Justice Department Not Targeting Harman

Posted June 25, 2009 at 1:45pm

Updated: 7:03 p.m.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) confirmed Thursday that she is not the subject of a Justice Department probe into whether she agreed on a 2005 wiretapped phone call to seek leniency for two accused spies in exchange for help securing the ranking membership of the Intelligence Committee.

In a letter to Harman’s lawyer released by the California Democrat’s office, acting Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Rita Glavin said the lawmaker “is neither a subject nor a target of an ongoing investigation by the Criminal Division.—

Harman made headlines in late April after news reports surfaced suggesting that she had been caught on a federal wiretap telling Haim Saban, a billionaire Democratic donor and ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), that she would try to scuttle a Justice Department inquiry into two American Israel Public Affairs Committee employees accused of spying in return for help lobbying Pelosi for the top-ranking spot on the Intelligence panel.

Harman vigorously denied the story, and it was quickly knocked off the front page by intrigue over what Pelosi knew and when about Bush-era interrogation tactics. The Harman flap has stirred little interest since, but in a statement accompanying the Justice Department letter, which was sent June 16, she sought to bury it once and for all.

“Earlier this year, I was the subject of media reports concerning transcripts of alleged government wiretaps,— Harman said. “To date, there has been no official confirmation that such transcripts exist or are accurate, and I have written to Attorney General [Eric] Holder asking for full disclosure. (It should be noted that if transcripts do exist, anyone leaking them to the press would be committing a felony.)—

Harman continued, “There are many pressing issues facing the country and the Congress, and I intend to maintain my focus on them, just as I have throughout my tenure in the House of Representatives.—