Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) said she is "not a victim" but a "warrior on behalf of our Constitution and against abuse of power."
"I will not quit on this until I am absolutely sure this can never happen to anyone else," said Harman defiantly, speaking at the opening session of the AIPAC policy conference and responding to reports that she was wiretapped while allegedly agreeing to intervene in the classified information case of two former AIPAC staffers.
Harman’s remarks came near the end of a panel discussion Sunday morning, after it seemed the topic might not even come up.
When the AIPAC policy conference schedule was released last month, just days after reports of the wiretaps surfaced, some chuckled at the irony that Harman was featured as part of the opening session. But almost 40 minutes into the discussion Sunday morning, as moderator Dan Senor started to wrap up and asked the final question of the four panelists, no one had even mentioned the issue. So Harman took the matter into her own hands – winding up with a spirited defense of the Constitution and AIPAC.
Responding to a question about what everyone would be discussing at the 2010 AIPAC policy conference – following a pessimistic view from Washington Institute for Near East Policy director Robert Satloff – Harman said she was an optimist but her optimism “had been tested in recent days,” getting a big round of applause.
Then, using a term she had allegedly used on the wiretapped conversation, Harman said she wanted to “waddle into a little conversation for a minute.”
First, she said that as a Democrat, she never thought she’d be recommending the Wall Street Journal editorial page – apparently referring to an editorial yesterday slamming the prosecution of former AIPAC staffers Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman and calling the wiretapping of Harman a “political hit.”
Harman reiterated the request she’d made previously, that Attorney General Eric Holder “fully disclose any information any intercepts anything he has bearing on my alleged situation. I want it all out there, I want it in public, I want everyone to understand including me, what has happened.”
She then noted that she had formerly served as chief counsel and staff director of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution.
‘I know about the Constitution, I believe in the Constitution, I believe in the Fourth Amendment and I have never ever supported warrantless wiretaps on Americans, nor would I,” she said, referring to stories that the Bush administration thought she could be helpful in urging the New York Times not to reveal that the federal government had expanded its wiretap program to include domestic conversations.
"This issue is obviously creating a chilling effect on hardworking bipartisan members of Congress, who care intensely about the U.S.-Israel security relationship and have every right to talk to advocacy groups and our good friends about that relationship,” she added, to big applause, before saying that her husband, Sidney Harman “would tell you that his wife is “not a victim” but a “warrior on behalf of our Constitution and against abuse of power” and that she won’t “quit on this until I am absolutely sure this can never happen to anyone else."