Rep. Jane Harman’s (D-CA) office issued a statement this afternoon responding to a story by CQ’s Jeff Stein, which reports that the NSA caught Harman offering a quid pro quo to unnamed Israeli agents in return for their help in becoming House Intelligence Committee chair. The report also said that then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stopped an FBI investigation into Harman’s quid pro quo deal because he needed her help to sell the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Harman’s statement denies the report and deflects blame onto the Bush administration for wiretapping a Member of Congress:
The CQ Politics story simply recycles three year-old discredited reporting of largely unsourced material to manufacture a ‘scoop’ out of widely known and unremarkable facts – that Congresswoman Jane Harman is and has long been a supporter of AIPAC, and that some members of AIPAC regarded her as well-qualified to chair the House Intelligence Committee following the 2006 elections. Congresswoman Harman has never contacted the Justice Department about its prosecution of present or former AIPAC employees and the Department has never informed her that she was or is the subject of or involved in an investigation. If there is anything about this story that should arouse concern, it is that the Bush Administration may have been engaged in electronic surveillance of members of the congressional Intelligence Committees.
Harman’s statement appears not to have fully addressed the issue regarding Gonzales, simply stating that the Department of Justice “has never informed her that she was or is the subject of or involved in an investigation.” This, of course, leaves open the possibility that an official from another executive department or a member of Congress told her of the case.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is calling for Congress and the Justice Department to launch an investigation into Harman’s activities.