but....

The flip side is there is no reason to believe they didn't wiretap Republicans as well. And those Republicans who might have gone off the reservation before, and who had things to hide (um, Lugar..... Lugar.....), need to be held in line. Certainly via Bolton, via Rove, via Cheney, the Republican leadership knows exactly what goods are held on who and how to use it (why that call them "whips").

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

For whatever reason, he voted for it. Maybe he voted for it because he knew he would win and wanted the power for himself. Maybe he was also given a political price for voting against it? The two reasons for voting for it are not mutually exclusive.

He must have known there was a serious political price from his base, and even from the libertarian Republicans whose vote he coveted.

Submitted by cg.eye on

Even if Obama pushed the DOJ toward prosecutions, the GOP will stilll reveal the toxic waste behind the bribery that kept blue dog Dems at the trough. The GOP not only rewarded the blue dogs with cash and power, they told them just what would happen if they actually served on behalf of their constituents -- resignations in disgrace, if not a year of censure hearings. They could show-trial themselves into the White House with nothing but the truth, because we let corrupt people still serve under our party's colors.

For their base, all they need do is say "throw the bums out" over and over again -- and make certain their bums are in the forefront of judging our bums.

This is what happens to the DNC when they don't clean house, when they accept conservatives in borderline districts and when we value finance's campaign funds instead of grassroots constituent service.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

by a dependent and wriggledy press -- where are the sources for this? In journalism, you don't verify one (no, not even if Woodstein would do it) anonymous source with another nameless rumormonger. There's a reason for that: you can end up being the front man for a grudge-bearing disgruntled employee (or faction) whose agenda you didn't even suspect existed.

We KNOW there's an agenda out there. We're treated to it nonstop thanks to the good graces of Rupert Murdoch's money and influence throughout an "industry" that has replaced the fourth estate. What we need to figure out is how this revelation -- about Harman -- fits into that agenda. What we don't need is to speculate ahead of our data elsewhere, because *that* is the distraction we're meant to run after.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

This point is taken:

"where are the sources for this? In journalism, you don't verify one (no, not even if Woodstein would do it) anonymous source with another nameless rumormonger. There's a reason for that: you can end up being the front man for a grudge-bearing disgruntled employee (or faction) whose agenda you didn't even suspect existed."

There are indeed alot of anonymous sources for this. But this is also not new, Harman was accused of this in 2006, then it got memory-holed.

This following point is just politics and NOT taken:

"What we need to figure out is how this revelation -- about Harman -- fits into that agenda."

We only need to figure out if it is true or not true. Let the political chips fall where they may.

Submitted by lambert on

See Glenn:

Stein's entire story should be read. It's a model of excellent reporting, as it relies on numerous sources with first-hand knowledge of the NSA transcripts (and what sweet justice it would be if Harman's guilt were established by government eavesdropping). It should be noted that Harman has issued a general denial of wrongdoing (but does not appear to deny that she had the discussion Stein reports), and the sources in Stein's story are anonymous (though because they're disclosing classified information and exposing government wrongdoing, it's a classic case of when anonymity is justifiable; and note Stein's efforts to provide as much information as possible about his sources and why they are anonymous).
There are many questions that the story raises -- Josh Marshall notes just some of those vital questions here -- and Harman's guilt therefore shouldn't be assumed. But obviously, given all the very serious issues this story raises -- involving what seem to be credible allegations of very serious wrongdoing by a key member of Congress, the former Attorney General and one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the country -- full-scale investigations are needed, to put it mildly.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Via Pat Lang:

"Firstly, consider the fact that this spook was comfortable enough with Harmon to make her an offer like that... Harmon and her husband, Sidney, are major figures in the world of political think-tankery, charity, etc. BENS, WINEP, AIPAC, JINSA, etc. They get around. She has had to "settle" for a lesser committee chairmanship. As I said, life is not fair.

Then there is the fact that this spook said that he, a foreigner, would go to the minority leader of the House of Representatives (Pelosi) with some prospect of success to ask for Harmon to be made chairman of the HPSCI. Chutzpah indeed! There must have been a good case that he knew Pelosi well enough for Harman to think that plausible. I guess if enough people go to enough dinner parties, eventually everyone knows everyone?"

This is the real issue here. That this operative knew Harman well enough to make a proposal of this kind so blatantly. That Harman knew that this person had the power to pull strings with Pelosi and actually make things happen. Harman's behavior proves it. Whether it worked out that way is immaterial, Harman believed it.

The Village is a rotten, pus-filled pastry, ready to explode.

That is why I think this is the tip of the iceberg.