According to CQ's Jeff Stein, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) was the heretofore unnamed member of Congress who was caught talking to an Israeli agent on an NSA wiretap; what's more, some Justice Department officials appeared to conclude that Harman was making a substantive deal with the agent; she'd lobby the DoJ to drop charges against two AIPAC officials in exchange for the Israeli agent's promising to support her elevation to chair of the House intel committee under the Democratic regime. Harman said she "never engaged in any such activity," although the exact activity in question remains just that. Who was the Israeli agent? An embassy staffer? An Israeli intelligence official? As a member of the House intel committee, regular contacts between Harman and her Israeli counterparts ought to be expected, right? And given the sensitivity of the AIPAC case -- two officials were charged with passing along classified information they received from another U.S. government official to Israel -- it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to discuss the matter. The question becomes: did Harman, by allegedly promising to lobby DoJ in AIPAC's favor, attempt to pervert justice so that she could gain something substantive? Or was she agreeing to do what she was going to do anyway? Anyone familiar with the relationship between Harman and Nancy Pelosi would know that it'd be a stretch, at best, to think that Israeli lobbying could persuade Pelosi to drop her objections to Harman as intel chair. A sub-allegation: the Justice Department turned to Harman to help defend the program in the press and may have sat on the wiretap evidence gleaned from the NSA. In any event, the person or persons who provided Stein with the information have some sort of agenda -- maybe they're angry about a lack of prosecution in the case. Maybe they've got a vendetta against Israel. Maybe they've got a bone to pick with the NSA program itself. It's hard to say.
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