Tag Archives: AIPAC

CA-36: Harman’s Magic Act

By a twist of fate, Jane Harman actually appeared at the AIPAC convention over the weekend, bringing full circle the recent controversy over her comments picked up on a wiretap offering help to get AIPAC staffers out of a Justice Department probe in exchange for help getting the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee.  She vowed to begin a crusade against illegal wiretapping and overreach from the surveillance state.

Harman has described the wiretap as an abuse of government power. But sources have told The Washington Post that she was not being surveilled; the tapped phone belonged to the suspected Israeli agent, who happened to talk to her.

“I will not quit on this until I am absolutely sure this can never happen to anyone else,” Harman told the AIPAC audience, which warmly applauded her. She said the incident was having “a chilling effect” on members of Congress who “care intensely about the U.S.-Israeli security relationship . . . and have every right to talk to advocacy groups.”

Later, she called herself a “warrior on behalf of our Constitution and against abuse of power”.  Which, coming from Harman, is utterly absurd, a magic act where she transforms herself from a vigorous defender of executive prerogatives on wiretapping to a civil liberties zealot who wants to take down the surveillance state.

Jane Harman is a warrior on behalf of the Constitution and against abuse of power — that’s the same Jane Harman who tried to bully The New York Times out of writing about Bush’s illegal spying program, who succeeded in pressuring them not to publish their story until after Bush was re-elected, who repeatedly proclaimed the program to be “legal and necessary” once it was revealed, who called the whistle-blowers “despicable”, who went on Meet the Press and expressed receptiveness to a criminal investigation of The New York Times for publishing the story, who led the way in supporting the Fourth-Amendment-gutting and safeguard-destroying FISA Amendments Act of 2008, and who demanded that telecoms be retroactively immunized for breaking multiple laws by allowing government spying on their customers without warrants of any kind.

That is who is a self-proclaimed “warrior on behalf of our Constitution and against abuse of power.”

As Atrios notes, Jane Harman is primarily concerned about wiretapping of People Named Jane Harman.  And her point that this represented a potential abuse of government power, which by the way is

entirely plausible, was the entire point of people like me when we decried an illegal wiretapping program that would be ripe for abuse.  You know, the one Jane Harman defended.

Worse, in the “Fact Sheet” Harman is sending around to supporters in the district, she characterizes herself as, among other things, a longtime critic of warrantless wiretapping in the most fantastical way possible:

• Harman has never supported so-called “warrantless wiretaps” on Americans.  “We must use all lawful tools to detect and disrupt the plans of our enemies; signals intelligence and the work of the NSA are vital to that mission.  But in doing so, it is also vital that we protect the American people’s constitutional rights.”  (Press release of Dec. 21, 2005 — four days after the President declassified the existence of the Terrorist Surveillance Program).  

• Harman introduced the LISTEN Act (H.R. 5371) with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers to add resources to the Justice Department to ensure the issuance of individualized warrants under FISA.  (Press release of May 11, 2006).

• Harman, Senator Obama, and Speaker Pelosi supported amendments to FISA to expand protections to US citizens, and give limited court-reviewed immunity to telecommunications firms that prove they relied in good faith on what they believed was a valid order to produce records.  (Vote date of June 20, 2008).

She must think we’re all idiots.  That vote of June 20, 2008, the amendments to FISA to “expand protections to US citizens,” in addition to providing retroactive immunity for the telecoms for breaking the law, actually granted sweeping new powers to the federal government, including the ability to “conduct mass, untargeted surveillance of all communications coming into and out of the United States, without any individualized review, and without any finding of wrongdoing.”  The fact that this lack of oversight or judicial review could lead to abuses of surveillance power has been confirmed by reports that the NSA overstepped its legal authority to wiretap by intercepting the private emails and phone calls of Americans, problems which grew “out of changes enacted by Congress last July in the law that regulates the government’s wiretapping powers.”  The fact that Barack Obama supported that bill, considering that he was massively criticized by progressives for that FISA vote, doesn’t exactly help the cause.

