Harman/AIPAC Part 2

6a00d8341c630a53ef00e54f7499d88833-800wi "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

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23 Responses to Harman/AIPAC Part 2

  1. curious says:

    The timing of this whole thing is odd. I can’t figure out the “why now”? from Obama administration point of view.
    On the other hand Obama seems trying to do damage control at CIA.
    And Porter Goss is emerging in the picture. Not good. It starts to read like CIA push backs against revealing torture memo. (stop the torture investigation, or we’ll bring down the inner party.)
    so far CQ-NYTimes is the leak outlet.
    But things are moving at slow motion pace compared to Bush era “let’s duke it out in the open” move.

  2. Buzz Meeks says:

    I have refrained from posting comments for a while because I do not feel that I can meet your guidelines regarding civility, obscenity,etc discussing the past and current players on the national stage.
    What is needed is a prosecutor with balls to start the investigations. I know I sound like a broken record regarding RICO but it is the only way we will get anywhere if we want the fifth columninst leeches off of our collective jugular.
    Obomba’s cabinet appointments have been uninspired to say the least. Holder has to go. Thimmey is a whole different bag.I never thought I would see treason so casually accepted by elected and appointed officials in this country by the public.
    Buzz Meeks

  3. Cold War Zoomie says:

    If “someone” was a foreign diplomat,…
    …then that explains why NSA would have the wiretap.

  4. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Sure am glad to see a push back by the rank and file of the intelligence and law enforcement communities. Let’s just hope the counterpunch hits hard, so hard the general public takes notice before Bad Company Bibi bombs Iran. It’s gonna’ be close.
    In many ways, this push back may very well play as significant a historical role as the 07 NIE that prevented the Cheney-Wurmser option from materializing and thus stopped, at least for a while, a disastrous pre-emptive strike against Iran that runs counter to US national security interests.
    So all I can say is fight fiercely (Ivy league saying), even it means a Phenix City brawl (Waffle House saying) against those who called General Zinni a traitor (Pentagon mystery). In the civilian world and imo, really only two types of people — those who sell out and those who do not.

  5. J says:

    Harman is a willing party to hostile espionage against the U.S. by a foreign nation (Israel) and its external espionage outlets (Mossad/AIPAC).
    Harman and every member of congress who interact with Israel’s espionage outlets (AIPAC) need to register themselves under FARA and be forced to resign their congressional posts.

  6. charlottemom says:

    And if the someone was an American with connection to AIPAC (most obviously a politican), then what? Does it make this scandal worse or “better”
    If this is a possibility then I’m thinking someone with much leverage with Democratic donors, probably Jewish but not necessarily so. I’m guessing someone quite active in politics today as Harmon has been served up as warning to them of possible impending problems. I’m watching Emmanuel, Clinton, McAlliffe (is he the next “Abramoff” ?) for reactions to this story.
    So far, only Rahm has waded into this issue (by declaring that torture prosecutions are off the table). Why is Rahm stepping all over AG domain? Where is Holder?
    Very interesting indeed.

  7. curious says:

    CQPolitics’ Jeff Stein – broke Jane Harman-AIPAC

  8. Castellio says:

    Good to hear from Buzz. I think we don’t hear of RICO enough. Chances are nonexistent it would fly, but if the correct thing to do…
    The American people deserve better than the on-going looting of the treasury and defilement of democratic principles.
    Saban’s initial big money came through his control of the Power Rangers franchise … those animation characters you might remember, whose origins are in Japan. The original American series was on Fox TV, and the franchise was later sold to Disney.
    Saban has extensive relations with Murdoch’s News Corporation.
    From dubbing cartoons to controlling the Department of Justice. Imagine.

  9. jamzo says:

    i am guessing that the “leak” may have been intended to change the public discourse which has included a report of waterbarding that completely reframes the issue – up until now waterboarding was discussed as a one-time event – and now we know that 2 people were waterboarded over and over and over, seemingly endlessly
    this is a bad picture that some may want to get out of the public discourse
    the harmon transcript may have been just a thing that was able to be thrown out there to change the discussion

  10. Query says:

    Is Rahm- who fought for the IDF in 1990 Iraq War, and not for his purported country, USA- protecting the Israeli methods used on Palestinians, then utilized by IDF-trained US forces in War on Terror?
    Is the Israeli figure Jane Harman spoke to, Uzi Arad by chance?

  11. arbogast says:

    Juan Cole is a very knowledgeable and serious voice on this matter:
    Juan Cole on Harmon
    Anyone who saw Timothy Geithner’s “performance” before the Congressional Oversight Panel (Elizabeth Warren’s panel) knows who is running this country. He was evasive, dishonest, and unbelievably unbelievable.
    I visited the chateau at Blois today. It is a very impressive building, on a much grander scale but essentially the same symbolically as Bernie Madoff’s house on the dunes in Montauk. After 1789, they was a concentrated effort to turn it to dust.
    French workers have started holding executives hostage. I think Obama has about six months left before he’ll need something better than Timothy Geithner to keep the lid on.
    I ask myself, “What is wrong with that man Obama?”

