April 22nd, 2009
05:07 PM ET
14 years ago

Pelosi now says she was told Harman was picked up on wiretap

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/22/art.pelosicu0422.gi.jpg caption="Speaker Pelosi said Wednesday that she had been informed that fellow Democrat Rep. Jane Harman had been picked up on a federal wiretap."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she had been informed that Rep. Jane Harman had been picked up on a wiretap - after Tuesday telling reporters she didn't know.

According to a transcript of Pelosi's remarks at the Christian Science Monitor lunch provided by Pelosi's office, the speaker said, "A few years ago, maybe three years ago, they did brief me." She said she was not fully briefed on the nature of the conversation, but because of her leadership position she was told Harman had been overheard on a wiretap.

Pelosi did not say which agency had carried out the wiretap. A government official told CNN Harman's conversation was picked up by an FBI wiretap.

"In fact, I didn't even know if what they were talking about was real. All they said was that she was wiretapped," Pelosi said.

The speaker went on to defend Harman, a fellow California Democrat, telling reporters, "I have great confidence in Jane Harman, she is a patriotic American. She would never do anything to hurt her country."

Because the briefing was classified, Pelosi said, she was not in a position to share the information with Harman or anyone else.

The number two House Democrat, Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, told reporters that the stories about the government taping Harman's conversations gave him "great concern" and said the Justice Department needs to look into the matter.

"Hopefully they are. And I may have some conversations with the attorney general on that aspect," he said.

Hoyer also said he planned to talk to Pelosi about what action, if any, Congress needs to take.

- CNN's Jeanne Meserve contributed to this report.

Filed under: Jane Harman • Nancy Pelosi
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