Harman and AIPAC: an inconvenient fact omitted

I started on this line with a piece by Chris on Friday, which included this (referring to a Time piece from October):

There are two other major pressing reasons that Harman should not be the chair. The first is that Harman is under investigation for illegally trying to use AIPAC in order to become the chair...

As it happens, that's not true. Or, rather, is grossly misleading.

I pointed out in a comment that the Post amongst others had, a few days after the Time piece came out, confirmed from FBI sources that the Harman investigation had been inactive for months.

I then come across this blog piece which links other lefty web scribes who tell half the truth.

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Pelosi's intel committee plan unraveling?

The story so far: Pelosi hates Harman and wants to suck up to the CBC; she proposed to install Hastings as HIC chair; Hastings was a crooked judge; lots of folks have been saying Don't do it!

I've tracked the saga here since May.

All this time, there seemed to be a safe compromise candidate available: Silvestre Reyes, #3 Dem on the HIC now. I had no information on the guy - mostly because I never looked - and was happy to pencil him in as the tertium quid (or should that be deus ex machina?).

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Pelosi Makes the Right Move On Harman

It looks like Jane Harman will not become the chair of the House Intelligence committee:Because Pelosi is kicking Jane Harman off the Intelligence Committee. Harman is, of course, Jewish and very rightwing on Israel.

So now Nancy, whose views on Israel aren't very far from Harman's (although she is decidedly in favor of negotiations and the two-state solution) is a Peretz enemy. Today he actually compares Nancy to Bella Abzug (in my opinion, a compliment) which is a terrible slam coming from Peretz because Abzug was, oh the humanity, a liberal Jew who was a moderate on Israel.

Why am I telling you all this. I'm telling you this because everyone needs to know that Marty Peretz and his neocon buddies in the media are now all going to be bashing Pelosi nonstop. Pelosi will get attacked viciously for this, but it is the right move. It isn't the right move because Harman is extremely right-wing on Israel. There are two other major pressing reasons that Harman should not be the chair. The first is that Harman is under investigation for illegally trying to use AIPAC in order to become the chair:Did a Democratic member of Congress improperly enlist the support of a major pro-Israel lobbying group to try to win a top committee assignment? That's the question at the heart of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors, who are examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, according to knowledgeable sources in and out of the U.S. government. The second reason is that the Democratic chair of the Intelligence committee should not be supporting Bush's illegal wiretapping program. Here is Harman defending the program on Fox News last year:HUME: And outline, if you will, your concerns about those briefings.

HARMAN: All right. Well, first of all, the program we were briefed on in a very closed environment in the White House, with no staff present, on a basis that we could not discuss it with anyone, was basically a foreign collection program. I still support that program. And I think the leak of that program to The New York Times and maybe elsewhere compromises national security... Harman is a Blue Dog, but that should not disqualify anyone from holding a committee chair. She is also not a wingnut. Outside of issues relating to national security and foreign policy, where she clearly is a neocon, she is basically a run of the mill Democrat--perhaps even in the liberal mainstream. However, the credibility of the new Democratic Congress is at stake here, and we can't have Democrats illegally winning committee chairs through lobbyist influence so they can support unconstitutional wire-tapping programs on Capitol Hill and on Fox News while accusing the New York Times of treason. Harman's seat, CA-36, is not key to our majority in the House, and anyway it is a very blue seat where she survived a strong primary challenge this year from Marcy Winograd.

Democrats won this election largely on a rejection of Bush's foreign policy and on the impact of corruption / unethical behavior in several key districts. Harman, unfortunately, sports both of those negatives. She could very well have an illegal relationship with AIPAC in an attempt to increase her own influence, and she supports one of the overtly illegal portions of Bush's foreign and national security policies. Given this, I think it was not only absolutely correct for Pelosi to deny her the Intelligence chair, and to remove her from the committee altogether, but that it was almost certainly the best thing Pelosi has done over the past ten days. Democrats need to make it loud and clear that we will not have the same relationship with lobbyists that the Republican majority had, and that we are in fact willing to stand up to Bush's foreign and national security policies. This accomplishes both of those goals in one fell swoop.

Pelosi is going to get hammered by some segments of the press for doing this. I think we need to support her decision both loudly and clearly. We are not going to be able to drain the swamp all at once, but as with LA-02, this is a step in the right direction. It should be recognized and applauded.

Update: It would appear that there are serious concerns about about the potential replacements for Harman as well. That is not acceptable either. It is going to take a long time to drain this swamp. Ugh.

Harman v Hastings: Blue Dogs to make their move

If you thought Hoyer v Murtha was ugly - well, like Al Jolson said...

The latest (new readers start here) is that the Blue Dogs are coming out of their kennels in force to support Harman in her battle to get the HIC chair over crooked former judge Alcee Hastings, Pelosi's choice for the job.

(According to the piece, Hastings

has support from the Congressional Black Caucus and from a large number of the left-leaning House Progressive Caucus.

The CBC I knew about: but the CPC? Is this pressure from Pelosi, or a racial thing, or what?)

There's more...

Pelosi on Hoyer/Murtha: too clever by half?

There's not much here that makes much sense, to my little brain, at least  - (figurative) square brackets all over the place.

We know about the Hoyer-Pelosi bad blood from the Whip contest in 2001 (and before, I suspect); and his open contempt for her shown during the bankruptcy bill brouhaha.

And that Murtha and Pelosi are close (since when?); his rather operatic announcement in June of his candidacy seemed choreographed from Pelosi's office.

What doesn't seem to make much sense from her viewpoint is nailing her colors so dramatically to Murtha's mast as she has by issuing the famous letter.

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