Friday, April 24, 2009

When Will the Obama Administration Release Congresswoman Harman's Wiretap Transcripts?

Cong. Jane Harman asked that her NSA phone call transcripts be released on April 21st. So far, I haven't seen any answer...or any reason given why they should not be made public. Here's a copy of Harman's letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, from her official website:
April 21, 2009

The Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General
Department of Justice
Washington, DC 20530

Dear General Holder:

I am outraged to learn from reports leaked to the media over the last several days that the FBI or NSA secretly wiretapped my conversations in 2005 or 2006 while I was Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee.

This abuse of power is outrageous and I call on your Department to release all transcripts and other investigative material involving me in an unredacted form. It is my intention to make this material available to the public.

I also urge you to take appropriate steps to investigate possible wiretapping of other Members of Congress and selective leaks of investigative material which can be used for political purposes. As you know, it is entirely appropriate to converse with advocacy organizations and constituent groups, and I am concerned about a chilling effect on other elected officials who may find themselves in my situation.

Let me be absolutely clear: I never contacted the Department of Justice, the White House or anyone else to seek favorable treatment regarding the national security cases on which I was briefed, or any other cases. You may be aware that David Szady, the FBI's former top counterintelligence official, is quoted in the media saying of me "…in all my dealings with her, she was always professional and never tried to intervene or get in the way of any investigation."


BTW, John Loftus's book The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed The Jewish People
provides interesting background reading that may be related to this case:
UPDATE: House Intelligence Chair Silvestre Reyes has announced an investigation into the Harman wiretap. Let's hope the public is able to see what results from this inquiry...I see from a Google search that Chairman Reyes stood up to the PBS bureaucracy in the case of Ken Burns' WWII film, acting as a supporter of the Defend the Honor Campaign. Let's hope he can stand up the the so-called Intelligence Community's version of Dickens' "Circumlocution Office" as well...He may have a hard time getting NSA to turn over the name of the culprit, especially since unauthorized release of wiretap information is a felony offense, according to the Federation of American Scientists' Secrecy News:
Ironically, the single identifiable crime in this whole story is the unauthorized disclosure of the classified contents of an intelligence intercept to CQ, and then to the New York Times. While there is no categorical legal prohibition against all classified leaks, several specific categories of classified information are protected by statute and their release is a felony offense. Under 18 U.S.C. 798, one of those is the unauthorized disclosure of communications intelligence, like that gathered by NSA.