HackWatch: Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.)

Rep. Harman, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, has long been an aggressive defender of the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program, calling federal whistleblowers who revealed the program's abuses "despicable," and at one point even suggesting criminal prosecution of the New York Times for revealing how the program may have been in violation of U.S. law. 

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Harman "was overheard on telephone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency agreeing to seek lenient treatment from the Bush administration for two pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage." In return, "the caller promised her that a wealthy California donor...would threaten to withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi...if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post."

Suddenly, Harman isn't so fond of NSA's wiretapping program, or the idea of federal eavesdropping in general, even though the tap on her own phone was legal, and administered after federal officials actually bothered to secure a warrant. Yesterday on CNN, Harman unleashed a torrent of (self) righteous indignation:

I'm just very disappointed that my country -- I'm an American citizen just like you are -- could have permitted what I think is a gross abuse of power in recent years.  I'm one member of Congress who may be caught up in it, and I have a bully pulpit and I can fight back.  I'm thinking about others who have no bully pulpit, who may not be aware, as I was not, that someone is listening in on their conversations, and they're innocent Americans.

I don't really see any ameliorating factors, here. Harman gets the first perfect score—a 10 out of 10—on the somewhat arbitrary Hackery Index.

If you see an example of a pundit, politician, major blogger, or other Beltway creature who’s done a 180 on this or another issue, please send it here, with links, and “HackWatch” in the subject line. Prior installments of HackWatch here.

(Hat tip: Glenn Greenwald)

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  • ||

    "Even the Russian judge has awarded her a 10.0."

    "Clearly a flawless routine then, Bob. This one will be tough to top."

  • ||

    What is it with Israel spying on us so much? Shouldn't they be focusing more on spying on countries that want to blow them off the map instead of the one allied with them? Odd.

    As for the thread topic, the headline is wrong. It should've been, "Jane, You Ignorant Slut."

  • Joel||

    So where's the YouTube video of the perp walk? When's the trial? C'mon, Radley! Details!

    Oh...wait. I'm [a] member of Congress...

    *sigh* Never mind.

  • Warty||

    +1 for using the odious term "bully pulpit".

  • nobody||

    *Paging Xeones*

  • ||

    What's wrong with "bully pulpit?" I like the phrase, and it's about the only remaining use of the word "bully" for "good."

  • JP||

    Politicians are self-righteous, narcissistic, sociopathic scum.

  • TR||

    Bully!

  • ||

    I heard her on NPR. They kept asking her what happened in the conversation and if the transcripts were accurate. And she kept asking if there ever was a transcript and blaming the people who leaked it. The interviewer kept pressing her and she responded "we don't know if there ever was a phone call" she also couldent recall thing in a manner reminiscent of Alberto Gonzales. She essentially absolved herself of all responsibility related to being the person with the name on the transcripts. She notably didn't deny anything.

  • not the real jb||

    C'mon. Nothing on how the Bush DoJ dropped her case in exchange for continued support of warrantless wiretapping?

  • Paul||

    I heard this yesterday on NPR between Paul Krugman segments. It brought a smile to my face.

  • Paul||

    Or in other words, "Bitch been wiretapped!"

  • cuernimus||

    Someone needs to start a company that's sort of like an online flower company, but instead of flowers you pay someone to go take a shit on this person's front porch.

  • Orange Line Special||

    I just checked the map and hypocrits are a good three levels above libertarians. However, here's an entertainment example.

    Maybe next time Reason can get around to doing a "HowWouldThatWork" with actual policies, trying to figure out how grand plans could go wrong and then actually going out and engaging their enemies on video.

  • ||

    Someone need to tell Ms. Harman that if she has done nothing wrong, then she has nothing at all to worry about.

    And Steny Hoyer too :

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday he had "great concern" over news reports that Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) was wiretapped during a federal probe into Israeli agents, and he vowed to personally look into whether there should be an investigation into wiretapping of Members of Congress.

