Who Listened To Harman? NSA Or FBI?

Was Rep. Jane Harman's conversation with an unnamed Israeli "agent" picked up on a National Security Agency wiretap? Or by a less-sexy Federal Bureau of Investigation counterespionage operation? Several sources with direct knowledge of the incident say that Harman's telephone conversation was recorded as part of the ongoing FBI investigation into whether AIPAC officials,  Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, leaked secrets to Israel.



One source said that the person on the other end of the line was also a U.S. citizen.

Officials would not say whether NSA wiretaps were authorized and in use as part of the investigation. 

But the sources with knowledge of the investigation say that the CIA and NSA were peripherally involved, and that CIA director Porter Goss played only a small role: he was asked to trigger a formal notification about Harman's wiretap cameo to senior congressional officials. FBI director Bob Mueller was, at the time, unable to sanction the notification, so officials turned to Goss. 

It is not clear whether Harman was ever the subject of a formal investigation, although Time Magazine reported in 2006 that officials from the department's public corruptions unit were looking into allegations that Harman promised to pressure the Justice Department to drop the charges in exchange for receiving help from AIPAC in her quest to chair the intelligence committee.  

Officials with direct knowledge of the case say that Harman is not currently the subject of any investigation.
Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Politics

Just In