Harman’s record on wiretapping is well-known and her efforts to wiggle out of it are frankly laughable.  And the rest of her record, as demonstrated by Swing State Project today, shows her to be among the top 20 Democrats voting less liberal than what their districts would support.  That, more than this hypocrisy on civil liberties, is why she’ll draw a primary challenge next year, should she choose to run again.

Goss Harmin’ Harman?

Since I’ve been offering one side of the Jane Harman story as the bits of intrigue trickle out in the media, I thought I’d explore the second option – that Bush-era officials at the CIA are using the Harman story as a warning shot against further investigation of their practices with torture and wiretapping, as well as pushing back against a thorn in the CIA’s side:

But the former intelligence official familiar with the matter noted that (ex-CIA Director Porter) Goss has given only one on-the-record interview on these CIA controversies since leaving the CIA director job. In the December 2007 interview, he said that Congressional leaders, including Representatives Pelosi and Goss himself, Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), and later Rep. Harman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), had been briefed on CIA waterboarding back in 2002 and 2003. “Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing,” Goss told the Washington Post. “And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement.”

Who was the lone lawmaker the article identified as objecting to the program?

Jane Harman.

“Harman, who replaced Pelosi as the [House intelligence] committee’s top Democrat in January 2003, disclosed Friday that she filed a classified letter to the CIA in February of that year as an official protest about the interrogation program,” the Post reported. “Harman said she had been prevented from publicly discussing the letter or the CIA’s program because of strict rules of secrecy. ‘When you serve on intelligence committee you sign a second oath — one of secrecy,’ she said. ‘I was briefed, but the information was closely held to just the Gang of Four. I was not free to disclose anything.'”

There is compelling evidence that Goss approved continuing the wiretap on the Israeli agent after seeing Harman’s involvement, and in fact tried to get a wiretap up on Harman herself.  The internecine battles between Goss and Harman go back a ways, so it’s not impossible.  We learned yesterday that the wiretap in question did not come from the NSA, and so CIA may have had some direct control over it, although the proper chain of command would have been the FBI.  Why was Goss so involved in this?

Of course, none of this changes the fact that Harman did, as has been confirmed by multiple sources, approach the Washington editor of the New York Times in 2004, before the Bush-Kerry election, to try and get them to spike the warrantless wiretapping story.  Nor does it change the fact that Harman, a full-throated supporter of wiretapping, now has become a civil liberties champion when denouncing the surveillance of her.  This must be why she’s hired Lanny Davis to do spin control (and surely he can do a better job than her disastrous efforts so far).

Finally, Jon Stewart skewers this story as only he could (on the flip).

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
Your Government Not at Work – Jane Harman Scandal
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis First 100 Days

CA-36: Jane Harman Will Have A Primary Challenge, Or She Will Leave Congress

Here’s the latest on the Jane Harman/AIPAC story that I haven’t previously discussed here.  We know that she discussed the case against two AIPAC lobbyists with a suspected Israeli double agent, possibly Haim Saban, and made at least an implicit arrangement to push for the dropping of the case against the lobbyists in exchange for help getting appointed the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.  It is unclear whether this actually represents a violation of the federal bribery statute (doing a favor in exchange for something of value), but according to the story by Jeff Stein at CQ Politics, the Justice Department felt they had Harman in a “completed crime.”  Nancy Pelosi was briefed that Harman had been picked up on a federal wiretap but was barred from disclosing it to her House colleague, and this could explain why Harman was not appointed to that Committee Chair.  The reason that the DoJ failed to charge Harman was because Alberto Gonzales intervened on her behalf, because, among other things, he knew she would be helpful in the forthcoming battle over, amazingly enough, the Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.

A person who is familiar with Mr. Gonzales’s account of the events said that the former attorney general had acknowledged having raised with Mr. Goss the idea that Ms. Harman was playing a helpful role in dealing with The Times.

