Eli Lake has the goods. This spares the pro-Israel group a painful and potentially embarrassing trial that would have prompted a new wave of commentary about The Lobby and its allegedly pernicious influence. It also makes the charge that Jane Harman would have agreed to intervene with the Justice Department on behalf of the accused former employees seem somewhat less outrageous, although there is still no evidence that she ever did so.
On the Harman side of things, a friend and former senior Hill aide raised an interesting question the other day: Why aren't more members of Congress outraged that one of their own was wiretapped? When the FBI raided the office of Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson a couple of years ago--at a time when the evidence against Jefferson already looked quite damning--members of both parties were up in arms about separation of powers and congressional peerogatives. (Even Newt Gingrich cried foul.) But not many people seem too interested in sticking up for Harman here....
Update: I may not have been clear in the first graf. I'm not saying this development makes the accusation against Harman any more credible--which, to my surprise, is how at least one person read it. I'm saying it makes her alleged, unproven willingness to defend the AIPAC employees seem less egregious than some have cast it.
I'm also reminded that some senior members of Congress have expressed outage over the Harman wiretap, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Intelligence Committee chairman Sylvester Reyes, who has called for an investigation into the matter.