Naor Gilon (credit: Maarivintl.com)
I’m still pretty surprised that no one aside from Justin Raimondo, I, and Daily Kos diarist Mark Levey, who I’m about to quote, have pinpointed the identity of the Israeli agent who Jane Harman spoke with while she was wiretapped by the NSA. All of us say it’s possibly Naor Gilon, Israeli embassy staffer.
Raimondo notes that the reason the feds caught Rosen, Weissman and Franklin in flagrante was that they’d been surveilling Gilon, who was suspected of running an east coast spying ring on Israel’s behalf. Several months after the arrest of the Aipac Two, Gilon left this country rather hastily (though Israel claims his normal tour of rotation was up).
Raimondo links, in his story about Harman, to this rather remarkable Daily Kos post:
Several reports identify the foreign intelligence figure Harman talked with as Naor Gilon, former Mossad Chief of Station in Washington.
…Naor Gilon was the Mossad Chief of Station in DC implicated in the Indictment of Col. Larry Franklin, the DIA Iran analyst at Doug Feith’s OSP who shared classified materials with AIPAC’s Rosen and Weissman. He was also pal with New York Times reporter Judy Miller, who is believed to be referenced in the same indictment.
…Galon fled the country shortly after the FBI espionage investigation into Frankin and AIPAC was leaked in May, 2005…That conversation [with Harman] reportedly occurred five months after the lid blew off the Franklin case. Either Gilon (assuming it was Gilon) had snuck back into the country, or else he was abroad when the call occurred.
Mark, unfortunately doesn’t link to those other reports identifying Gilon, so I’m not sure to whom he’s referring. I also don’t know how he’s identified Gilon as Mossad station chief. But if he WAS Harman’s interlocutor and this hunch is confirmed, then Harman’s career is finished. Not to mention that regardless of the result of the Rosen-Weissman trial, Aipac will become (if it isn’t already) inextricably connected in the minds of many Americans with Israeli espionage.
Robert Siegel interviewed Harman on NPR about the Israeli agent and the most she would offer is a vague denial that the individual was “a foreigner.” Frankly, I’m surprised Siegel didn’t ask her point blank with whom she spoke. You’d think with her braying that she wants Justice to make public the full transcript of her wiretapped conversations (yes, there were more than one), that she’d be prepared to reveal the identity of her partner in crime.
Of course, Harman’s plea is a cynical one on her part. It makes it appear as if she has nothing to hide. But in reality she knows that the government will never reveal any information it gathers as part of such a high level security operation. She risks nothing by demanding this. The irony would be if the government actually did reveal the transcript as she wishes. I’d be willing to bet that it would end her career in a heartbeat.
My, but isn’t it ironic that the Democrat’s leading booster of the Patriot Act and NSA spying has become its victim. Not just that, her current indignant cries that the intelligence agencies have no right to snoop on legislators rings hypocritically hollow. Who did she think the NSA was spying on? Osama bin Laden? Progressives warned that this type of situation was unavoidable, in which there would be unintended collateral damage of unsuspecting American citizens swept up in such wiretaps. It was people like Harman who dismissed these objections with a wave of the hand.
One other aspect of her protestations of innocence strikes me as suspect. She makes a point of proclaiming indignantly that she has a right to speak with Aipac about matters like the spy trial since she is a close ally of the lobbying group. But you’ll notice she never comes right out and says that the “Israeli agent” WAS affiliated with Aipac. She wants you to believe that’s what she’s saying. It’s reminiscent of three card monty, in which the card dealer ostentatiously guides your attention to the very place the card is not.
Col. Pat Lang also has some interesting speculation about the possible identity of the Israeli agent:
Who was “someone [a N.Y. Times report refers to the agent as “someone”]?” It sounds to me as thought there is a good chance that “someone” was an official at the Israeli embassy in Washington. Could he have been one of the officials at the embassy who left the United States when faced with FBI investigative pressure over the case of the AIPAC men and Larry Franklin? One of those Israelis is now back in government as Natanyahu’s national security adviser. Alternatively, was “someone” connected with AIPAC?
If “someone” was a foreign diplomat, then the notion of a conversation like the one discussed is significant.
You’re off-base on a couple points. First, her career might very well survive a transcript being released, if she were not indicted. The notion of Israel spying on the U.S. just doesn’t resonate for reasons perhaps Mearshimer or Walt could help explain. But whatever outcry did arise (I expect it would be minor), Aipac, Peretz, et al would easily sweep up with their stiff-bristled broom.
Second, you do double disservice by crediting Rep. Harman with being a victim of the warrantless surveillance she enabled. She has been caught red-handed trading influence on a pre-FISA Amendments court-sanctioned wiretap of a suspected foreign agent. This is a four-square proper use of surveillance by the government. You give her a valuable, undeserved talking point, and collapse the key distinction that Harman’s (and Hayden’s and Cheney’s) opponents sought to preserve in their resistance of the unchecked surveillance state. It’s a perverse error that you need to correct.