But Mr. Gonzales’s principal motive in delaying a briefing for Congressional leaders, the person said, was to keep Ms. Harman from learning of the investigation before she could be interviewed by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A spokesman for Ms. Harman said the congresswoman had never been interviewed by the bureau.

There’s also the charge that then-NSA Director Michael Hayden provided talking points for a Harman discussion with NY Times Washington editor Philip Taubman BEFORE THE 2004 election, to get the paper to squash the warrantless wiretapping story.  And today, Stein advances the story by noting that a whistleblower informed then-Speaker Dennis Hastert about the Bush Administration suppression of the wiretapped Harman call (it’s a violation of standard procedure to withhold information involving national security and a member of Congress from either Democratic and Republican leaders in the House).

Needless to say, this is a tangled web of intrigue, and with more disclosures it’s likely to get worse.  This has led to speculation that Harman would either not run for another term, or face a primary challenge.  I can confirm that Marcy Winograd is likely to run if Harman does seek re-election.  Winograd, who took 38% of the vote in 2006, was not planning a run until the AIPAC/wiretap revelations.  But she is uncomfortable with Harman not being held to account, and saw no other option on the horizon.  She has a federal account and will take the pulse of the district before a formal announcement.

“I think she’s clearly in trouble and I think she knows it and is doing whatever she can to turn the tables on the situation,” Winograd said. “And now she is the spokesperson for the ACLU or the Bill of Rights Foundation.  It would be comical, if the stakes weren’t so high.” […]

One of Winograd’s first steps is going to be “taking the pulse” of the district on issues like military spending and single-payer health care, among other issues.  It’s entirely possible that Harman might bow out and try to annoint a successor.  Or that another establishment Dem might try to take advantage of her weakened position.  Which is why I wanted to get the word out as quickly as possible that there’s a really credible progressive alternative.  Winograd has already run a primary once in the district.  Activists there know who she is, and a lot of them have already worked for her in 2006.  This would not be a net-based candidacy, but it will certainly help to have it be net-supported.

In addition, the name of blogger John Amato has surfaced as a possible challenger.

(Howie) Klein said a group of bloggers met earlier this year to discuss challenging Harman in a primary, weeks before the recent revelations. He said many in the blogging community would like a fellow blogger, John Amato, to challenge Harman and that Amato is considering it.

Winograd said that she would step aside for the right candidate, and that she’s taking up the mantle at least for now.

“I don’t know who else will answer the call, if not me,” she said. “People with great name recognition and track records in public office are not going to take her on.”

I think Marcy feels the duty to run.  At the same time, she agreed that there needs to be one progressive alternative to Harman.  But my sense from people in the district is that Harman is unlikely to try another re-election campaign.  Even the above-mentioned NYT article refers to this.

While the two women do not display overt hostility, Ms. Harman seems to have never quite gotten over the slight. Colleagues say that since Ms. Pelosi, 69, thwarted her ambitions for a more prominent role on security issues, Ms. Harman, 63, has grown weary of Congress and has been eyeing a post in the Obama administration, perhaps as an ambassador.

This tracks with everything I’ve heard from locals.  She wanted the Intelligence Committee chair, and failing that she wanted an Administration job, and failing that she wants out.

There would be a whole host of elected officials who would jump in if Harman retired.  Ted Lieu, the Assemblyman in this district, could be enticed away from his Attorney General campaign.  City Councilwoman Janice Hahn would take a look.  And there would be others.  But if Harman stays in, none of these electeds would run, avoiding what would be an expensive primary.  Harman is the richest member of Congress and has no problem spending her own money to keep her seat.

Either way, there will be a contested race in CA-36 in June 2010.  And I do believe that a primary would feature only one major challenger.  The question is, who would that be?

CA-36: Harman Should Probably Just Stop With The Talking

Jane Harman is not doing herself any favors with her insistent maintaining of innocence in the AIPAC/wiretapping scandal.  First off, her instinct to lash out in anger, saying that she is about secret wiretaps and considering the taps an abuse of power, really comes off badly, considering that she lobbied to spike the NYT story revealing the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.  It’s darn near impossible to reconcile her past statements with this new image as a civil liberties extremist.

