spies, national security, espionage, counterterrorism, u.s. foreign policy, intelligence operations, CIA, special forces, counterterrorism, terrorism

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jane Harman for CIA Director? Really?

Even in a town with memory holes as deep as dark space, the persistence of Jane Harman’s name near the top of lists for CIA director is a mystery.

Apparently, Harman’s role in an Israeli intelligence influence operation has been forgotten by Washington's Great Mentioners.

Not to dwell on it, but as I reported in 2009:

“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.
“Harman was recorded saying she would ‘waddle into’ the AIPAC case ‘if you think it’ll make a difference,’ according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript. In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.
“Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, ‘This conversation doesn’t exist.’

No hard evidence emerged that Harman did, in fact, lobby Bush administration officials on behalf of the AIPAC defendants, although The Washington Post reported that she called the White House on their behalf.

The New York Times and other media organizations corroborated my original reporting.

If that weren’t enough, California Democrat’s administrative record should be.  Harman has never run anything bigger than the Woodrow Wilson Institute, and during her eight terms in Congress, her office churned with turnovers.

Harman, 65,  is smart, driven, sophisticated on national security issues, and has a strong bipartisan following. She’s also brash and cold enough to dismiss the agency’s professionally trained liars with a flick of her wrist.

But all that doesn’t make her a good candidate to run the CIA. Congress is already Israeli-occupied territory.  The last thing Washington needs is to cede another settlement in Langley.