Richard Silverstein says
You didn’t read what I wrote carefully. I noted the CLAIM that hers was a warranted wiretap. But given the NSA’s history & credibility do we want to credit them with being truthful & accurate in this iinstance w/o knowing more about the circumstances? I only noted it WOULD BE ironic if she’d been swept up in one of the warrantless wiretaps. Not that she HAD BEEN.
Quite amazing considering the security agencies track record that you credit them with being completely transparent & honest in the info they’ve disseminated about their involvement in the wiretap. What makes this wiretap different from all other wiretaps (in which the NSA has lied about what it did & to whom)?
Give it a rest.
If I missed an “if,” fair enough. The reports are that there was a warrant; I believe that would be a matter of public record, and I don’t believe those reports were based purely on the word of the surveilling agencies. That could be wrong I suppose, but the NYT reports full-stop that the wiretaps were not warrantless. You, on the other hand, are purely speculating in a way that makes Harman look better than the reports indicate she should.
Also, there is no “if” in this sentence:
Given that you acknowledge her lawbreaking, how could she be considered a victim unless the surveillance was unlawful. How is someone who is overheard breaking the law on a legal wiretap in any way a victim? Yet you say she is a victim.
When the government obtains a warrant for a wiretap, that tap is for a given line for a given amount of time targeted against a given person. But any call that is of interest will usually involve at least two parties. The government doesn’t know in advance whom the person will talk to in the requested time period. So some untargeted people get surveilled. Should such people commit crimes on such legally surveilled calls, they are not immune to prosecution for them, and the evidence from those legal wiretaps (not targeting them) is not automatically inadmissible. That’s how it’s worked since the technology has existed.
Jane Harman is not a victim here unless the wiretap was warrantless, for which belief you have nothing to cite, and for the converse of which there is considerable reporting.
Richard Silverstein says
You appear to have missed this from my first post about Harman:
And in the passage you quote Harman clearly IS a victim of NSA spying, though not necessarily of the Patriot Act IF the spooks spilling the beans to the media about this are telling the truth.
Lord preserve us from those who take every word ever written at face value and forget that there is such a thing as irony in the world. Even if you don’t understand irony, you might try to understand that others do use it for effect, even if it’s missed on you. “Victim” wasn’t meant in any way as sympathetic. That’s what irony does.
Why would you presume if you knew anything about me, my views, or this blog that I would be sympathetic to Harman. I’ve written posts over several years time that were harshly critical of her. I covered her initial blackmailing of Pelosi back in 2006 & did so in highly unflattering terms. You might consider that before you misread anyone else in future.
You believe that there is a ‘public record’ of a FISA warrant for a top secret eavesdropping operation? Are you kidding?
Mike Licht says
Wiretap irony: Rep. Harman’s husband makes the best audio recording equipment in the world.
Hal Davis says
Does the NSA use Harman equipment?
She’s not getting indicted. All this is very old stuff.
Is there any evidence Harman did anything to help Rosen and Weissman’s case? Did she call the Prosecutors or their bosses to influence the case? Not that I’ve seen. Her statement “this conversation never took place” can easily mean “forget what I said”.
I wouldn’t trust Justin Raimondo, who stated about the Aipac case: “Larry Franklin is an Alger Hiss for our times. Law enforcement clearly believe him to be a key witness to crimes that could lead them to a spy nest in the top echelons of the U.S. government – one that surpasses anything the KGB ever dreamed of.”
Oh really. What law enforcement sources did he speak with? What it lead to was a very weak case against Rosen and Weissman under a 1917 law that’s never been used and a case that will either be dropped or lead to a full acquittal.
Richard Silverstein says
You don’t understand the law. She violated a number of statutes. In order to break the law, she doesn’t have to have had actually contacted anyone on the Aipac spies behalf; she only has to SAY that she will do so. That agreement is what constitutes the “completed act” referred to by Justice Dept. officials who wanted to indict her. Besides, she colluded with an agent of a foreign gov’t. In addition, she perverted the course of House business by suborning a citizen to threaten the Speaker with punishment if she did not do what Harman wanted. This is much more than just hardball politics.
You’re channeling Ron Kampeas & stealing his lines. I deliberately didn’t link to his JTA story because I think it’s entirely bogus and far fetched. We ALL (except you) know precisely what she meant. She was looking for plausible deniability. She knew what she’d just agreed to do was VERY wrong. Only you don’t find it so which tells us a great deal about you.
Hey, Aipac has its very own hasbara squad in the form of Julian. Nice try, buddy. But you don’t cut it. But you’ve been fed some good lines by someone.
Now I see it your way. Jane Harman on a case that’s 4 years old is going to be indicted and Rosen and Weissman based on a 1917 law that’s never been used and holds the prosecution to almost unprovable standards will be convicted.
There’s no need to be calling names. You’re pretty sensitive when someone labels you in what you perceive as pejorative terms.
Joachim Martillo says
It may seem minor in comparison with the apparent seditious conspiracy of the Harman affair, but I have not been particularly happy with the participation of the NE Israeli Consulate in an apparent conspiracy against the rights of Muslims:
Subjugating American Muslims to Israel
Followup: Subjugating American Muslims to Israel