So if I understand this correctly — and I’m pretty sure I do — when the U.S. Government eavesdropped for years on American citizens with no warrants and in violation of the law, that was “both legal and necessary” as well as “essential to U.S. national security,” and it was the “despicable” whistle-blowers (such as Thomas Tamm) who disclosed that crime and the newspapers which reported it who should have been criminally investigated, but not the lawbreaking government officials.  But when the U.S. Government legally and with warrants eavesdrops on Jane Harman, that is an outrageous invasion of privacy and a violent assault on her rights as an American citizen, and full-scale investigations must be commenced immediately to get to the bottom of this abuse of power.  Behold Jane Harman’s overnight transformation from Very Serious Champion of the Lawless Surveillance State to shrill civil liberties extremist […]

Besides, if Jane Harman didn’t do anything wrong — as she claims — then what does she have to hide?  Only Terrorists and criminals would mind the Government listening in.  We all know that government officials have better things to do than worry about what innocent Americans are saying.  If she did nothing wrong — if all she was doing was talking to her nice constituents and AIPAC supporters about how she could be of service — then Bush officials obviously weren’t interested in what she had to say.

Beyond that, even if there were “illegal” acts committed here, surely we should be rushing to retroactively immunize those responsible, just as Harman eagerly advocated and engineered and then voted for when it came to the telecoms who broke our laws and enabled illegal spying on American citizens.  That was when she voted to gut FISA protections and massively expand the Government’s power to eavesdrop on Americans with no warrants as part of the Cheney/Rockefeller/Hoyer Surveillance State celebration known as the “FISA Amendments Act of 2008.”

This goes double for Steny Hoyer, who’s out there whining about wiretapping after pushing the FISA Amendments Act through the House.

Worse, Harman’s appearance on NPR went completely off the rails, as she admitted key elements of the conversations unwittingly (over):

Robert Siegel: First, do you remember the phone call in question? Who is the other party and is that a fair description of what was discussed?

Rep. Jane Harman: We don’t know if there was a phone call. These are three unnamed sources, former and present national security officials, who are allegedly selectively leaking information about a phone call or phone calls that may or may not have taken place.

RS: But are you saying that you really don’t have any recollection at all of a phone conversation like this?

JH: I’m saying that, No. 1, I don’t know that there was a phone conversation. If there was and it was intercepted, let’s read exactly what I said to whom. We don’t know who that was either.

RS: But, indeed, if what happened was, initially, your phone wasn’t tapped [and that] the person you were talking with was being tapped – and if that was an investigation of a foreign agent, is it realistic to think that anybody is going to release a completely unredacted transcript of that conversation?

JH: Well, let’s find out. I mean, the person I was talking to was an American citizen. I know something about the law and wiretaps. There are two ways you do it. One is you get a FISA warrant, which has to start with a foreign suspected terrorist, a non-American foreigner. If this was FISA, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that would have had to happen.

RS: But if you know that it was an American citizen –

JH: If it was Article III, FBI wiretap, that’s different. But I don’t know what this was. And I don’t know why this was done. And I don’t know who the sources are who are claiming that this happened are and I think –

RS: But you are saying that you know it was an American citizen. So that would suggest that you know that there was a –

JH: Well, I know that anyone I would have talked to about, you know, the AIPAC prosecution would have been an American citizen. I didn’t talk to some foreigner about it.

RS: You never spoke to an Israeli? You never spoke to an Israeli about this.

JH: Well, I speak to Israelis from time to time. I just came back from a second trip to Israel in this calendar year. I’ve been to the Middle East region as a member of Congress 22 times and was in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Israel and Turkey just a week ago.

I’m writing this blind, because my head just exploded.

Lucas O’Connor has a bit more.  Let’s be clear – the AIPAC spying case has always been dodgy, the principals may not even be tried, and the release of this story now is a bit curious.  But Harman’s hypocrisy on this issue is clear, her efforts at spin control insulting to anyone’s intelligence, and her efforts to spike the warrantless wiretapping story during the 2004 Bush/Kerry election unconscionable.

