Jane Harman is auf tsouris (“in trouble big time”). So it’s only natural that she hire a big-time spinmeister who can negotiate the thicket of legal and political problems she faces. What better person to choose than the guy who helped get Bill Clinton off: Lanny Davis. The only problem with Davis is that he’s up to his eyeballs in the very web of pro-Israel intrigue that includes Harman. You’d think that Harman might want to avoid going to the very well which got her into trouble to begin with. Clearly, Harman is playing hardball and unwilling to concede that she did anything wrong in cozying up to Israeli agents and using them to advance her own political power.
As I reported here, Davis signed on with IDF generals to become a media apologist at The Israel Project for the Gaza war. TPM reports that he’s long been affiliated with Aipac (you’ll for sure see him yucking it up with Harman and the group’s fatcat donors at next month’s annual policy conference, at which the congresswoman is scheduled as a headline speaker). He’s also a regular on Fox News.
Davis’ strategy will be to blame Porter Goss for Harman’s troubles, claiming that he’s had it in for Harman since she leaked a House intelligence committee report that angered the Republican majority. It would be a deft stroke on Davis’ part, since it would turn a scandal that highlights Jane Harman as a national security risk under the sway of a foreign government; and turn it into a petty partisan political feud. This would add enough confusion and complication to allow Harman to break a tackle and head for daylight.
In the interest of keeping the matter focused where I think it should be, I quote this incisive passage from Philip Giraldi:
The real Harman story is about Israel intelligence operations directed against the United States which have brought about the systematic corruption of the America’s political system by a foreign power aided and abetted by friends strategically placed throughout the government and the media. Just imagine if Harman had obtained either senior intelligence position that she sought. She would have had access to every sort of top secret intelligence possessed by the US government and would have been in a good position to influence policy. From the Israeli perspective, she would have been their spy, a highly placed agent of influence who could also provide every bit of sensitive intelligence in the CIA cupboard. The apparent fact that she agreed to help an agent of a foreign government and was to be rewarded with advancement makes her something like Kim Philby, the British spy of the 1960s who progressed through his own system while secretly working for another country, Russia. Philby was a whole lot smarter, but the essential betrayal was the same. Those who argue that Israel is no Cold War Russia miss the point, as the national interests of the U.S. and Israel are far from identical, particularly after a series of right-wing governments in Tel Aviv has culminated in the current monstrosity of Netanyahu-Lieberman.
Once you are on the hook in an intelligence relationship, there is no getting off it. Had Harman done a favor for the Israelis and been rewarded in return, it would have been a skeleton in her closet forever. The Israelis might also have taped the incriminating conversations, presumably unaware that the FBI was also on the line. The Israelis would surely remind her of her crime whenever they need a favor, and she would be forced to pay the piper whenever called upon. What could have been better for Israel than owning the director of central intelligence or the head of the House Intelligence Committee? What could have been worse for the United States?
Even if you label this overly alarmist–and it is because it posits Harman as a helpless puppet of Israel’s interests and I’d like to think she would be able to navigate the shoals of power without totally prostituting herself–what Harman did is terribly troubling. And no amount of diversion into the realm of partisan vendettas should distract us from this bedrock original fact. For you can argue what you will about Porter Goss’ motives, but his actions came AFTER Harman’s betrayal in exchange for a mess of political porridge.
Mr. Silverstein – this analysis is not alarmist, this is how intelligence agencies operate throughout this modern world.
There is no navigating this, IF she wanted to keep her job.
This is spot on.
Zhu Bajie says
Philby was an idealist. I doubt Harman is an idealist.
Graham Greene knew Philby rather well, based one of his novels on him, _The Human Factor_. I recommend it.
It should be noted that this misdirection hinged on the early acceptance of the notion that Harman was a victim of illegitimate surveillance, when there isn’t evidence that is the case. Warrantless wiretapping shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but in fact views on it do align closely to political viewpoint and even party affiliation. The warrantless wiretapping program is known to most people as a Bush program, even though it should be known as a Bush-Harman-Rockefeller program. Getting herself accepted as a victim of illegitimate Bush wiretapping by a forgetful or ignorant minority of Democrats was essential preparation for Harman to then pin the leak on Porter Goss as we are seeing we see now, completing the partisan prestidigitation and saving herself within the party, thus saving her career. Not that it was ever really in jeopardy. much as it should have been.