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Gonzales twist in Harman, AIPAC controversy

by Brad A. Greenberg

April 24, 2009 | 7:58 pm

This story’s got legs. Rep. Jane Harman, who was allegedly and unknowingly taped while promising to advocate for two AIPAC officials accused of spying, may have gotten some assistance, after the fact, from then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The New York Times reports:

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency concluded in late 2005 that a conversation picked up on a government wiretap was serious enough to require notifying Congressional leaders that Representative Jane Harman, Democrat of California, could become enmeshed in an investigation into Israeli influence in Washington, former government officials said Thursday.

But Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales told the director of the agency, Porter J. Goss, to hold off on briefing lawmakers about the conversation, between Ms. Harman and an Israeli intelligence operative, despite a longstanding government policy to inform Congressional leaders quickly whenever a member of Congress could be a target of a national security investigation.

One reason Mr. Gonzales intervened, the former officials said, was to protect Ms. Harman because they saw her as a valuable administration ally in urging The New York Times not to publish an article about the National Security Agency’s program of wiretapping without warrants.

Wow, it’s getting difficult to keep straight all the moving parts.

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