Roll Call is reporting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed about the NSA wiretap’s that caught Rep. Jane Harman discussing a possible deal with supporters of two former AIPAC lobbyists charged with espionage:
The National Security Agency briefed Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “a few years ago” that they had wiretapped Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Pelosi revealed Wednesday.
But Pelosi said she was not told what federal eavesdroppers picked up on the call — and never alerted Harman to it.
“It was not my position to raise it with Jane Harman,” Pelosi told reporters at the Christian Science Monitor lunch. “In fact, I didn’t even know if what they were talking about was real. All they said was that she was wiretapped.”
It also appears that the Obama Administration is leaning toward dropping the espionage against the former lobbyists, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman:
The U.S. government may abandon espionage-law charges against two former lobbyists for a pro-Israel advocacy group, officials said yesterday, as a prominent House lawmaker denied new allegations that she offered to use her influence in their behalf.
Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) accused the government of an “abuse of power” in wiretapping her conversations, following news reports that she had been recorded in 2006 on FBI wiretaps that officials at the time said raised questions of possible illegal conduct.
Harman’s expression of outrage added a political dimension to the prosecution of the two former lobbyists, who were charged in 2005 under a World War I-era espionage law with conspiring to give national defense information to journalists and Israeli Embassy officials.
With the trial set to begin June 2, the Justice Department is reviewing whether to proceed as planned or withdraw the indictments after a series of adverse court rulings, according to law enforcement sources and lawyers close to the case.
Something about this leak stinks to high heaven but it’s far from the abuse of power that Rep. Harman wants to paint it as… First the NSA doesn’t appear to have been directly targeting Rep. Harman, they had warrants to wiretap the espionage suspects and recorded their conversations — including the conversations they had with Rep. Harman. Second they apparently notified the Speaker of the House of Rep. Harman’s involvement.
Ultimately this may all turn out to be much ado about nothing but for the moment it’s prime political theater in grand Washington style.