"The official with access to the transcripts said someone seeking help for the employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, (AIPAC) a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group, was recorded asking Ms. Harman, a longtime supporter of its efforts, to intervene with the Justice Department. She responded, the official recounted, by saying she would have more influence with a White House official she did not identify.
In return, the caller promised her that a wealthy California donor — the media mogul Haim Saban — would threaten to withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who was expected to become House speaker after the 2006 election, if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post." NY Times
Well, god bless the NY Times. I guess they remember the era of Judy Miller and Michael Gordon after all.
"someone?" This NY Times story makes it clear that the NY Times believes that Haim Saban was not the caller with whom Representative Harman discussed a scheme to threaten the House Minority Leader with a withholding of campaign donations if Pelosi did not appoint Harman to the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). The Times states that Saban was merely the chosen instrument that the caller (someone) would launch at Pelosi to insure the desired appointment to this extremely sensitive US national security position.
Saban, himself is interesting as a person thought by (someone) to be available for such an errand. An Israeli/American, he is prominent in Hollywood film production circles and has lots of money. If I am not mistaken he is the benefactor of the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. The Saban Center employs, if memory serves me, both Martin Indyk and Kenneth Pollack as scholars.
The question remains – Who was "someone?" It sounds to me as thought there is a good chance that "someone" was an official at the Israeli embassy in Washington. Could he have been one of the officials at the embassy who left the United States when faced with FBI investigative pressure over the case of the AIPAC men and Larry Franklin? One of those Israelis is now back in government as Natanyahu's national security adviser. Alternatively, was "someone" connected with AIPAC?
If "someone" was a foreign diplomat, then the notion of a conversation like the one discussed is significant. pl