Harman: Conservatives Falsely Hyped Terror Threat Against U.S. Capitol To Pass FISA Expansion

On August 2, Roll Call issued a breaking news report, warning of a suspected terror threat against the U.S. Capitol:

Capitol Police officials have stepped up the department’s security presence on Capitol Hill in response to intelligence indicating the increased possibility of an al-Qaida terrorist attack on Congress sometime between now and Sept. 11.

Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) ratcheted up the rhetoric, “ominously” advising that “Congress needed to pass changes to terrorist surveillance laws before leaving for the August recess and warned that otherwise ‘the disaster could be on our doorstep.'”

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), speaking at a FISA event yesterday organized by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, stated that the terror claims were “part of a well-orchestrated campaign” by the administration to politicize the FISA debate. She referred to the efforts as part of the “Rovian strategy of using terrorism as a wedge political issue.” Harman asserted that the intelligence agencies “knew” the terror claims propagated by conservative lawmakers were false:

That specific intelligence claim, it turned out, was bogus; the intelligence agencies knew that –apparently had communicated to Congress or to relevant people that it was bogus, the source was unreliable. But that communication wasn’t in any published form until the day that the Senate passed the amendments to FISA.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/09/harmancap.320.240.flv]

It’s still unclear exactly how much the vote was influenced by these events, but at a minimum it demonstrates that the politicization of terror and safety has sunk to a new low on the decency scale.

Raw Story has more.

— Dave de Give

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