It's astounding to see reports by CNN, Politico, and others that former California Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman is being considered as a possible new head of the CIA, given the fact that she was implicated in an Israeli spy scandal in 2005.
Despite apparently strong evidence against Harman, the expected Justice Department investigation never happened; the powerful Congresswoman and Israel advocate from southern California got off; and today the media, at least so far, are failing to mention an incident that one would expect to be problematic for a potential director of the CIA.
Below, based on reports by TPM, Salon, Time, Stephen Walt, the New York Times, Antiwar.com and a C&L, is the general story of Harman's apparent promise to an Israeli agent to help people indicted for espionage on behalf of Israel:
In 2005 a federal wiretap reportedly picked up a conversation between Congresswoman Harman and a suspected Israeli agent.
According to the reports, Harman told the Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In return, the suspected Israeli agent (who may have been a dual-citizen American) reportedly pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi, then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee. Harman was already the ranking Democrat on the committee.
At the end of the conversation, Harman reportedly said: "This conversation doesn’t exist.”
Harman's denials can be read at Congressional Quarterly's Roll Call, which seems to have removed the 2009 story that provided numerous details about what it termed Harman's "completed crime." It's unknown whether the removal of the article is related to the fact that three months after the story broke, Congressional Quarterly was bought by the Economist Group.
The AIPAC spying case that Harman is said to have offered to help on consisted of two top AIPAC officials who had been indicted for illegally obtaining classified documents about Iran and passing these to Israel (as well as to Washington Post journalist Glenn Kessler, whose speaker bio lists three topics: "Global Affairs, Jewish Interest, Middle East Issues").
One of those indicted defended himself by stating that AIPAC regularly obtains and hands on classified U.S. information.
When AIPAC, worried at the public exposure caused by the indictments, fired the two men, numerous AIPAC donors continued to support the two officials, despite evidence that the men had leaked classified US documents to a foreign country.
Subsequent lawsuits involving one of the indicted, Steven Rosen, revealed this information (and additional sleazy details about AIPAC officials), including the fact that Rosen had reportedly received $670,000 from such Israel partisans as Slim-Fast billionaire Daniel Abraham, philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, Israeli-American Haim Saban, and dozens of others.
Saban had reportedly lobbied Pelosi on behalf of Harman, but Pelosi eventually decided to appoint a different person chair of the House Intelligence Committee (Silvestre "Silver" Reyes of Texas, another recipient of pro-Israel campaign donations).
Harman, who frequently speaks at AIPAC events, is widely known for her strong advocacy for Israel and of Middle East wars on behalf of it; JTA has reported she is "beloved by the pro-Israel lobby."
In her nine terms in Congress, Harman served on all the major security committees: six years on Armed Services, eight years on Intelligence and four on Homeland Security.
Harman is currently the director, president, and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center. Harman was married to billionaire Sidney Harman, owner of Newsweek, until his death last year. In 2008 Jane Harman was listed as the second-richest member in congress.
Below is a video report on Jane Harman's alleged promise to help treasonous former AIPAC officials in return for being put in charge of House oversight of US intelligence agencies. It is disturbing to find that she may now get an even more powerful position.
Side Note: In looking into Sidney Harman, I came across an odd epistle to him by longtime Nation magazine editor and publisher Victor Navasky.
Navasky's essay is subtitled "Jews have always had a special connection to magazines, and it’s Jews—like Sidney Harman, new owner of Newsweek—who will reinvent them," displaying a supremacist mindset that's rarely stated quite so openly. It occurs to me that if this kind of statement were made on behalf of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, it would be roundly condemned.
Navasky is currently chair of the Columbia Journalism Review and a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
For more information on the AIPAC case see the investigative work by Grant Smith