Sunday's bombshell article by Jeff Stein--and the New York Times' helpful follow up piece--open up so many new lines of inquiry it's hard to know where to begin. But a few things definitely stuck out at us. One question we had is why, according to Stein's story, did the NSA (and not the FBI) conduct the wiretaps? (Yesterday afternoon a couple reports emerged indicating that perhaps the FBI, and not the NSA had done the surveillance, but the Times story seems to confirm what Stein wrote).
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Why the curiosity? Well, for one thing, at the time Harman's conversation was supposedly recorded, the FBI had long been investigating the conduct of AIPAC officials under suspicion of passing on classified information and the Harman conversation allegedly involves an attempt to obstruct the DOJ's case. Harman has strenuously denied any wrongdoing, but assuming the taps were conducted in conjunction with the AIPAC investigation, this was certainly the FBI's bailiwick, and, for that matter, the FBI has real investigative capability whereas the NSA, though equipped with robust interception capability, does not. NSA furthermore is almost largely in the business of foreign intelligence surveillance, so why would they become involved?