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.

Join the Discussion

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

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Politics

Just In