    "The stories that I've read give me great concern. I'm going to be in the process personally of finding out more about it and then, with the Speaker, determining what action, if any, needs to be taken," Hoyer said Wednesday during a meeting with reporters.



    Fucking tools.

    I've never been so happy to see chickens coming home to roost.

  • Gimme Back My Dog||

    No, you see, she is opposed to wiretapping innocent Americans. As long as they only wiretap guilty people, she has no problem.

    Not that it matters, but the link says CNN when it means MSNBC.

  • Homer||

    Mmmmmm.....

    Schadenfreude!

  • ||

    Before the story gets old and we stop posting in the comment thread, I'll go ahead and say it. Just in case.

    Yo, Fuck Jane Harman.

    If Xeones does show up soon, I'll respectfully retract my 'Yo' statement.

  • ||

    "Politicians are self-righteous, narcissistic, sociopathic scum."

    And those are their GOOD qualities!

  • Dello||

    Almost enough to make reason staffers glad they voted Democrat...

  • ||

    The one comment that really caught my eye from Harman:

    This abuse of power is outrageous and I call on your Department to release all transcripts and other investigative material involving me in an unredacted form. It is my intention to make this material available to the public.



    If she is calling for the DoJ to release all the material unredacted (I assume she means release it to the public) then why does she need to state that she intends to then make this stuff public?

    One analysis I have seen was :

    Let us remember that Harman is no novice to the intelligence laws or procedures. She knows full well what measures are in place protecting the release of such information, she is obviously aware of the arguments set forward by the government preventing the disclosure of such information in court (state secrets, anyone?) and is otherwise fully conversant in why the government will resist the public release of transcripts from a secret NSA wiretap relating to pending espionage cases.

    In this context, the declaration of her "intent" to make the materials seems almost like a dog whistle to the DOJ, flagging to it an escape hatch by which it may (perhaps justifiably, under current laws and regulations) deny her request
    ...

    But, as I said, based on how the government has handled such confidential materials in the past, I doubt that the DOJ will release the materials. This in turn raises several questions. Is Harman genuinely seeking to have the materials made public or is intentionally calling for the impossible to give the mere appearance of outraged innocence? If she is earnestly seeking the public release of such information, and if her request is denied, will she lead the charge to amend whatever rules are in place prohibiting the release of such information? And, at the very least, will this Blue Dog Democrat, who was such a key player in the horrible cave-ins of past intelligence debates, finally acknowledge that all Americans, not just members of Congress, deserve the right and ability to investigate alleged abuses of governmental power?

  • jj||

    "What's wrong with "bully pulpit?" I like the phrase, and it's about the only remaining use of the word "bully" for "good.""

    As is pulpit

  • ||

    "I took the liberty of getting us another round of scotch."

    "Bully!"

  • JP||

    They kept asking her what happened in the conversation and if the transcripts were accurate. And she kept asking if there ever was a transcript and blaming the people who leaked it.

    The victim was already dead when my client arrived on the scene. And my client killed him in self-defense.

  • jtuf||

    I disagee with Harman's past support for wire tapping and am disheartened to see that it took personal interest to reverse her stance. Even so, her reluctance to respond to accusations that she might have to defend against in court is just plain good sense. Common, how many of you believe that if someone takes his Miranda Rights then he must be guilty of something.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    I disagee with Harman's past support for wire tapping and am disheartened to see that it took personal interest to reverse her stance. Even so, her reluctance to respond to accusations that she might have to defend against in court is just plain good sense.



    Sure. She's entitled to hold her piece until the trial.

    But her bitching about surveillance conducted on her under the auspices of a (presumably) properly obtained warrant speaks volumes after her public and vehement defense of warrantless wiretapping.

    Innocent or guilty, she still deserves every ounce of the jeering and derision now being heaped on her head.

  • MNG||

    "Jane Harman (D-Calif.) was wiretapped during a federal probe into Israeli agents"

    Yeah, but the real shocker is that one of the Israeli agents was: UNDERZOG!

