Pelosi tipped off to wiretap after intelligence mutiny
John Byrne
Published: Thursday April 23, 2009

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was told that a fellow Democratic congresswoman had been wiretapped because intelligence officials were irate that then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had blocked a probe into the congresswoman's involvement related to an Israeli espionage case, CQ's Jeff Stein revealed late Wednesday.

"In doing so," Stein writes, "the officials flouted an order by Gonzales not to inform Pelosi, three former national security officials said."

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), then ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, was caught on an FBI wiretap as part of an investigation into Israeli spying. The wiretap transcript showed that she had spoken with an Israeli agent about threatening Pelosi with witholding campaign donations if she wasn't named chairwoman of the intelligence committee.

It also appeared to show Harman agreeing to try to lobby the White House on behalf of two pro-Israeli lobbyists who had recently been charged in an espionage case.

Pelosi was tipped off to the FBI wiretap by "some intelligence official," her spokesman Brendan Daly said Wednesday.

"She was notified that Harman had been overheard and that the target was someone else," he added. "It wasn't a full-scale briefing."

According to the CQ report, Alberto Gonzales dropped an investigation into Harman, telling CIA Director Porter Goss in 2005 that he "needed Jane's help" in defending the soon-to-be-exposed warrantless wiretapping program.

"Frustrated and angry at Gonzales for aborting the investigation, intelligence officials let Pelosi know about the wiretap and its contents, according to three former national security officials," Stein writes.

"She knew. We made sure she knew," one of the former officials was quoted as say, "chuckling" as he said it.

Harman was and has not been charged with any crime. Officials have declined to comment on the matter, and Harman has called for the transcript of her call to be released.

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