JTA says Jane Harman had no political motive for intrigue. Bollocks

This morning Ron Kampeas of JTA tried to pooh-pooh the latest Israel lobby scandal by saying that the leaks of a taped conversation of Congresswoman Jane Harman from four years ago "smell to high heaven." Here is undercover Mondo correspondent F.E. Felson's shrewd response:
Kampeas's debunking turns on the following issue: The claim in the CQ report of the phone conversation that Jane Harman,
the ranking Democrat on Intel in mid-2005– the time of the phone call with the "suspected Israeli agent" where she cut her political deal– was preoccupied with finally assuming
the chairmanship of the House intel committee when the Democrats would
retake Congress a year later. Kampeas punctures this claim with the statement:
But in the
summer-fall of 2005, a Democratic victory was anything but certain. I
don't recall confident predictions about a Democratic sweep until March
2006 at the earliest.
He's trying to say that the idea that she was obsessed with
keeping her Intel seat that far back is ludicrous; that the Dems still
seemed doomed, so therefore it wasn't on her mind. It's a nice try, but
here's what was really happening:
1) Harman's fears about her committee slot didn't have much to do with which party won control in '06; the House Intelligence Committee is a "permanent select committee," meaning it is governed by different rules than other House committees.
One of these rules, at least until 2002, had been a term-limit; no more
than four years for either the chairman or the ranking member. Harman
became the ranking member at the start of 2003, meaning her term was
due to expire at the end of 2006, no matter what happened in the
elections. Her goal, as far back as 2004 and 2005, was to persuade
Pelosi (then the Minority Leader) to waive the rule (as Republicans had
done for Chairman Porter Goss
earlier in the decade), thus allowing Harman to continue as ranking
member after the '06 elections (or as chairwoman, in the event of a
Democratic win). Kampeas doesn't know congressional politics that well,
apparently, because Harman was very much engaged in a fight to keep her
Intel post long before the '06 election. The ranking member slot gave
her unusual access and prestige — she was a regular at White House meetings,
received top secret briefings, and appeared on national TV shows more
than any other House Democrat. Again, you have to understand that Intel
is different from every other House committee. Membership is split
evenly between the two parties; the difference between chairman and
ranking member is pretty insignificant.

2) Harman's seat on the committee was threatened because her personal relationship with Pelosi had deteriorated.
There is a lengthy back story here; they were once allies in California
politics, but when Harman returned to the House (she'd left to run for
Gov of California in 1998), the relationship changed; they became
rivals. Some believe Pelosi resented that Harman, thanks to her ranking
member slot on Intel, had a higher national profile than her (this was
before Pelosi was Speaker, remember). Pelosi made it clear in early
2005 that Harman would be done as ranking member after the '06
elections — that there'd be no waiver. This prompted Harman to launch
a concerted behind the scenes campaign to force Pelosi to change her
mind. It included extensive outreach to the media; numerous stories in
'05 and '06 — long before the '06 elections — detailed Harman's
plight and talked of her supposedly invaluable role on Intel.
Kampeas just gets this totally wrong. Harman waged a two-year
campaign to save her spot as the top Democrat on a major Congressional
committee. Ask anyone on Capitol Hill about it. They remember. Go back
and read news stories from '05 and '06; this was all written about. It
had nothing to do with the '06 elections and whether the Dems would
take back the House. In fact, with Pelosi becoming a star after the
Dems took over, it would actually have been better for Harman if the
Dems LOST in '06. If she'd then been able to retain her ranking member
slot, she would still have been the most prominent House Dem. Instead,
Pelosi and a bunch of new Democratic chairman became new stars. (Plus,
Harman ended up losing her perch anyway.)
Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine

{ 10 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. American says:

    LOL….Kampeas is another example of the stupidy of zionist excuses and defenses.

    It doesn't matter what Harman's MOTIVES were…personal ambition or Jewish/Israel related….her act was criminal ..she offered to interfer with a US investigation by using political influence. That's a no-no.

    If she had been trading in the scheme for money as in the Duke and other congressional favor trading criminal proscutions she would already be in jail.

    Is it stupid of the Jewsish/zionist to defend the Harman type deals when there is no legitmate defense to their acts? Yes it is exceedingly stupid….they keep hanging themselves with their own ropes. I am going to quit asking if these people ever learn. The obvious answer is NO, they don't.

  2. Citizen says:

    What has Harman done for the American people except equate Israel with the US in every way
    and support the deprivation of our civil rights, both in the name of fighting evil-doer terrorism, same as Shrub did?

  3. LeaNder says:

    Thanks, Felson, as "we" like it.

  4. Richard Witty says:

    Is there a parallel to Phil's repetition of themes of this spy trial, invoking angers about loyalty directed at anyone that sticks their nose in (Harman), and the Dreyfus case, or the series of spy trials in Iran, or the summary executions of collaborators by Hamas?

  5. LanceThruster says:

    A) It wasn't me!

    B) It was me but I didn't do it!

    C) I did do it, but with justification!

    D) You're all just out to get me!

    E) Any combination of the above

  6. Diane says:

    Kudos for the use of the infinitely useful but sadly under-used term, "bollocks".

  7. Duscany says:

    I don't see how the above information contradicts the notion that Harmon sought Israeli help to keep her job. And if she didn't, why did she end the conversation with the assertion, "This conversation never happened"?

  8. Joshua says:


    Are you invoking that the root of all this investigation of the espionage and the back-door corruption that involves Israel's secret officials are anti-Semitic, driven in the form to scapegoat the Jews as a people unworthy of American citizenry?

  9. Sin Nombre says:

    Richard Witty asked:

    "Is there a parallel to Phil's repetition of themes of this spy trial, invoking angers about loyalty directed at anyone that sticks their nose in (Harman), and the Dreyfus case, or the series of spy trials in Iran, or the summary executions of collaborators by Hamas?"

    Actually there is a parallel/common theme of a sort and that is with the idea of justice: I.e., there wasn't any in the Dreyfus case, it was/is only dubiously present in the Iran trials, and of course it's utterly absent in the summary executions of Hamas. And then of course there's the alleged offer to pervert it by Harman in the AIPAC matter.

  10. MEMO

    TO: Phil the Assimilationist

    FROM: John the Acolyte

    Please, my Dear Lord, I beseech you to grant undercover Mondo correspondent F.E. Felson a whopping raise. His analysis is superb!

    Your Devoted Acolyte John

    *regarding assimilationist/acolyte see – link to realisticdove.org