    Or Michael Young...

  • MNG||

    Harmon is a giant power-tool. Her hacky tears are so yummy!

  • MNG||

    Were'nt the two "Israeli agents" AIPAC flunkies?

    That non-existent Israel Lobby?

    You know, that one that funded Reason's Michael Moynihan's junket to the Holy Land. No wonder his views on issues in that area are so balanced...

  • ||

    Please please please let her actually be incriminated in espionage in the recordings...please please please.

  • Warty||

    It's only OK to use 'bully' for 'good' if you have a handlebar moustache. Ideally, you'd be an old-timey strongman, but I don't want to be nitpicky.

  • MNG||

    "It's only OK to use 'bully' for 'good' if you have a handlebar moustache. Ideally, you'd be an old-timey strongman, but I don't want to be nitpicky."

    That was actually hilarious. Well done.

    Oh, you still suck Warty :)

  • ||

    Oh, you still suck Warty :)

    Well Warty sucks better than you MNG, so mind your tongue.

    I've sported a handlebar 'stache and I still wouldn't say "bully" - except when drunkenly mimicking TR. I'm just about there now.

    As for Ms. Harmon, I say this

    "Jane you're playin a game you never can win girl
    You're stayin away just so I'll ask you where you've been baby
    Like a cat and a mouse (cat and a mouse)
    From door to door and house to house
    Don't you pretend you don't know what I'm talkin about"

  • engineer||

    "Harmon is a giant power-tool. Her hacky tears are so yummy!"

    NOOOOOOOOOO! I was supposed to make the SP reference here!

  • MJ||

    "I'm thinking about others who have no bully pulpit, who may not be aware, as I was not, that someone is listening in on their conversations,..."

    Rep. Harmon, not being aware that you are being wiretapped is kind of part of the point of being wiretapped.

  • Sean Healy||

    What MNG isn't saying (b/c he hasn't bothered his ass to find out) is that the two AIPAC guys merely conveyed a leak of sensitive information. You know, the way journalists do. That's why they were prosecuted under an obscure WWI law - that (to my knowledge) is never used - instead of under standard espionage laws which cover people with access to classified info and who shouldn't leak it. Why should it be the responsibility of AIPAC staffers to keep secrets on behalf of the US government? These charges will be dropped, b/c they are bullshit. But the damage is done: to retards like MNG, the Jooooooos run the government.

  • MNG||

    "I've sported a handlebar 'stache"

    And yet you dare comment on the range to which people suck? Zounds!

    Sean Healey
    AIPAC apologists are so charming when they take a break from shouting that the good folks at AIPAC are first and foremost loyal Americans long, that they secondly do not have the bullying influence on our government their critics say they have, long enough to shout that various traitors to America they like must be defended and that their bullying influence to that effect should not be criticized, lest it be provoked.

  • MNG||

    "NOOOOOOOOOO! I was supposed to make the SP reference here!"

    Well get to it then man, time waits for no man ;)

  • Abdul||

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought Harman was wiretapped with a warrant. In fact, I think the DOJ cleared it with Nancy Pelosi first in order to pre-empt any charges of this being a partisan witch-hunt. That's hardly an abuse of power.

  • Nancy Pelosi||

    Jane who? Never heard of her. As a mother and a grandmother, I'm concerned with the 500 million Americans who are out of work. And the Botox shortage. Thank you. Driver!

  • ||

    Credit where credit is due, Radley.

    It was Jeff Stein at Congresssional Quarterly who broke this story Monday, not the New York Times, as your blog post implies.

  • alan||

    You know, that one that funded Reason's Michael Moynihan's junket to the Holy Land. No wonder his views on issues in that area are so balanced...


    Come on, now, MNG, give MM a break. If AIPAC offered you an all liquor paid trip somewhere, you would not take it?

  • jtuf||

    MNG, my public middle school paid for a class trip to DC when I was a teenager. By your logic, I should be a staunch statist.

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