Monday, April 20, 2009

Principles, Presidents, and Spies

There are some people who identify Presidents with "good" or "bad", depending on the attached party label. Lots of (D) folks will tell you that FDR was damn near a saint, despite the fact that he was an Asian-hating racist of the first water. (Don't believe that? Check out his statements on various immigration-law proposals.)

Others will tell you that GWB was the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread. That despite his profligate, illegal, and un-Constitutional GM/Chrysler "bailout."

And it seems that GWB's Boyzzz have another little problem.

...But the gist is that an NSA wiretap recorded Harman in a conversation with a "suspected Israeli agent" in which Harman allegedly agreed to use her influence with the DOJ to get them to drop the AIPAC spy case in exchange for help lobbying then-Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi to make Harman chair of the House Intelligence Committee -- a position she ended up not getting

The story suggests that the tapes show Harman crossed the line. And the gears were in motion to open a full blown investigation. But then Alberto Gonzales intervened and shutdown the whole thing.

Why? Here's where it gets into the realm of bad novel writing: because Gonzales (and the White House) needed Harman to go to bat for them on the warrantless wiretaping story that the New York Times was then on the brink of publishing

When a foreign agent is spying on the USA, it's serious. Blather about "the US' only friend...." is simply window-dressing around a steaming stinkhole.

But the column raises another interesting question:

High on my list would be finding out more about the circumstances under which a member of Congress ended up having her phone conversations recorded by the NSA...

Maybe it was legit--evidently DofJ knew that Harman was talking to a bad guy, or two, or three. But if they WERE bad-guys, why did GWB's AG quash the inquiry?


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