Today, press reports indicate that it is Larry Hanauer, Rep. Jane Harman's staffer, that Chairman Hoekstra has barred from seeing classified materials because he is suspected of having leaked the classified National Intelligence Estimate to the New York Times, in order to affect the election. This story is only beginning, and a fascinating backstory remains to be told about the Democrats in the House.
Hanauer was a former Clinton appointee to the Department of Defense and was displaced from that slot by this Administration. He was a Kerry contributor and has expressed views critical of the Administration.
"Coincidence in this town is rare."
So observes a member of the House Intelligence Committee as Chairman Hoekstra suspended Hanauer.
House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra has suspended a Democratic staff member because of concerns he may have leaked a high—level intelligence assessment to The New York Times last month.
In a letter obtained by The Associated Press Thursday night, Rep. Ray LaHood (news, bio, voting record), R—Ill., a committee member, said that an unidentified staffer requested the document from National Intelligence Director John Negroponte three days before the Sept. 23 story about its conclusions.
The staffer received the National Intelligence Estimate on global terror trends on Sept. 21.
"I have no credible information to say any classified information was leaked from the committee's minority staff, but the implications of such would be dramatic," LaHood wrote Hoekstra, R—Mich., late last month. "This may, in fact, be only coincidence, and simply 'look bad.' But coincidence, in this town, is rare."
In a year when the Democrats are desperately trying to establish that they can be trusted with national security issues, one would think that this development if true would be harmful to them.
The leak was harmful to all of us because to answer it, other portions of the report had to be declassified and made public. (Much as the Administration had to respond —— but did so tardily —— to reveal Ambassador Munchausen''s [Joseph Wilson IV] serial lies.)
And it is hard to take seriously the Democrats' claim that the Administration is too secretive, considering how quickly secret information given them ends up in the hands of the opposition press.
At the moment we do not know if Congresswoman Harman had any knowledge of the suspected illegal activity. But we do know that she has remarkably shifted in recent months from her hawkish stance and moderate behavior. The apparent reasons for this are intriguing.
Pelosi's war on Harman.
Michael Barone notices, as have I, that in the past few months the normally sensible and moderate Harman has been behaving out of character. He offers this explanation:
Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the committee, has protested strongly against the staffer's suspension. Harman for several years has been a responsible member on the committee. But during the course of this calendar year, she has been making more shrill partisan statements and fewer thoughtful critiques. The most likely reason: pressure from the Democratic left.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is said to be determined to replace her with Alcee Hastings, the former federal judge who was impeached by the House for bribery and convicted and removed from office by the Senate. And Harman faced a challenger from the shrill left in the Democratic primary in her coastal Los Angeles area district. Harman has typically been re—elected without difficulty and has been willing to spend millions of her own money; her husband Sidney Harman is the dazzlingly successful sound—system manufacturer and philanthropist. Harman won the primary by only 62 to 38 percent. That's a narrow margin for a longtime incumbent (she was first elected in 1992, ran for governor and lost in the primary in 1998, then regained the seat in 2000). Her course since her primary tells us as much about the force of the left in the Democratic primary as Joe Lieberman's defeat two months later in his.
According to the Huffington Post, Maxine Waters went to Harman's District earlier this year and in an incredible breach of normal comity urged Harman's constituents to vote for her opponent.
Like Joseph Lieberman in the Senate, Harman was a forceful hawk on Iraq when Democrats were trying find a way out. Pelosi seemed protect her status. Maxine Waters finally broke with Pelosi over Iraq, and formed an Out of Iraq congressional caucus, now enrolling some 70 members. One of Waters' first speeches after forming the caucus happened to be in Venice, a frustrated progressive enclave in Harman's district. In response to a question, Waters spontaneously called on the residents to vote against Harman. It was a breach of the usual incumbent protection ethos, revealing the depth of divisions within the party itself.
But if this isn't strange enough, Time online has a most peculiar story —— one so nonsensical it could only have been planted by people in her own party who, having realized marginalizing defense hawks in the party through the ballot box (ala Lieberman) is a losing strategy, have now resorted to under—the—radar smearing of them.
Did a Democratic member of Congress improperly enlist the support of a major pro—Israel lobbying group to try to win a top committee assignment? That's the question at the heart of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors, who are examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, according to knowledgeable sources in and out of the U.S. government.
The sources tell TIME that the investigation by Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has simmered out of sight since about the middle of last year, is examining whether Harman and AIPAC arranged for wealthy supporters to lobby House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Harman's behalf. Harman said Thursday in a voicemail message that any investigation of 'or allegation of improper conduct by' her would be 'irresponsible, laughable and scurrilous.' On Friday, Washington GOP super lawyer Ted Olson left voicemail messages underscoring that Harman has no knowledge of any investigation. 'Congresswoman Harman has asked me to follow up on calls you've had,' Olson said. 'She is not aware of any such investigation, does not believe that it is occurring, and wanted to make sure that you and your editors knew that as far as she knows, that's not true... . No one from the Justice Department has contacted her.' It is not, however, a given that Harman would know that she is under investigation. In a follow—up phone call from California, Olson said Harman hired him this morning because she takes seriously the possibility of a media report about an investigation of her, even though she does not believe it herself.
The article is sourced to the Nation, megaphone of the lying left. It claims something neither AIPAC nor Harman professes any knowledge of. It alleges perfectly innocent conduct (a phone call from Haim Saban supporting Harman) is part of an illegal course of conduct.
But the odor of anti—Semitism on the left and the left's continued takeover of the party, and the left wing war on two prominent Jewish Democrats is something worth keeping an eye on.
Did her party push her into condoning or participating in the illegal leak? If so, why is the Nation still gunning for her? As of today, the questions vastly outnumber the answers.
Clarice Feldman is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.