Few sights are as delicious as a tyrant swinging high overhead, hoist by her own petard. The one currently dangling aloft is Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA). She’s worth half a billion dollars, making her the wealthiest thief in the den of ‘em we call Congress, with a mansion that can host "over 120" guests for dinner.
Her riches haven’t kept her from leeching off taxpayers near Los Angeles for seven terms, though they may explain why she pegs herself as "the best Republican in the Democratic Party." So good a Republican, in fact, that she rabidly defended the Bush Administration’s domestic spying. Indeed, when the New York Times first revealed a few years ago that the regime was reading our emails and eavesdropping on our phone calls, Jane indignantly suggested that we need "some limits on press immunity [to prosecution]." Milady apparently forgot that she uses the phone, too — though instead of dialing the liquor store for another case of Dom Prignon or her broker for more stock, she peddles her influence to lobbyists. And the wiretapping she championed against us peons caught her red-handed. So, Jane, how’s the air up there?
When taped a few years ago, our gal was talking to someone at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC has long controlled a great many American politicians; its website quotes the New York Times’ assessment of it as “the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel.” In fact, AIPAC so emphasizes "Israel" at the expense of "American" that the Kennedy Administration, among others, insisted it register as an agent of a foreign government.
Jane’s conversation with this foreign agent concerned two of its officers whom the Feds accuse of espionage. Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman will finally stand trial this June; the FBI alleges that they forwarded classified information from a source at the Pentagon to the Israeli government.
Israel’s spying on its staunchest ally and biggest benefactor is nothing new. But it’s wasted effort: Our Rulers tie themselves and us in knots proving their passion for that socialist sand-dune. For starters, both Israel and the Feds consider us taxpayers a cash cow for Israelis. Since 1949, Our Rulers have milked us of at least $108 billion on Israel’s behalf, according to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs‘ painstaking and conservative analysis. And that’s to say nothing of the wars we fight against Israel’s enemies, nor the billions we spend policing her neighbors.
Were we curmudgeons, we might condemn Israel’s spying as the height of ingratitude. But what else should we expect? Israel’s learned that no matter how it abuses Our Rulers, they’ll continue robbing us so communists on kibbutzes can grow watermelons in the desert.
AIPAC wanted Jane to talk the Department of Justice (DOJ) into reducing the charges against Rosen and Weissman. In return, AIPAC would pressure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to re-appoint Jane as chair of the Intelligence Committee. Stunning, isn’t it, how casually AIPAC wields its immense power as it moves politicians into position like chess pieces. Nor is this an isolated incident: in 1992, AIPAC’s president bragged about "negotiating" with Bill Clinton regarding his appointments for Secretary of State, the Supreme Court, and the National Security Agency.
On the other hand, Israel and AIPAC’s meddling gives us a taste of the medicine American politicians dispense worldwide. Has any nation on earth escaped similar skullduggery and interference from Our Masters?
Jane warned AIPAC that persuading the DOJ could be dicey. Congressional Quarterly reports that she thought "influencing [then-Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales would be a difficult task, because he u2018just follows White House orders,’ but that she might be able to influence lesser officials, according to an official who read the transcript." Here’s confirmation, as if we needed it, that Gonzo was Bush’s creature.
Said creature may have seemed a slow and lumpy nincompoop, but he played the game. With the FBI aquiver over Jane’s corruption and the media publishing surprisingly accurate rumors that both she and AIPAC vehemently denied, Gonzo leaped in. He ordered the FBI to drop its investigation. Naturally, Jane claimed the G-men did so for “lack of evidence.” CQ tells us the real story: "according to three top former national security officials, Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House."
Did Gonzo blackmail Jane into cheerleading for Bush’s evisceration of the Fourth Amendment? Or did the two simply work out yet another deal: her support in return for his reducing the charges against AIPAC’s spooks? No wonder Leviathan lusts to wiretap — not for sake of that all-purpose and pathetic excuse, national security, but because ferreting out victims’ secrets brings politicians to heel as effectively as it does us serfs.
In the end, Jane didn’t get her chairmanship. We’ll see this summer whether she swayed DOJ’s "lesser officials" to lessen charges. And the rumors died — only to revive earlier this week when CQ reported that not only were they true, but transcripts of Jane’s recorded calls substantiate them.
That’s had Jane defending herself instead of wiretapping. She once again resorted to the politician’s perennially favorite ploy: lying. “These claims are an outrageous and recycled canard, and have no basis in fact. I never engaged in any such activity.” Alas, her own words refute this. So she copped the criminal’s usual plea: "I, frankly, think my name is clear … My conscience is certainly clear." Who knew she had one?
Next in Jane’s arsenal: logic — always sketchy territory for a congresscritter. Why in the heck would she play footsie with AIPAC? She doesn’t "need to persuade members of the American-Israeli Political Action Committee [sic] that I am a friend of theirs.” No, she certainly doesn’t. Nor American taxpayers, either. “I never had any idea that my government was wiretapping me at all,” she whined. Yeah, well, join the club.
Lo and behold, Jane’s had an epiphany. She now "think[s] the question is about … did our government abuse the rights of American citizens, including members of Congress, with legal or illegal wiretappings…” It seems that compromising yourself on tape focuses the mind about as wonderfully as hanging does. And catch Jane’s conflating "members of Congress" with "American citizens." What a wit!
Just as any other citizen would, Jane’s written to the US Attorney General regarding her plight. Unlike any other citizen’s plea, though, hers will not only find its way to Eric Holder’s desk, he’ll even respond to it — and promptly, no doubt. Jane wants him to know that she frets over "this abuse of power" from the DOJ’s agencies. How "outrageous" that they would wiretap legislators! Though tardy, Jane’s concern for the separation of powers might be commendable — were we still functioning under the Constitution. But she and her colleagues ditched that document long, long ago. So let no worry over its archaic concepts spoil your fun as you watch these titans and tyrants duke it out.
The fray already has Jane gabbling the truth for a change: “Many members of Congress talk to advocacy groups [like AIPAC]," she says. "My phone is ringing off the hook from worried members who think [being wiretapped and caught] could have happened to them." Indeed, CNN reports that Jane calls her corruption "entirely appropriate."
Absolutely. I’d go even further: it’s "entirely government."
Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.