Incidentally, Nancy Pelosi came out today saying she had been briefed by the Justice Department about the Harman wiretap several years ago, but she “wasn’t at liberty at the time of the briefing to let Ms. Harman know.”  She also said that the disclosure had no bearing on Harman losing out on the top position at the House Intelligence Commitee.

CA-36: Wherein Jane Harman Tries To Throw The 2004 Election

This Jane Harman/AIPAC scandal continues to grow.  It jumped from the inside the Beltway rag CQ Politics to The New York Times.

One of the leading House Democrats on intelligence matters was overheard on telephone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency agreeing to seek lenient treatment from the Bush administration for two pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage, current and former government officials say.

The lawmaker, Representative Jane Harman of California, became the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee after the 2002 election and had ambitions to be its chairwoman when the party gained control of the House in 2006. One official who has seen transcripts of several wiretapped calls said she appeared to agree to intercede in exchange for help in persuading party leaders to give her the powerful post.

But that’s not what advances the story today.  Harman has denied contacting DoJ abut the AIPAC case, though she left out contacting the White House, and she did not deny that the phone call existed.  Remember that a key part of the story concerned the idea that Harman was saved from prosecution on this by Alberto Gonzales, who “needed Jane” to help front for the Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program.  In today’s article, the Times drops this bombshell:

Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement Monday that Ms. Harman called Philip Taubman, then the Washington bureau chief of The Times, in October or November of 2004. Mr. Keller said she spoke to Mr. Taubman – apparently at the request of Gen. Michael V. Hayden, then the N.S.A. director – and urged that The Times not publish the article.

“She did not speak to me,” Mr. Keller said, “and I don’t remember her being a significant factor in my decision.”

Shortly before the article was published more than a year later, in December 2005, Mr. Taubman met with a group of Congressional leaders familiar with the eavesdropping program, including Ms. Harman. They all argued that The Times should not publish.

Ultimately, it’s on Bill Keller whether or not to publish, so I don’t want to give Harman too much credit here.  But as Greg Sargent notes, this is a startling turn of events.  A Democratic Congresswoman acted on behalf of a Republican President’s NSA director to spike a story about illegal activity in the executive branch before a close Presidential election.  The ramifications are enormous.

This discussion between Harman and Taubman apparently happened before the wiretapped phone call between Harman and the Israeli agent, according to the TPM Muckraker timeline.  So Gonzales knew that Harman could be counted on to support the warrantless wiretapping program, because she had years of experience doing so at that point.

This gets uglier and uglier.  Small wonder that Harman was passed over for a position in the Obama Administration.

UPDATE: It is entirely possible that the CIA and Bush-era officials directed this set of leaks in a show of force.  That of course has nothing to do with Harman’s conversation with Taubman to try and get the NYT to spike the wiretapping story, which was confirmed by Bill Keller on the record.

UPDATE II: …Harman has released a letter calling on the Attorney General to release all transcripts and investigative material related to her collected by the Justice Department in 2005 and 2006.  This is a bit of misdirection, since by all accounts these were legal wiretaps of foreign agents.  But given the revelations about continued illegal wiretapping at the NSA, I understand Harman’s strategy.

CA-36: Reads Like A Really Bad Spy Movie

I’m sitting here in Jane Harman’s Congressional district right now.  I could probably go out on the street and informally poll a dozen people about AIPAC, and I’m pretty certain nobody would know what I’m talking about.  But inside the Beltway, AIPAC is sacrosanct and Israel practically the 51st state.  So this blockbuster story is a perfect depiction of, as Attaturk says, the way Washington works.  He simplifies it so I don’t have to:

1. Congressman Jane Harman (D – CA) told a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby.

2. This was known because of an NSA Wiretap.

3. The suspected Israeli agent then promised to lobby Nancy Pelosi to make Harman chair of the House Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections (she wasn’t).

