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Harman's Harm?

I'm not quite sure what to make of the charges against Jane Harman. One is that  she promised to intervene into a Justice Department case against two former AIPAC officials if megadonor Haim Saban would threaten to cut off donations to Congressional Democrats unless Nancy Pelosi named Harman to chair the House Intelligence Committee. The other is that when Bush officials found out about her deal, they laid off because they needed her to press the New York Times not to run with a story about its secret NSA wiretapping program.

I do know this morning's revelation that Harman pressured the Times not to run the NSA story tell us all that much. Harman has long been a national-security hawk, and by and large national-security hawks, including many Democrats, opposed the program's revelation (although they didn't sling around the word "treason" the way some conservatives did.) As the Times writes today:

Shortly before the article was published more than a year later, in December 2005, Mr. Taubman met with a group of Congressional leaders familiar with the eavesdropping program, including Ms. Harman. They all argued that The Times should not publish. 

I'm pretty sure that was a bipartisan group, and that Harman was not the only Democrat present. So this is not a smoking gun. But it doesn't mean Harman's off the hook, either.

--Michael Crowley