  12. Patrick Lang says:

    OK. Now we know why people from the government have talked to CQ and the NY Times. The defense got a judge to set a high bar for prosecution.
    I would bet that the sources are from the FBI. pl

  13. curious says:

    from a discussion somewhere…
    This leak was possibly a RESPONSE to their loss of a major motion.
    They’re going to drop the case because the person who was in charge of the classification program at the time is going to testify that:
    1. Too much stuff gets classified.
    2. Stuff gets regularly leaked to lobbyists and journalists as a matter of policy.
    3. The info released wasn’t dangerous.
    4. Rosen and Weissman had no reason to believe what they were doing was illegal.

  14. Patrick Lang says:

    if charges against these men are dropped on this basis, the US government will lose much of its ability to hold anyone in the government or outside the government responsible for disclosure of classified (secret) information. pl

  15. J says:

    the AIPAC espionage conspirators rosen and weissman received info that when disclosed outside of proper channels would result in extremely grave damage to u.s. national security.
    those prosecutor dang well better not drop the charges against rosen and weissman. those two need to be stuck down a dark hole.
    re the http://www.fas.org/sgp/jud/aipac/rosen021709.pdf
    fas is being USED by parties to distract and feed disinfo regarding the crux of the AIPAC espionage case and its damage to u.s. national security by israel’s espionage arm the Mossad.

  16. J says:

    Colonel, Curious,
    The person in charge of the classification program that FAS cites is NOT knowledgeable on the particular classified info in question and its damage to U.S. national security if disclosed outside proper channels that was passed to the AIPAC spies Rosen and Weissman who were being run by Mossad handlers.
    Rosen and Weissman need to serve the rest of their putrid lives in a dark federal hole for their hostile espionage actions against our U.S.!

  17. anon says:

    What if that ‘someone’ is Naor Gilon?

  18. Hannah K. O'Luthon says:

    With regard to Col. Lang’s carefully worded response to “curious”, I would be quite happy to see the US government lose “much of its ability to hold anyone … responsible for the disclosure of classified (secret) information”.
    Points 1, 2, and 3 of the post by curious support this view. I leave “some” such “ability” to the government for what I take to be extremely rare cases of treason and espionage. Some may consider the present case to be in the “extremely rare” category
    of flagrant treason, but the courts do not seem to be giving sanction to such views. Moreover, one may hope that there will be some positive residue from this sordid affair. Creating a de facto major extension of the rights of Americans to know and disseminate the inner workings of their government by limiting power of that government to punish breaches of its classification (secrecy) policies is well worth the price of letting a few nefarious individuals escape punishment. To me, the only doubt that persists in this regard is the fear that this “major extension” may be limited to only privileged classes of “miscreants”. One might well ask Larry Franklin for his views on the matter.

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Years ago, during the renovation of a campus building, I came across a document from WWII era marked “secret”.
    The document was instructions for replacing the light bulb on the belly of an airplance.

  20. Sorry but I have forgotten but what exactly was released and distributed by the defendants in the AIPAC case? Is it all still classified?