4. There were some reports of this influence peddling in 2006, but it was dropped for a “lack of evidence” by Alberto R. Gonzales, who intervened to stop the investigation.

5. Gonzales intervened because he wanted Harman to defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times.

6. And she promptly went out and defended it.

This looks just terrible for Jane Harman.  There’s a trail of reporting on this going back to 2006, but the new material concerns Abu Gonzales stepping in to squash the investigation so Harman could parrot the Bush Administration line on warrantless wiretapping.  And there’s an even larger trail of reporting on Harman’s fronting for Bush.  The point is that the pieces all fit together.

Indeed, as I’ve noted many times, Jane Harman, in the wake of the NSA scandal, became probably the most crucial defender of the Bush warrantless eavesdropping program, using her status as “the ranking Democratic on the House intelligence committee” to repeatedly praise the NSA program as “essential to U.S. national security” and “both necessary and legal.”  She even went on Meet the Press to defend the program along with GOP Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Pete Hoekstra, and she even strongly suggested that the whistleblowers who exposed the lawbreaking and perhaps even the New York Times (but not Bush officials) should be criminally investigated, saying she “deplored the leak,” that “it is tragic that a lot of our capability is now across the pages of the newspapers,” and that the whistleblowers were “despicable.”  And Eric Lichtblau himself described how Harman, in 2004, attempted very aggressively to convince him not to write about the NSA program.

It’s a classic espionage story, right down to the part where Harman hangs up the phone with the Israeli agent after saying “This conversation doesn’t exist.”  For her part, Harman is denying the story, but Stein has several sources who read the transcripts from the NSA wiretaps (apparently gathered legally, but who the hell knows).  And he’s right, at the end, about the utter futility of this exercise, on all counts:

Ironically, however, nothing much was gained by it.

The Justice Department did not back away from charging Rosen and fellow AIPAC official Keith Weissman with espionage (for allegedly giving classified Pentagon documents to Israeli officials).

Gonzales was engulfed by the NSA warrantless wiretapping scandal. (and the US Attorneys probe -ed.)

And Jane Harman was relegated to chairing a House Homeland Security subcommittee.

Josh Marshall asks a lot of the key questions, including whether Harman was being blackmailed by the Bush Administration to be their front person on wiretapping, having been wiretapped herself.  And Ron Kampeas has a somewhat different take, suggesting that this is only coming out because the case against AIPAC officials Rosen and Weissman is faltering.  There’s one way to know for sure: a full-blown investigation, which Harman ought to welcome to clear her name.

Harman Speaks to Westside Progressives in Los Angeles

My post about Jane Harman’s remarks at a town hall meeting yesterday about the secret “torture memos” revealed this week by the New York Times is up at Think Progress, submitted through their Blog Fellows Program, which I can’t recommend enough.  Let me contextualize those remarks a bit more, and add some of the other interesting things Rep. Harman had to say.

I asked the question to Harman about the secret memos.  Earlier this week, the White House claimed that all relevant members of Congress had been fully briefed on the classified program sanctioning harsh interrogation techniques by the CIA.  At the time of the memos, Harman was a member of the “Gang Of Eight” routinely briefed on intelligence matters.  Harman was shaking her head as I asked the question if she was fully briefed, chuckling almost in disbelief.  Her answer:

We were not fully briefed. We were told about operational details but not these memos. Jay Rockefeller said the same thing, and I associate myself with his remarks. And we want to see these memos.


Harman is now the third member of the Gang of Eight, joining Jay Rockefeller and Nancy Pelosi, to reject the White House’s claim that they were fully briefed about these memos.  The Administration is lying, again, and it is now incumbent upon Congress to make every effort to obtain those memos and to enshrine into law a full repudiation of the arguments therein described.  The follow-up question I wanted to ask Rep. Harman, but could not, was how she would go about pressuring the White House to get those documents.  Obviously the vehicle for this is through the confirmation of Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey.  Considering that these memos came out of the Justice Department, there should simply be no movement on his confirmation without an exchange of the memos.

