Reportedly wiretapped during an investigation into Israeli agents, Rep. Jane Harman expressed outrage on Tuesday that her phone calls were being overheard by the NSA and wondered if she was even still being targeted.
"There is a question about whether [these wiretaps] were legal and there is a question about whether other members of Congress, who also talk regularly to advocacy groups and constituency groups might have been picked up and maybe be wiretapped even now," said the California Democrat in an interview on NPR. "Maybe I'm even wiretapped now."
The comments come as Harman seeks to extricate herself from politically dicey accusations over her work on the House Intelligence committee, an alleged quid-pro-quo she offered in exchange for helping Israeli agents, the role she may have played in trying to spike the publication of a New York Times story on warrantless wiretapping, and her own controversial stance on that very same surveillance practice. The latter may be the trickiest of the bunch. Harman, during the NPR interview, said she was "outraged that I may have been wiretapped by my government in 2005 or 2006 while I was ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee."
Earlier, on MNSBC, she expressed "disappoint[ment] that my country -- I'm an American citizen just like you are -- could have permitted what I think is a gross abuse of power in recent years."
But as pointed out by Think Progress and Glenn Greenwald, that sentiment is rife with contradiction. The very practice that ensnared Harman was the one she previously cheered. The Californian was an early and vocal supporter of the NSA wiretapping policy of the Bush administration.
As for the details of the current story, first reported by CQ and then the New York Times, Harman was decidedly vague. She refused to say if a call took place in which she promised to get espionage-related charges against AIPAC officials dropped in exchange for help in her campaign for the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. And she repeated a call for the Attorney General's office to release the transcript of any phone calls of hers that may have been picked up by the NSA.
"I can't recall with any specificity a conversation I may have had four years ago," she told NPR. "That is why I have asked Attorney General Holder to release any transcripts that he has that involve wiretaps of me."
Later, however, Harman seemed to slip, saying that, "the person I was talking to was an American citizen." Pressed by host Robert Segal how she could know the nationality of the person she was talking to but not remember the conversation itself, the congresswoman replied: "Anyone I would have talked to about the AIPAC prosecution would have been an American citizen."