Harman to Holder: Investigate the Wiretapping of Congress
Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 11:59 am
Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), under fire for seemingly promising to intervene in a Justice Department probe and caught on a wiretap — Harman denies all wrongdoing — is demanding the department investigate improper wiretapping of her Congressional colleagues. (And also to release the transcripts of her own tapped calls.) She writes in a just-released letter to Attorney General Eric Holder:
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.”
Not the worst strategy: pressing the Justice Department to look at the warrantless surveillance of a member of Congress reported by The New York Times does a good job of changing the subject away from Harman and onto a matter of principle.
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