Let me add some additional information about the town hall.  I wrote in my Think Progress post this tidbit:

Harman later revealed that she was speaking with an unidentified Republican in her office, who told her that if President Bush were to attack Iran, then even he would vote for impeachment.

You have to understand the environment of this town hall meeting.  The audience included the hardcore progressives that made up the core of the Marcy Winograd primary challenge to Harman in 2006; in fact, Winograd was on a panel right before Harman’s arrival.  These people were SCREAMING for impeachment; the first two questions were about this issue.  And Harman could do nothing but reiterate that Nancy Pelosi, not her, had taken impeachment off the table.  She went on to describe her no votes against the Clinton impeachment and how MoveOn.org was born out of the impeachment debate (odd of her to approvingly cite MoveOn, considering she voted to condemn their remarks in the “General Betrayus” ad).  But when she brought up Iran, she said “this little anecdote should make you smile,” and mentioned the above exchange.

Here are some of the other notable tidbits in Harman’s meeting.

• She recommended Jack Goldsmith’s “The Terror Presidency” as the best source for understanding how the Bush Administration attempted to expand executive power through neutering the Office of Legal Counsel.  She had the book with her.

• She reiterated that “intelligence was politicized again” on the FISA bill, referring to the fake terror attack hyped by the White House designed to get wavering Democrats to sanction warrantless surveillance.  It was a cold-blooded tactic, and it should be heavily publicized.  I thanked Rep. Harman for speaking out on this, and I hope that she’ll continue as well as encourage other members to corroborate her allegations.  Harman said she is working to change the new FISA bill, which will “probably be introduced this week.”  The goals are that any surveillance must be done through the FISA court, with a warrant, and with minimization protocols if a US national is involved.

• Harman spoke about her legislation to close Guantanamo, restore habeas corpus, and end the use of national security letters outside their initial purpose.  She spoke glowingly about the vote this week to put Blackwater contractors under the auspices of US law, and thanked both Rep. Waxman and Rick Jacobs, who produced Iraq for Sale, with their efforts to get the word out about Blackwater’s numerous abuses and how they fell into the “legal black hole” regarding their activities.

• She recommended the Seymour Hersh article about developments with respect to Iran, and said that she has invited him to speak to the Congress.  Harman was adamant in saying that “targeted sanctions are working” with Iran, and that the government should “stop the saber rattling” that could lead us to another catastrophic war.

• She trumpeted her contribution to the House energy bill, a measure to retire the incandescent light bulb by 2012.

• On trade, she made a disappointing statement.  Despite voting against NAFTA and CAFTA and claiming that she was proven right on those votes, she said that some trade deals are admissable with proper labor and environmental standards as well as trade adjustment assistance, and referring to the current Peruvian Free Trade Agreement that will come up for vote in a couple weeks, she said that “It was approved by Charlie Rangel.”  Uh-oh.  We know that this bill, crafted in the dead of night to appease corporate interests, does not go nearly far enough to ensure labor and environmental standards, and would be nothing more than NAFTA-light.

• Someone asked Rep. Harman about the Walt-Mearshimer book “The Israel Lobby” and AIPAC’s support for endless war, including war with Iran.  Harman, who has been linked in the past to lobbies like AIPAC, said “I’m not a member of AIPAC… I support a two-state solution where Palestine can thrive economically with borders that are defensible to Israel.”  She pretty much dodged the question.

• On the still-unresolved EPA waiver that would allow California to make their own rules on tailpipe emissions that contribute to global warming, Harman said that she signed on to a letter protesting the slow-rolling from the EPA and the Department of Transportation, and she added that Gov. Schwarzenegger should work harder to get DoT to “back off” (they’ve been accused of lobbying lawmakers to pressure the EPA to block the California law).

• Finally, Harman asked for education activists to call her office and tell her about the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind.  While she said that Rep. Miller has claimed to her it has been improved, she said “I am prepared to oppose it” if the changes are not satisfactory.