Pelosi says she was told about Harman wiretap
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voiced confidence on Wednesday that Representative Jane Harman “would never do anything to hurt her country.”
“I have great confidence in Jane Harman,” Pelosi told reporters. “She’s a patriotic American. She would never do anything to hurt her country.”
Pelosi made the comments a day after Harman demanded that the Justice Department release tapes and transcripts of any wiretaps to buttress her claims that she did not intervene in an espionage case.
Harman has accused the government of an “abuse of power” and denied reports she had offered to try to help two pro-Israel lobbyists charged with espionage in exchange for assistance in getting Democrats to appoint her to lead the intelligence committee.
Harman did not get the post after Democrats won control of Congress in 2006. She left the panel shortly afterward.
Speaking at a roundtable discussion sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, Pelosi was asked if she had been briefed by federal investigators at the time of the wiretap, reported to be in 2005 or 2006.
“A few years ago, maybe three years ago, they did brief me,” Pelosi said, explaining law officers notify congressional leaders when a member of Congress is overheard on a wiretap.
“It was not my position to raise it with Jane Harman,” Pelosi said. “In fact I didn’t even know if what they were talking about was real.”
A Pelosi spokesman later said that the speaker was not fully briefed on the matter, “just notified.”
House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer said he wanted to find out more about the matter before deciding if there should be an investigation into the wiretapping of members of Congress.
“The stories that I have read give me great concern and I’m going to be in the process of personally finding out more about it and then, with the speaker, determine what action, if any, needs to be taken,” Hoyer told his weekly news conference.
“The Justice Department needs to take this under consideration,” Hoyer said.
Photo credit: Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico (Pelosi attends a news conference after a meeting with Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome Feb. 17, 2009)