A story worthy of a Hollywood B-movie. Rep. Jane Harman agreed to go to bat for two AIPAC officials accused of espionage, in exchange for which an Israeli spy would try and get her appointed to chair the House Intelligence Committee, according to Congressional Quarterly. The NSA reportedly captured an exchange between Harman and the spy, during which the congresswoman allegedly said “This conversation doesn’t exist.”
The FBI investigated the matter, but dropped charges, citing a lack of evidence. According to Congressional Quarterly, that may have been because then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales came to Harman’s rescue, seeking an ally in the warantless wiretap scandal.
A Blue Dog Democrat, Harman chairs the Homeland Security Intelligence subcommittee.
Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.
In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.
Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”