In a potentially awkward encounter, former Rep. Jane Harman had nothing but warm praise this week for a new book by Mark Mazzetti, the New York Times reporter who once reported on her alleged collusion with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The California Democrat became the first female president and chief executive officer of the Woodrow Wilson Center in February 2011. Months later, Mazzetti began his tenure there as a scholar, during which he wrote "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth." The book was released earlier this week.
In her opening remarks at Thursday's book launch at the center, Harman said her organization gives the space for scholars such as Mazzetti, who was in attendance, to do their work.
"I like to call the Wilson Center an intellectual candy store," she said.
Mazzetti was one of many reporters who have followed aspects of Harman's career overseeing the intelligence community when she was in Congress. Congressional Quarterly reported in 2009 that the National Security Agency had recorded years earlier that Harman agreed to intervene with the administration of President George W. Bush on behalf of two former AIPAC employees under investigation for espionage.
In exchange, the Israeli agent with whom she spoke would push to help her win the House Intelligence chairmanship. She did not get the position.
At press time, Harman’s office had not responded to a request for comment on her professional relationship with Mazzetti.
"The Way of the Knife" covers the CIA's shift toward paramilitary operations in the wake of 9/11. The book discusses at length the drone-powered targeted killing campaign and has received advance praise from fellow Beltway national security journalists — Jane Mayer, Dexter Filkins and Thomas E. Ricks.