|President of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars|
February 28, 2011 – February 28, 2021
|Preceded by||Lee Hamilton|
|Succeeded by||Mark Green|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 36th district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1999
|Preceded by||Mel Levine (redistricting)|
|Succeeded by||Steven T. Kuykendall|
January 3, 2001 – February 28, 2011
|Preceded by||Steven T. Kuykendall|
|Succeeded by||Janice Hahn|
Jane Margaret Lakes
June 28, 1945
New York City, New York, U.S.
(m. 1980; died 2011)
|Education||Smith College (BA)|
Harvard University (JD)
Jane Margaret Lakes Harman (born June 28, 1945) is the former U.S. Representative for California's 36th congressional district, serving from 1993 to 1999, and from 2001 to 2011; she is a member of the Democratic Party. Harman was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee (2002–2006), and chaired the Homeland Security Committee's Intelligence Subcommittee (2007–2011). Resigning from Congress in February 2011, Harman became President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She succeeded former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton and was the first woman to lead the organization. She stepped down in February 2021 after a decade, and is a Distinguished Scholar and President Emerita.
Early life and education
Harman was born Jane Margaret Lakes in New York City, the daughter of Lucille (née Geier) and Adolf N. Lakes. Her father was born in Poland and escaped from Nazi Germany in 1935; he worked as a medical doctor. Her mother was born in the United States and was the first one in her family to receive college education. Her maternal grandparents immigrated from Russia. Harman's family moved to Los Angeles, California when she was 4 and there she attended Los Angeles public schools, graduating from University High School in 1962. She received a bachelor's degree in government, magna cum laude, from Smith College in 1966 and served as president of the Smith College Young Democrats. Harman continued her studies at Harvard Law School, where she earned her Juris Doctor degree in 1969.
After graduating from law school, Harman – then known as Jane Lakes – married future NOAA administrator Richard A. Frank in 1969, and they had two children. They spent a short time in Switzerland, and then she worked for two years as an associate with the law firm Surrey, Karasik and Morse in Washington, DC. She began her political career by serving on the staff of Senator John V. Tunney, as his legislative assistant from 1972 to 1973. In 1973, Tunney named her his chief counsel and staff director for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights in 1975. During this time she also taught at Georgetown. When Tunney lost re-election in 1976, Harman – then known as Jane Lakes Frank – joined the Carter White House where she served as Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet. She became a special counsel to the Department of Defense from 1979 to 1980.
U.S. Representative, 1993 to 1999
Harman was first elected to Congress in 1992 and became the first Smith College graduate to be elected to Congress. From 1993 to 1999, Harman represented California's 36th district, serving in the 103rd, 104th, and 105th Congresses. In 1994, she barely survived reelection in a heavily Republican year, winning by 812 votes over Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor Susan Brooks.
1998 California gubernatorial campaign
Harman did not run for the 106th United States Congress in 1998, instead entering the 1998 California gubernatorial race.
After losing the Democratic nomination to Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis, she briefly taught public policy and international relations at UCLA as a Regents' Professor before running for and winning her old congressional seat in the 2000 election.
U.S. Representative, 2000 to 2011
Harman narrowly won her old seat in 2000, defeating Republican incumbent Steven T. Kuykendall, and was easily re-elected in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010.
Representing the aerospace center of California during her nine terms in Congress, she served on all the major security committees: six years on Armed Services, eight years on Intelligence, and eight on Homeland Security. She made numerous congressional fact-finding missions to hotspots around the world, including North Korea, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Guantanamo Bay. During her long public career, Harman has been recognized as a national expert at the nexus of security and public policy issues. She received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal in 1998, the CIA Agency Seal Medal in 2007, and the CIA Director's Award, and the Director of National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal in 2011.
2009 wiretap/AIPAC allegations
In 2009, it was revealed NSA wiretaps reportedly intercepted a 2005 phone call between Harman and an agent of the Israeli government, in which Harman allegedly agreed to lobby the Justice Department to reduce or drop criminal charges against two employees of AIPAC in exchange for increased support for Harman's campaign to chair the House Intelligence Committee.
Harman denied the allegations, and called for the government to release the full transcript of the wire-tapped conversation, something they never did. In June 2009, Harman received a letter from the Justice Department and House Ethics Committee declaring her "neither a subject nor a target of an ongoing investigation by the Criminal Division." The espionage charges were later dropped on the two employees from AIPAC.
Harman is on most issues a liberal, earning a 95% rating from the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action. On intelligence and defense issues, Ben Pershing described her as a centrist. For example, she was one of many Democrats who supported the Iraq War. Harman has combined a moderate stance on economic, trade, and foreign policy issues with liberal stances on social issues.
Harman was a co-sponsor of the Armenian genocide recognition resolution bill in 2007. However, while still cosponsoring the bill, she wrote a letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Tom Lantos urging him to delay a floor vote on the legislation. Her argument was that while the genocide deserved recognition, it was not a good time to embarrass Turkey, given that country's role in moderating extremism in the Middle East.
Harman served as a member of the Defense Policy Board, the State Department Foreign Affairs Policy Board, the Director of National Intelligence’s Senior Advisory Group, and the Homeland Security Advisory Council. She was a member of the CIA External Advisory Board from 2011 to 2013. Harman is a Trustee of the Aspen Institute and an Honorary Trustee of the University of Southern California. She also serves on the Presidential Debates Commission and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and is a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One.
Harman's first marriage was to Richard Frank, in 1969, with whom she had two children. Her second marriage was to audio pioneer and multi-millionaire Sidney Harman, who served from 1977 to 1979 as the Undersecretary of the Department of Commerce in the Carter administration before repurchasing the company he founded, Harman International Industries, and later taking it public. She also had two children with him. She has eight grandchildren.
Sidney Harman retired in 2008 from Harman Industries, purchased Newsweek Magazine in 2010, and founded the Academy for Polymathic Study at USC before he died in April 2011. Harman maintains her residence in Venice Beach, California and has homes in Washington, DC and Aspen, CO.
- List of Jewish members of the United States Congress
- Women in the United States House of Representatives
- Harman, Jane (2021). Insanity Defense: Why Our Failure to Confront Hard National Security Problems Makes Us Less Safe (First ed.). New York. ISBN 9781250758774.
- "The Fix - Jane Harman to resign from Congress". Washington Post. February 7, 2011.
- Current Women Members Archived May 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- Wilgoren, Jodi (May 5, 1998). "Harman: A Focus for Her Ambitions". Los Angeles Times.
- "jane harman". freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- "Sophia Smith Collection - Jane Lakes Harman". smith.edu. Retrieved December 7, 2019.
- "Jane Harman - Jewish Women's Archive". jwa.org. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- "Harman, Jane L. – Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. 2007. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
- "House Rep. Flip-Flops On Armenian Genocide Stance". CBS. Associated Press. October 10, 2007.
- Healey, John (October 5, 2007). "Harman flip-flops on Armenian genocide resolution". LA Times.
- "Issue One – ReFormers Caucus".
- Jane, Harman. "Jane Harman Papers, 1960-1998 (ongoing) (bulk 1993-1998) Finding Aid". asteria.fivecolleges.edu. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- Shapiro, Taylor (2011). Arts Patron, Industrialist Sidney Harman Dies At 92 The Washington Post. April 13, 2011.
- U.S. Congresswoman Jane Harman official U.S. House website
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Jane Harman papers at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College
- Aspen Strategy Group members at The Aspen Institute