APRIL 20, 2009
In what a veteran national security official calls the “deepest kind of corruption,” a Republican administration covered up a Democrat lawmaker’s crimes in exchange for her support of a controversial secret wiretapping program.
The Bush Administration dropped an investigation into a California congresswoman’s collaboration with foreign spies so that she would publicly defend its warrantless domestic surveillance operation as it was about to be exposed in a national newspaper. The scathing details of this bipartisan corruption scandal were revealed this week by a news publication that covers Congress.
The veteran Los Angeles congresswoman (Jane Harman) is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and is tight with Washington’s most powerful pro-Israel organization (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee— AIPAC). She was actually recorded on a National Security Agency wiretap offering to use her position as the intelligence panel’s ranking Democrat to help reduce espionage charges against two AIPAC officials who stole classified information.
Despite this damaging evidence, Bush’s attorney general (Alberto Gonzales) personally intervened and killed the Harman probe for “lack of evidence.” Outraged intelligence officials involved in the matter have long disputed that assessment and the congresswoman’s newly exposed recordings certainly lend credibility to their argument.
Breaking with her party, Harman kept her end of the deal with Bush by publicly supporting the domestic surveillance program that many of her colleagues condemned as illegal. She even issued an official statement saying that the wiretaps were essential to U.S. national security and that its disclosure damaged critical intelligence capabilities.
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