Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The scandal of the day on the left will be the revelation that Democratic Representative Jane Harman, the leading Democratic champion of the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping program during the Bush years, was herself caught in an NSA wiretap swapping influence over a couple of lobbyists for Israel who are now going to trial for taking American secrets. Glenn Greenwald, who would regard it as "sweet justice" if Harman's guilt were established by NSA wiretap transcripts, rounds up the links here. I will not have the time to get through it all today -- day job stuff -- but offer it up so you can follow along at home.
The New York Times story is derivative and curious. It is all based on confidential sources, hearsay, and the reporting of others based on controversial sources and heresay. Nothing strange there. But is the lede right? The focus is on Harman's involvement with the Israel lobby and the "sweet justice," if it is true, that she was caught up in an NSA wiretap. But if that is true enough to emphasize, why isn't this?:
In return, the caller promised her that a wealthy California donor — the media mogul Haim Saban — would threaten to withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who was expected to become House speaker after the 2006 election, if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post.
My questions: Why would "the caller" expect Rep. Harman to believe that Nancy Pelosi, Harman's fellow California Democrat, would trade the chairmanship for campaign contributions? What is it about Pelosi's reputation among insiders that made "the caller's" offer credible?
More inside baseball here.
Hmmm...would her machine political background from Baltimore have anything to do with it?
"Mrs. Pelosi, 66, learned politics at the knee of her father, Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., a Democrat with more than 20 straight terms in elected office, including jobs as Baltimore mayor and U.S. congressman.
Her brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, who also served as mayor of Baltimore and remains a fixture in Little Italy, presided over the unveiling of the ceremonial street sign that read: "Via Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi"