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.
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is a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.