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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Government may drop AIPAC charges

I've already gone on record saying that I believe that the timing of the charges against California Democrat Jane Harman is no coincidence, and that the charges that Harman offered to try to assist AIPAC lobbyists Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman were intended to shore up the US government's weak case against the two men. Wednesday's Washington Post all but confirms the connection.
Harman has repeatedly described herself as a friend of AIPAC, and the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics says that she has received $347,688 in campaign contributions since 1989 from groups that take a pro-Israel stance. She is slated to appear on a panel to discuss "an insider's look at the Middle East" at AIPAC's May 3 policy conference.

Pelosi decided not to give Harman the chairmanship [of the House Intelligence Committee] "for ideological reasons," including Harman's decision not to oppose the war in Iraq, according to a Pelosi aide. Pelosi denied that any pro-Israel donors to the Democratic Party threatened to withhold donations if she appointed someone other than Harman to lead the committee. "Everybody knows that I don't respond to threats so it wouldn't be useful to use them, but it isn't true, no," she said.

The Justice Department decided not to proceed with a criminal case against Harman or to notify congressional leaders of the preliminary investigation because the evidence was at best murky and such cases are hard to prove, one former government official said yesterday.

The Justice Department's decision to review the case against the former lobbyists was triggered by recent court rulings that make it harder for the government to win such convictions, according to the law enforcement sources and lawyers close to the case. Those decisions included an appeals court ruling that allowed the defense to use classified information at trial. A lower-court judge also said prosecutors must show that the two men knew that the information they allegedly disclosed would harm the United States or aid a foreign government and that they knew what they were doing was illegal.
Trying to turn Harman into a co-conspirator would make the government's case much sexier and make it less likely to be dropped even if connecting Harman would not bring about a greater chance of convicting Rosen and Weissman. Fortunately, the public seems to have seen through the tactic.


At 6:33 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The case was probably intended to send a message to AIPAC. Its just as well the same Justice Department obsessed with getting the Jews has routinely lost terrorism cases - Debbie Schlussel has been following a number of them over the years. Thankfully this one now appears to be nearing the end of the legal road.


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