U.S. Representative Jane Harman has a lot of explaining to do. So does the New York Times. So does Alberto Gonzales. So does the government of Israel. So does the Democratic Party leadership. So does the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). So does the National Security Agency.
Accusations are flying fast and furious after it was leaked that the National Security Agency wiretapped a telephone call in which it is alleged that Harman offered an agent of the Israeli government in conjunction with the lobbyist group AIPAC, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, in exchange for AIPAC arranging for the House Democrats to give Harmann a congressional leadership position in intelligence affairs if the Democrats retook Congress. Harman was indeed made chair of the House Intelligence Subcommittee in the Committee on Homeland Security when the Democrats took over the House in the election of 2006.
It is also alleged that Harman was on the verge of being formally investigated for this action, when she made a deal with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who was blackmailing her with a transcript of the telephone call. It is alleged that Harman agreed to pressure the New York Times editorial board to censor an article it was preparing revealing the National Security Agency’s program to electronically spy on Americans without any search warrant. Instead of conducting oversight on the unconstitutional spying activities of intelligence agencies, it is alleged that Harman helped cover them up. For a while, the New York Times complied, agreeing to keep the American people in the dark about the spying being conducted against them by their own government.
There are many questions coming out of this story. How many other members of Congress have been blackmailed into supporting the Bush Administration’s unconstitutional programs to spy against Americans? How did Harman, and other government insiders, force the New York Times editorial board to remain silent in the face of these high crimes? Was Jane Harman’s vote in favor of the FISA Amendments Act in 2008 a result of the blackmail, and would the legislation have made it out of committee without her assistance? Why does AIPAC believe that it has the power to direct the Democratic leadership in Congress?
Oh, and here’s another little question, my favorite for the evening: When it comes to unconstitutional wiretaps by the government, does Jane Harman care about anyone but herself?
I’m asking that question because, as those of you who follow Irregular Times are aware, there have been at least two previous scandalous revelations about warrantless wiretapping abuses against the American people by the National Security Agency since the beginning of this month. First, there was President Obama’s declaration that no one has the right to sue the government when their rights are violated by these spying programs. Then, it was revealed that the National Security Agency has used the FISA Amendments Act to spy on massive numbers of Americans within the borders of the USA.
As the chair of the House Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee, Jane Harman has the responsibility to investigate abuses of intelligence laws and programs, such as the warrantless spying system perpetuated by the FISA Amendments Act. But what has Representative Harman done in response to the two substantial abuses of warrantless spy powers revealed in the last few weeks?
Nothing. Representative Harman hasn’t lifted a finger to do anything to address these unconstitutional abuses. Harman’s subcommittee hasn’t issued a report or even sent out a press release this year so far. On Harman’s individual congressional web site, recent news focuses on other issues, as you see in the snapshot below:
As you see, Jane Harman hasn’t bothered to speak out against the abusive warrantless wiretapping done routinely against the American people. Today, however, Jane Harman has finally spoken out about warrantless wiretapping – because she says she was the victim. Harman is up in arms, but only only about the alleged wiretapping of her own telephone conversation.
When it comes to the National Security Agency program to use warrantless wiretapping powers against ordinary, law-abiding Americans, Jane Harman doesn’t seem to give a damn. Does Jane Harman care about anyone but herself?