Chris's Rants

Monday, April 20, 2009

Can you spell blackmail?


Jeff Stein, CQ SpyTalk Columnist has a bombshell:
Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

[...]

But that’s when, according to knowledgeable officials, Attorney General Gonzales intervened.

According to two officials privy to the events, Gonzales said he “needed Jane” to help support the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about to be exposed by the New York Times.

Harman, he told Goss, had helped persuade the newspaper to hold the wiretap story before, on the eve of the 2004 elections. And although it was too late to stop the Times from publishing now, she could be counted on again to help defend the program

He was right.

On Dec. 21, 2005, in the midst of a firestorm of criticism about the wiretaps, Harman issued a statement defending the operation and slamming the Times, saying, “I believe it essential to U.S. national security, and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.”
One thing is clear... no, make that two. 1) Harman needs to resign her congressional seat, now. 2) Can you spell blackmail? We can make this go away if you get our back on this warrentless wiretapping thing...

One thing is less clear, and that is the nature of the wiretap that caught Rep. Harman in the first place. Wouldn't it be ironic if it were of the warrantless variety? If so, WTF is the administration doing wiretapping members of congress? Me thinks that the former Bush administration officials have some 'splainin' to do.