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Justice Dept.: Harman not being investigated

California Rep. Jane Harman is not the subject or a target of an ongoing criminal investigation, according to the Justice Department.
/ Source: The Associated Press

California Rep. Jane Harman is not the subject or a target of a criminal investigation, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The department's announcement answers a question that arose in April from a media report that the government had eavesdropped on the Democratic lawmaker's phone conversation with a supporter.

The leader of the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in April she had been informed several years earlier that Harman's conversation had been wiretapped. Pelosi, also a California Democrat, said she did not tell Harman at the time.

But the Justice statement does not say why Harman's phone call or phone calls were wiretapped, what was said, and who leaked alleged transcripts from the wiretap.

National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said in April that the National Security Agency had not placed the wiretap.

According to Congressional Quarterly, the supporter wanted Harman to intervene to get lenient treatment for two former pro-Israel activists who were indicted in 2005 for unlawfully possessing and disclosing classified information. All charges were dropped against the men this spring.

Harman has vehemently denied contacting the Justice Department or White House to intervene in the spy case and asked Justice to release a transcript of the intercepted phone conversation.

Despite the Justice Department reference stating only that Harman is not the subject of an "ongoing" investigation, Reid Weingarten, Harman's attorney, said he believes there was no past criminal investigation of Harman, either.

"Had there been any kind of investigative activity I would have known," he told The Associated Press Thursday.

He said he believes, however, that a transcript of the wiretap exists.