Harman hires Lanny Davis as media handler


WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) hired a top Democratic lawyer as a media handler in her pushback against allegations that she intervened on behalf of two pro-Israel lobbyists.

Harman brought in Lanny Davis, who once served as a special counsel to former President Bill Clinton, The Cable, a Web publication of Foreign Policy magazine, reported late Tuesday.

Former and current security officials have leaked to various media in recent weeks details of a wiretapped phone call that took place between 2004 and 2006 in which Harman allegedly agrees to a request from an “Israeli agent” to  intervene on behalf of Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, former senior staffers for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who were charged — or were facing charges, depending on the timing of the call — in a classified information leaks case.

In exchange, the Israeli agent was to ask entertainment magnate Haim Saban, an Israeli American and a major donor to the Democratic Party, to lobby for Harman’s continued status as senior Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.

Saban did lobby for Harman, unsuccessfully, but there is no evidence that Harman intervened on behalf of Weissman and Rosen. Harman has called on the Justice Department to release unredacted transcripts of the tape.

Rosen and Weissman, indicted in August 2005, are slated to go to trial June 2, although Justice Department officials reportedly are reconsidering the case.

Davis most recently served as a spokesman for The Israel Project, a pro-Israel project.

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