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20 April 2009


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Update on that individual at TPM: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2009/04/more_on_that_suspected_israeli_agent.php


RUMINT is pointing to Haim Saban as the "agent" on the line. A long time big league Dem donor and US citizen I believe.

Roger Higgins

Pat,it will be interesting to see what happens to Harman. It is catching a lot of play in the blogosphere - both right and left (and on more thoughtful blogs). The comparison to Rod Blagojevich is interesting, particularly as the indictment was handed down about five months after he was arrested. Even there, where there was a pretty clearly "smoking gun" (and an already-ongoing investigation that had lasted several years), it took the USA quite a while to sort out the facts. So, I would not expect us to see much of anything useful in the public domain for a while - a telling indicator will be whether the Justice Dept. (and Congress) take this matter up.


Josh Marshall at TPM Cafe referring to the Harman story writes, "This raises lots and lots of questions -- not least of which is why this is coming out right now. Any particular reason people in the intel community would want to start talking to the press right now?"

How about the fact that the AIPAC trial Harman wanted to quash is coming up and shining sunlight on this case, giving it a full dose of noon, might stop the Judge from even thinking of dropping the case against these AIPAC marauders. And the ex-intel whistleblowers take their oath to protect the US 'from enemies within' seriously, even in retirement.


Hmm, the CQ piece does not say that the Israeli agent was a foreigner.

It says "a suspected Israeli agent" which could well be a U.S. citizen.

Ron Kampeas at JTA says Haim Saban but he confuses the person that made the deal with Harman with the person that lobbied Pelosi (likely Saban). Those may not be identical.

So Pat - where does your "foreigner" assumption come from?

A point might be that this was a NSA wiretap under FISA which should include at least one foreign point in the communication.

But then do we really know who NSA listens to?

Patrick Lang


Generally in this country, an American lobbying a congressperson on behalf of accused Americans would not be referred to as a "foreign agent." It would be activity that one might not approve of but the phrase "foreign operative" would not generally come to mind. pl


Haim Saban?



@Pat - thanks for the answer, but I don't get it.

If the German BND would secretly hire a U.S. citizen to spy in the U.S. would that not be a "a suspected German agent" even while being U.S. citizen?

This was leaked with purpose, probably to put pressure on Israel, so I am bit suspicious of how much of it is real and how much is innuendo.


Since I belong to the naive (or dumb) category as far as military & intelligence matters are concerned my confusion regarding this matter may just be par for the course. It seems to me from the nature of the story that this scheme of influence peddling while selling out our national interests is rather routine. Is it? Also, is it hubris that causes our political elite to be rather casual about violating their oath or is it just another case of ends justify the means even if that means cavorting with foreign agents? Maybe Israel is no longer considered a foreign nation in DC but an active participant in the DC circuit!

What do folks here think about the Obama administration's decision that if you belong to the club there's no foul even if you order the torture of detainees? Where does this lead?


She was caught on a FISA court approved wiretap and helped defend warrent-less wiretapping? Now that I'm done laughing I have to ask what Pete Hoekstra knew and when. Especially as he wants to be Governor of Michigan.

BTW maybe we can get Jane's opponents a bicycle, preferably American made.


Just a warm up, the aipac espionage case.

The case has a lot of interconnecting pieces, specially related to how policy was made at pentagon civilian office when it comes to Iran during early Bush administration. (which might gives a hint how the Iraq policy was formulated)

My biggest questions are still: who made the grand plan, and who design the bureaucratic execution steps? (putting people in key places, writing the reports, squeezing the right places, closing down/merging/re-org, etc) These people knows congress/pentagon/DOJ process and procedure. We are talking about pieces of legislation, complex multi year legislation, appointments game, public campaign, money politics, etc. It's not ad-hoc. More like well organized mafia.


The U.S. government indictment alleged that the director of research at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Kenneth Pollack, provided information to former AIPAC employees Steve J. Rosen and Keith Weissman during the AIPAC espionage scandal.

Patrick Lang


This may be a cross-cultural issue. We would generally think that an American citizen has a right to lobby members of government for anything they want. Their personal loyalties are their own business. pl

Patrick Lang


"innuendo?" what part of "transcript" don't you understand? You think they faked the transcript?

Actually, I don't see why NSA would have a transcript of this conversation. It was legally produced in accordance with a FISA court warrant in an investigation of Israeli covert action in Washington? I would have thought that the FBI would have conducted the wiretap. Perhaps NSA just possessed a copy. pl

Patrick Lang


Motives for this story being given to Stein at this time?

