April 23, 2009, - 1:55 pm
A Tale of Two NSA WireTaps of Congressmen: NSA Goes After Israel’s (& U.S.) Allies in Congress, But not Islamic Terrorism’s
By Debbie Schlussel
Much has been made by anti-Semites, Israel haters, and, sadly, some conservatives, about the story that broke this week, alleging that Congresswoman Jane Harman was overheard in an NSA wiretap promising a quid pro quo involving helping two pro-Israel lobbyists under indictment.
But it’s interesting how they quickly took the bait of the Harman story without questioning why it’s coming out now at the time the trumped up charges against the two men are about to be dropped after being exposed as baseless and tenuous for two years.
I also find it incredibly interesting, since as I reported to you last week, the NSA planned to wiretap a Congressman who had contacts with an Islamic terrorists in the Mid-East. None of the conservatives concerned about Harman–Michelle Malkin, the squishy and confused Ed Morrissey (friend of Pan-Islamist Grover Norquist), and others–cared (or wrote) a lick about that story.
And they didn’t seem to care about the double standard. While the NSA wanted to wiretap the Congressman who had contacts with a terrorist while in the Middle East, they nixed it because they thought it wouldn’t go over to wiretap a U.S. Congressman. How very interesting, then, that they had no such reservations when the Congressman was talking to suspected agents of Israel (rumored to be producer and billionaire Haim Saban–who is actually very left-wing on Israel, so hard to see how he’s an “Israeli agent”), our ally, instead of an Islamic terrorist bent on our destruction.
[I]n one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, an intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The agency believed that the congressman, whose identity could not be determined, was in contact – as part of a Congressional delegation to the Middle East in 2005 or 2006 – with an extremist who had possible terrorist ties and was already under surveillance, the official said. The agency then sought to eavesdrop on the congressman’s conversations, the official said.
The official said the plan was ultimately blocked because of concerns from some intelligence officials about using the N.S.A., without court oversight, to spy on a member of Congress.
Yes, the NSA had court approval to wiretap Harman . . . because the NSA sought it. Why didn’t the NSA seek court approval on the pan-Islamist Member of Congress? Why the double standard?
And the targets of the Harman transcript release are interesting, too. The target isn’t just Harman. Keith Weissman and Steve Rosen–the two men under indictment, former employees of pro-Israel lobby AIPAC–were entrapped at the direction of David W. Szady, head of counterintelligence for the FBI from 2001 to 2006. Szady, well known as an Islamo-sympathizing, anti-Semitic FBI agent, was intent on exposing Israel in a negative light. He dreamed up the whole scheme, using Weissman and Rosen, to show “balance” to his Islamic world buddies–to show that America was not just going after them (as if America has gone after much of them at all). The FBI honcho also had a vendetta to settle because he was upset that Israel was cooperating with the NYPD in counterterrorism investigations that led to NYPD arrests of terrorist in New York–arrests that showed up the incompetent FBI and its floundering counterterrorism efforts.
But you won’t read anything about that in the writings of the conservative bloggers and others who gush over this story as a “gotcha Israel spies” item.
In fact, the trumped up “espionage” charges against Weissman and Rosen began to fall apart from almost the moment they started. The men showed Israeli contacts documents they and a pro-Israel counter-jihadist employee of the Pentagon were given about Iranian nuclear capabilities. The men were never told that they could not show them to third parties, and frankly, the documents contained information the U.S. government was required to show Israel, under mutual agreements between the two countries. The Pentagon employee, Lawrence Franklin, was also entrapped because he was one of the few in the Pentagon who actually got it on jihad and the Iranian threat, one of the few who was known to be pro-Israel. This was a “kill three birds with one stone” operation. A brilliant man with several graduate degrees and expertise on the Middle East, Franklin has been reduced to serving as a car parking valet at night.
And though the alleged transcript–which reports claim shows Harman promising to ask the Justice department for leniency for Rosen and Weissman–has yet to surface, reporters and bloggers are slobbering over the allegations, repeating them as fact.
In fact, Rosen and Weissman didn’t need Harman’s calls for “leniency.” They never committed espionage and even the federal judge on the case sees it as a frame-up job. The judge has asked the Justice Department why the case should continue, and there is every indication the Department will soon drop this witch-hunt. The release of this transcript from two years ago was done deliberately to hurt Rosen and Weissman and their chance at a chance at real justice after two years of persecution. There is no evidence that Harman ever followed through on helping their case or ever contacted the Justice Department on their behalf. But the release of the transcript was designed to put them (and Israel) forever under suspicion that the charges in their case were not dropped because they are baseless but because of bribery of a U.S. Congresswoman.
That’s not to mention the fact that Jane Harman was far more hawkish than most Democrats, a reason Nancy Pelosi didn’t pick her for Intelligence Committee Chairman. Harman supported the NSA wiretaps. She was hawkish against Islamofascism. And she strongly supported Israel. But why should conservative bloggers who claim to support these things care, when they can easily savage this Democrat and Israel a spying, bribing enemy in one fell swoop?
Is it too much to ask for a little critical thinking in this matter? Apparently it is. Because those who deign themselves to be reasonable, critical thinkers and spokespeople for the right did absolutely no critical thinking–in fact, no thought at all–as they jumped on the Harman allegations and trumpeted them around.
AHA! Gotcha, Israel. Gotcha, Democrat Jane Harman. No biggie that Harman was one of the biggest national security hawks on the Democrat side of the aisle. Some–too many–on the right refuse to look at even the boldest nuance as they wish to paint the broad brush against every single Democrat, no matter how trumped up and baiting the story is.
Read Wall Street Journal writer Dorothy Rabinowitz’s “First They Came for the Jews: A Prosecution Under the Espionage Act Threatens the First Amendment.”