Then-CIA Director Porter Goss concluded in 2005 that Harman's wiretapped conversations with an Israeli operative were serious enough to alert lawmakers about the matter, but he was blocked from doing so by former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who allegedly wanted to protect Harman as a Bush administration ally, unnamed sources told Friday's New York Times.
The sources said Gonzales believed Harman could help the White House in its struggle with the Times over whether to publish an article revealing the administration had approved a National Security Agency program of wiretapping without warrants.
The CIA had tapped Harman's phone as part of an investigation into the dissemination of sensitive government information by pro-Israeli lobbyists to journalists and Israeli officials. The Times said Harman was overheard in the wiretaps agreeing to an Israeli agent's request that she assist two American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists accused of spying in exchange for AIPAC's endorsement of her for the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee.
Harman has publicly denied the allegations.