- Upcoming AIPAC espionage trial. This will make it very difficult not to try these two men.

- Israeli pressure for US to attack Iran. This is "push-back?"

- Republican political animosity for Harman and Pelosi? pl


The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not coming to DC for the conference. Evidently once President Obama made it clear he would not meet with Netanyahu on this visit, he decided to cancel. He is trying to foist it off on President Shimon Peres (the Israeli presidency is a mostly ceremonial position) and even Peres has "not yet decided whether to accept the invitation." Strange. Sending Avigdor Lieberman seems to be out of the question, so it looks like we'll have to make sure with a video-taped message.

Now questions are being raised whether AIPAC is going to lose another speaker. Spencer Ackerman has asked whether Rep. Jane Harman will still speak at the conference now that she is embroiled in an the quickly unfolding espionage wiretapping scandal? He points out that she is slated to “explore the myriad foreign policy challenges facing the United States, Israel and the world.” Could be an awkward conversation as the scandal unfolds to say the least.


Patrick Lang


The president of the United States is head of state and should not receive a mere foreign minister.

Actually, a case could be made that he or she should not receive a prime minister either. pl

Cold War Zoomie

Here's my take on the article after a quick perusal. The NSA had the transcript because the real target(s) were part of an espionage case and Harman was swept up in the intercepts. Also, from a purely technical viewpoint, it would make more sense for the NSA to manage a "case" if the target(s) traveled overseas a lot, especially with GSM cell phones. As a techie, I don't have a clue if that's legal or SOP.

Back to my taxes. Ugh.


Greets - friendly fan of Mr Lang & the blog here. I'm feeling pleased b/c I pretty much called this pattern quite a while ago :)

The only proper solution is for AIPAC to register as an agent of a foreign power - and no more tech for Israel except what we want to sell to Russia, China and everyone else!



One of the 'side dishes' -- I hope that this Harman/AIPAC/Israeli Espionage embroil will squash/kill/destroy the proposed sale of 3 AWACS to Israel that the Israelis are counting on.


I don't want to sound shrill, but does anyone in their right mind believe that Harmon is the only one?

Is there anyone who believes that these calls aren't made to Federal government officials all the time by Israeli agents?

Welcome to the 51st State of Israel.

Oh, and please remember, we are all Georgians now.

Patrick Lang


You are not paying for the education of students in the civilian world. you are paying the whole cost for the education of cadets at the service academies in the expectation of their service for a lifetime career as military officers. You are also paying them a salary while they are cadets.

The liberal arts are not a "field." They are not some sort of vocational training like that of an engineer. They are for the development of the mind, not a paycheck. I was an Englsih major. I never made a living by speaking English but I seem to have done all right,. pl


Interesting that the second part of the story has been dropped,

namly that under the Bush Administration, charges and further investigation was dropped of Harman, when she agreed to pressure the NYT and Congress, over FISA.

BTW, according to Newshoggers and others parsing of current Official Statements, it looks like Harman was caught on an old school, FISA warrant wiretap, of a suspected Foreign Agent.

William R. Cumming

Be interesting to find out if the "voice" other than Harman involved is a registered foreign agent. Congress in general very sloppy about representation issues especially if representations to them (the members) is by a campaign donor. So we do have the best Congress money can buy to represent all those donors. Try and see your Congressperson if you don't come bearing gifts. Vote the INS OUT!



Not often I find myself in disagreement with you, but here we go...

The liberal arts are not a "field." They are not some sort of vocational training like that of an engineer.

Few reputable engineering programs would resemble what you describe here. Vocational education programs generally train technicians, not engineers. A modern engineering education is chock-full of diverse courses including plenty of English classes, humanities and other non-technical electives, and the technical coursework is generally as heavy in mathematics and science as it is in the practice of engineering.

Engineering is a profession, not a vocation. There is a current trend towards requiring graduate education before one can practice as an engineer, so that the resulting curriculum will bear more resemblance to that of the medical profession than what one would learn at a vocational education facility. My field (civil) is already well along on this path, and the other engineering professions will likely end up taking it as well.

It's a minor quibble, but an important one. There is a stereotype of the engineer as some kind of geeky technician, but the simple reality of the engineering profession is that it is among the most creative enterprises known, and what we train most engineers for is exactly as the name of said profession would imply, namely "ingenuity".


"Actually, a case could be made that he or she should not receive a prime minister either.


Are you saying the President should ignore Britains Head of Government and only diegn to meet the Queen?


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