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WTF? Harman: I Didn't Know Surveillance Program Broke The Law

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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-31-08 08:58 PM
Original message
WTF? Harman: I Didn't Know Surveillance Program Broke The Law
Harman: I Didn't Know Surveillance Program Broke The Law
By Paul Kiel - March 31, 2008, 6:03PM

Earlier this month, we published an excerpt from Eric Lichtblau's new book, Bush's Law, in which Lichtblau wrote that when he'd approached Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), then the ranking member of the House intelligence committee, about the administration's then-still-secret warrantless wiretapping program, she'd shushed him and told him that The New York Times did the right thing by not publishing the story in 2004.

In a post at TPMCafe today, Harman doesn't dispute Lichtblau's telling of the interaction, but does dispute that her position on the program underwent "a dramatic transformation," as Lichtblau writes, after Lichtblau and James Risen of the Times broke the story under the headline "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts" in December of 2005.

Before the story broke, she writes, she had no clue that "the Administration was violating FISA." She writes that the gang of eight had been briefed on "an NSA effort to track al Qaeda communications using unique access points inside the US telecommunications infrastructure," but that they'd been told nothing about warrantless wiretapping. Her "first inkling that the program was in not compliance with FISA but was conducted pursuant to claims of inherent executive power," she writes, came after the story broke, when she was free to consult her staff.

-snip

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/03/harma...


Jane Harman Comments on The Release of Bush's Law by Eric Lichtblau
?By Rep. Jane Harman - March 31, 2008, 6:01PM

Eric Lichtblau's new book due out this week, Bush's Law, contains a passage implying that I switched my view on the NSA surveillance program supporting it when it was a secret and opposing it after it was leaked.

Let me set the record straight.

When I became Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee in 2003, I was included for the first time in highly classified briefings on the operational details of an NSA effort to track al Qaeda communications using unique access points inside the US telecommunications infrastructure. The so-called Gang of Eight (selected on the basis of our committee or leadership positions) was told that if the terrorists found out about our capability, they would stop using those communications channels and valuable intelligence would dry up (which had happened before).

This program was so highly classified that I could discuss it with no one, not even my colleagues on the Intelligence Committee or the committees professional staff. (See p. 169 of the Lichtblau book.) And I was assured that it complied with the law and that the senior-most officials in the Justice Department conducted a full legal review every 45-60 days.

The premise of strong congressional intelligence oversight is that Members will guard sensitive information. All of the post-Nixon civil liberties reforms of the 1970s including creation of the intelligence oversight committees and the passage of FISA itself (which requires robust reporting to Congress) are designed to position Congress and the courts as an effective check against unfettered executive power. The Gang of Eight was not told nor did it occur to me that the Administration was violating FISA, despite Congress clear legislative intent when FISA was passed that it was the exclusive means for monitoring the communications of Americans connected to foreign intelligence.

-snip
http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/03/31/jane_ha...

HARMAN, Jane L., a Representative from California; born in New York, N.Y., June 28, 1945; graduated from University High School, Los Angeles, Calif., 1962; B.A., Smith College, Northampton, Mass., 1966, J.D., Harvard University School of Law, Cambridge, Mass., 1969; staff for United States Senator John V. Tunney of California, 1972-1973; adjunct professor, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C., 1974-1975; chief counsel and staff director, United States Senate Judiciary subcommittee on constitutional rights, 1975-1977; deputy secretary to the cabinet, The White House, 1977-1978; special counsel, Department of Defense, 1979; elected as a Democrat to the One Hundred Third and to the two succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1993-January 3, 1999); was not a candidate for reelection to One Hundred Sixth Congress in 1998, but was an unsuccessful candidate for nomination as governor of California; elected as a Democrat to the One Hundred Seventh and to the three succeeding Congresses (January 3, 2001-present).

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?inde...

AFTER REVIEWING HER BIO, ANYONE ELSE FIND IT SURPRISING THAT REP HARMAN WAS UNAWARE THAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WAS VIOLATING FISA LAW?
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-31-08 09:00 PM
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1. Seems like more than enough reason to fire her. nt
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C_U_L8R Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-31-08 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
2. Sometimes I wonder how intelligent our representatives are
"no one could imagine..." " who knew..." " it did not occur to me..."

"get a clue morans"

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Mojambo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-31-08 09:16 PM
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3. Well, it's not like she's a lawmaker or anything. n/t
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-31-08 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
4. It's a simple matter of WARRANTS
Did the administration have ANY FISA warrants when they intercepted any American's phone call?

If they did, no problem.

If they didn't - oops, they broke the law.

Is this a hard concept to grasp?
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-31-08 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. I think in 2003 she became the ranking member of the LACK OF Intelligence committee.
I think she probably wanted to just clamp the ear-plugs on and keep them on. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil - if it comes to facing the reality of her adored pResident. And she's presumably a Dem.

:eyes:
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-01-08 12:41 AM
Response to Original message
6. I can't believe that she simply took Bush's word that
the program was legal. Apparently, although trained as a lawyer, she did not ask questions about the program and how it worked. This is hard to believe. Lawyers, especially Harvard lawyers, are trained to ask tough questions. Very hard to believe.
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-01-08 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. It appears Pelosi made the right decision in bypassing her her to head the Intel Comm:
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has already endorsed Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) for majority leader, which places the Speaker-to-be in the middle of "a contentious intraparty fight between Murtha and her current deputy, Maryland's Steny H. Hoyer," the Washington Post reports.

"Pelosi has also all but decided she will not name the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) to chair that panel next year, a decision pregnant with personal animus," Jonathan Weisman writes for the Post.

NBC's Andrea Mitchell explained Pelosi's "personal animus" to Harmon on Matthews' show Sunday.

Pelosi believes Harman "hasn't been tough enough on the Bush administration, on intelligence issues, that she wasnt, that she was too moderate, too centrist, even though she is the most credible Democrat on all of these issues and has a national following and it is a really nasty fight among two powerful congresswomen," said Mitchell.

"Pelosi has nursed a well-publicized grudge against her fellow California Democrat because she believes Harman has not been a tough enough critic of President Bush on security matters, while using her ties to the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee to lobby for the chairmanship," Shailagh Murray and Juliet Eilperin reported for the Post last week.

-snip

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Why_Pelosi_so_tough_o...
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