CQ Politics reported this weekend that a National Security Agency wiretap picked up Rep. Jane Harman of California, once the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, “telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC].” AIPAC is a Washington-based group that bills itself “American’s Pro-Israel Lobby.” In exchange for her help, according to CQ’s sources, the Israeli agent was prepared to lobby then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee” if the Dems won the 2006 elections.
The Center’s PowerTrips database adds some more context to the wiretap allegations that Harman was prepared to act on behalf of the AIPAC officials: While AIPAC itself does not donate to political candidates, the group’s affiliated American Israel Education Foundation paid for Harman to travel on a six-day “education mission” to Israel in January of 2001 at a cost of more than $5200, according to the database.
Harman, who denied the CQ allegations in a statement, calling them “an outrageous and recycled canard [with] no basis in fact,” has also been a frequent speaker at AIPAC events.
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