  21. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Selling out or standing tall…you decide.
    Judge Ellis’ prior rulings in the Rosen/Weissman case do not necessarily justify the US Government filing a nol pros — a pleading that effectively ends the case. True, those who want to deep six the case can hang their hat on the rulings — such is how the game is played — but if the Government wanted to try this case, then the prosecution could very well turn these same rulings to its benefit. Success depends on how the trial would unfold.
    Much boils down to Franklin’s testimony and admittedly after reading the transcript of the sentencing hearing for Franklin, the first hint of how the trial judge viewed the defendants ’(Rosen and Weissmann) alleged “allegiances” began to emerge and, in retrospect, set the tempo for other rulings. The judge stated : “[t]hat doesn’t mean that I view this case the same as I would view this case back when I first went on the bench in the ‘Eighties’, seeing people disclose things, national defense information, to the Soviet Union as it then existed.” (page 18 of the transcript).
    That’s a puzzling comment by the honorable judge and a bit disappointing (particularly to someone such as myself, who God knows, has spent much of his life defending the federal judiciary). Why should the judge set two separate standards — one for the Soviet Union and one for “other nations”? What is the legal justification for making such a decision? Where does the statutory law give him grounds to make such a distinction? Under certain circumstances, the judge’s comment could have tempted a prosecutor to ask the judge for some clarification of his statement (well…gotta’ be careful) , as it suggests a favorable leaning towards defendants who allegedly are passing classified information to particular nations and not to others.
    Apparently, and with some satisfaction, the 4th Circuit picked up on the same tilt by the USDC judge. In its appellate decision where it affirmed the trial judge’s prior ruling in regard to the applicability of the CIPA, the 4th Circuit stated: [t]he defendants [Rosen/Weissman] contend that the Israeli Briefing Document is relevant because [REDACTED], and the Document is the best evidence of [REDACTED] about the events described in the Document…It is far from certain that the Document is relevant to show that the defendants [REDACTED]. The Document is a [REDACTED], a matter that could be proven by other means, including the [REDACTED]. See United States v. Smith, 780 F.2d 1102, 1108, 1110 (4th Cir. 1985).”
    All those “redactions” aside, the 4th Circuit is certainly indicating that it is not convinced of the relevance of the Israeli Briefing Document that would come in under the trial judge’s prior ruling. But here’s the real kicker, for anyone so inclined to try to understand the court‘s impression of the USDC judge‘s handling of the case to date. It is footnote 8 of the Circuit Court opinion, as it states: “although we do not possess jurisdiction to review the § 793 Order at this juncture, it is apparent that the district court worked tirelessly to balance the competing forces inherent in a prosecution involving classified information, and that its efforts to protect the fair trial rights of the defendants were not inappropriate. We are nevertheless concerned by the potential that the § 793 Order imposes an additional burden on the prosecution not mandated by the governing statute. Section 793 must be applied according to its provisions, as any other course could result in erroneous evidentiary rulings or jury instructions. ”
    These quotes, taken collectively with others, are a message in a bottle from the 4th Circuit to anyone who cares to listen. The appellate court has all but ruled that the trial judge has created additional burdens for the government –ones with which the 4th Circuit disagrees. So perhaps prosecutors would do themselves well if they crafted a trial strategy along the lines as suggested in the footnote although, admittedly, appellate avenues are severely restricted.
    With that in mind, the more that Franklin makes the case for the Government, then the greater the odds the prosecution could restrict, if not gut, the applicability of the judge’s prior rulings particularly after the judge denied a motion for directed verdict (one hopes)at the end of the Government’s case. If Franklin, through declarations against interest, clearly establishes that the defendants knew they were passing on info harmful to the US, then what is the relevance of the other testimony, particularly when weighed against the prejudicial harm such evidence poses to US national security interests?
    A ruling from the bench during the trial that restricts the applicability of a pre-trial order is a bit of a long shot, but, if the prosecutors play their cards right, either way the judge rules at that point of the trial, the case could become a win-win for the Government. In fact –and here is where a trial could become very “exciting” — if the trial judge keeps the door open and grants the admissibility of all kinds of evidence consistent with his earlier rulings, then the prosecution is in a position where it, unavoidably yet effectively, would place on trial AIPAC, during the defendants’ presentation of the case. By trial, I mean enough evidence is presented to establish clear and convincing evidence that AIPAC should fall under the parameters of FARA — Foreign Agents Registration Act.
    Yes, that’s right, and AIPAC has no representation during this trial as it is not indicted. So who has standing to object to hearsay evidence against AIPAC, particularly if the testimony helps the defendants case? Will the judge start acting on behalf of AIPAC to sudden restrict the evidence that he already has allowed via a prior ruling?
    As a result, the prosecution is in position where it can flip the judge’s prior rulings to “advantage USA” in the long term. The US Government, following the judge’s ruling, can prosecute the case in such a way that by the end of the defendants’ presentation, it has presented clear and convincing evidence that establishes that Rosen, Weissman, and AIPAC should fall under FARA. (I ain’t lyin!).
    Such a trial strategy would certainly place the trial judge in quandary. If, at the beginning of the defendants’ phase of case, the trial judge restricts (through granting a motion in limine) the admissibility of evidence, then odds increase of a conviction of the two defendants. If, on the other hand, he continues to keep the door open, then odds increase the case will establish that AIPAC falls under FARA, setting precedent for further action.
    And, to make the trial even more fun to try for the prosecution, during the Government’s rebuttal — and assuming the judge has left opened the door to allow the admission of all kinds of evidence — the prosecution can take the defendants’ presentation of the case and then flip it to its favor by establishing that a pattern existed during the time in question where the passing of information was against US national interests, as clearly established by the testimony of “experts”. The question of whether or not the passing of information is against US national security interests is a jury question, right? And how is such testimony not relevant, in light of the judge’s prior rulings, as now the Government has the burden to establish that the passing along of info was against US national interests?
    So trying this case is a potential win-win for the Government, meaning even if the Government loses, it trips upstairs. But such a trial rests upon the assumption the DOJ doesn’t punt — a decision which leads back to the beginning — selling out or standing tall, you decide.

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