Hoyer Voices Concern Over Wiretapping of Members

Posted April 22, 2009 at 11:53am

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday he had “great concern— over news reports that Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) was wiretapped during a federal probe into Israeli agents, and he vowed to personally look into whether there should be an investigation into wiretapping of Members of Congress.

“The stories that I’ve read give me great concern. I’m going to be in the process personally of finding out more about it and then, with the Speaker, determining what action, if any, needs to be taken,— Hoyer said Wednesday during a meeting with reporters.

Hoyer’s remarks come as Harman continues to fight allegations — which first appeared in Congressional Quarterly on Sunday — that she was wiretapped in 2005 during conversations with a suspected Israeli agent. The report alleged that the veteran California lawmaker agreed to seek leniency for two accused spies in return for help in lobbying Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the Intelligence Committee chairmanship.

Harman, who was passed over by Pelosi for the gavel in 2006, was the ranking member on Intelligence at the time of the alleged wiretapped conversations.

Harman has denied any wrongdoing and has tried to refocus the issue on government eavesdropping. On Tuesday, she called on the Justice Department to release transcripts of all materials related to possible wiretapped conversations between her and relevant lobbyists. She also has engaged in a media blitz to clear her name.

Hoyer said he wants more time to look at the facts and similarly called on the Justice Department to look into the matter. “Hopefully they are,— he said. “I may have some conversations with the attorney general on that aspect of it.—