April 21st, 2009
07:45 PM ET
14 years ago

Harman: Alleged wiretap an 'abuse of power'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A key Democrat who reportedly was overheard on a National Security Agency wiretap discussing a deal with a suspected Israeli agent has called the wiretap an "abuse of power."

Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, called on the Obama administration to release transcripts of the alleged conversations to her, saying she would make them public.

"I never had any idea that my government was wiretapping me at all," Harman said on CNN's "The Situation Room." "Three anonymous sources have told various media that this happened. And they are quoting snippets of allegedly taped conversations. So I don't know what these snippets mean. I don't know whether these intercepts were legal. And that's why I asked [Attorney General] Eric Holder to put it all out there in public."

Harman denied any wrongdoing and said she was outraged by news the National Security Agency had intercepted one of her conversations in 2005 or 2006.

"Many members of Congress talk to advocacy groups," she said. "My phone is ringing off the hook from worried members who think it could have happened to them. I think this is an abuse of power."

Allegations that Harman had made an inappropriate deal with a lobbyist for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, first surfaced several years ago, but they were given fresh currency Sunday night when the Congressional Quarterly published new details on its Web site.

Sources told CNN this week the National Security Agency intercepted a conversation that Harman was participating in, but said Harman was not the intended target of the wiretap. The wiretap was lawful, the sources said.

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Filed under: Jane Harman
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