Rep. Jane Harman advocates the ethnic fragmentation of Iran at the 2009 AIPAC conference
Jane Margaret Lakes Harman (born 28 June 1945) is a conservative Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing California's 36th congressional district. Harman is also a member of the Blue Dog Coalition. She is the second richest member of the House, with over $160 million in assets, and is married to Sidney Harman.
Israel Espionage Scandal
Harman has been under FBI and Justice Department investigations after an NSA wiretap caught her coordinating with an Israeli agent so she could intervene in the AIPAC espionage case to reduce charges against Steve J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, the two officials indicted for spying. In exchange, according to Time, AIPAC would lobby then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to appoint Harman as chair of the House Intelligence Committee if the Democrats captured the House after the 2006 elections. The New York Times later reported on the arrangement:
- In return, the caller promised her that a wealthy California donor — the media mogul Haim Saban — would threaten to withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who was expected to become House speaker after the 2006 election, if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post.
In April 2009, CQ Politics, also confirmed the report. Harman ended the phone call, according to CQ, by saying, "This conversation doesn’t exist." According to CQ, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales pressed CIA Director Porter Goss to drop the agency's investigation of Harman, because he wanted Harman's support during the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, about to break in the New York Times. Harman called the New York Times and urged them not to publish details on the program.
Shortly after the AIPAC scandal, Harman appeared with James Woolsey at AIPAC's 2009 annual conference in a panel discussion moderated by Dan Senor. Besides pushing for military action against Iran, Harman also recommended the ethnic fragmentation of the country:
- The Persian population in Iran is not a majority, it is a plurality. There are many different, diverse, and disagreeing populations inside Iran and an obvious strategy, which I believe is a good strategy, is to separate those populations.
Following pressure from the National Iranian American Council, Harman retracted the comments.
- Zachary Roth, The Harman-AIPAC Story: A Timeline, TPMMuckraker, 20 April 2009
- The Blue Dog Coalition, "Members", The Blue Dog Coalition website, accessed on 8 November 2010
- Timothy J. Burger, Exclusive: Feds Probe a Top Democrat's Relationship with AIPAC, Time, 20 October 2006
- Neil A. Lewis and Mark Mazzetti, Lawmaker Is Said to Have Agreed to Aid Lobbyists, New York Times, 21 April 2009
- Jeff Stein, Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Discussing Aid for AIPAC Defendants, CQ Politics, 19 April 2009
- Jane Harman's Wiretapped Conversations, Washington Post (Investigations), 21 April 2009
- Adam Horowitz, Jane Harman retracts comments advocating the ethnic division of Iran, Mondoweiss.net, 21 May 2009