Valerie Plame Wilson Describes Sibel Edmonds Disclosures as 'Stunning' BLOGGED BY Brad Friedman ON 2/12/2008

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5685

BLOGGED BY Brad Friedman ON 2/12/2008 2:51PM
Valerie Plame Wilson Describes Sibel Edmonds Disclosures as 'Stunning'
Says She Has Been Following Recent Blockbuster Series in British Paper Concerning U.S. Nuclear Secrets Espionage, Allegations That Her Cover Company, Brewster Jennings, Was Exposed by a Former High-Ranking State Department Official as Far Back as 2001...

Former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson says the recent disclosures in the UK's Sunday Times concerning the sale of U.S. nuclear secrets to the foreign black market, as aided by high-ranking government officials, are "stunning."

The previously covert agent, who had worked in the agency's counter-proliferation division for years monitoring traffic in the nuclear black market under the guise of a cover company named Brewster Jennings until being outed by Bush Administration officials, was asked about the recent series of explosive stories in the British paper during an interview this morning with Florida radio host Henry Raines of American AM.

Those disclosures include allegations that Brewster Jennings' real identity as a CIA front company was outed to Turkish officials by then-Asst. Sec. of State for European Affairs Marc Grossman as early as 2001...

A text transcript of the interview, as well as the audio, is now posted at the end of this article.

The series of three Times stories so far has corroborated information detailed by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. Edmonds has been gagged by the Bush Administration's Department of Justice in this country under the "State Secrets Privilege" since 2002, disallowing her from speaking about her work at the bureau. In a BRAD BLOG exclusive late last year, Edmonds announced she would disclose all of the information she'd be barred from revealing to any major U.S. broadcast media outlet that would allow her to tell the full story.

Every U.S. mainstream media outlet failed to take up her offer, though the London Times contacted her through us after we ran our story. After they subsequently ran their first blockbuster in the series early last month, the story became front page news around the world, yet the U.S. media continue, incredibly enough, to ignore it.

The second and third articles in the Times series allege a "senior State Department" official participated, along with a network of moles at sensitive nuclear instillations and military bases, in the sale of nuclear secrets to American allies and enemies alike. The official has subsequently been identified as Grossman, a former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, and, at the time of the alleged disclosures, the #3 State Department official beneath Colin Powell and Richard Armitage.

Grossman, according to the Times' and Edmonds' allegations, even tipped off Turkish officials, as long ago as 2001, to the fact that Plame Wilson's Brewster Jennings was a CIA cover company. Grossman denies the charges.

While Plame Wilson offered today that she has "no insight" into the story, other than what has been published by the Times, she joined Edmonds and other whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg in her criticism of the U.S. mainstream media for failing to investigate and report on the story.

"I think it's very interesting that it's showing up across the pond and not here at all, in any of our newspapers," Plame Wilson said.

"It's fair to say that in general the American media has been extremely intimidated, it's been supine, and I think it's let the American people down," she explained, pointing to the run-up to the Iraq War when the U.S. media, "took simply what the Administration was dishing up and didn't question it, didn't analyze it, didn't go seek secondary sources. And look where we are today as a result of that."

While noting that there are "a couple of brighter spots" in the media, Plame Wilson said it's "sort of thin gruel out there right now."

Her comments echo ones made recently in an op/ed originally published by The BRAD BLOG by Ellsberg, the legendary former Defense Department official who released the explosive "Pentagon Papers" to the New York Times in the 70's. He excoriated the U.S. media in light of their failure to cover Edmonds' disclosures, charging that they were "participating in a cover-up of information."

"Many, if not most, covert operations deserve to be disclosed by a free press. They are often covert not only because they are illegal but because they are wildly ill-conceived and reckless," Ellsberg wrote in reference to the disturbing allegations in the Edmonds case. "Such activities persist, covertly, to the point of national disaster because the press neglects what our First Amendment was precisely intended to protect and encourage it to do: expose wrongdoing by officials."

Former CIA agent Philip Giraldi recently covered the latest Edmonds allegations in some depth, filling in a few details in an article titled "Found in Translation" published by American Conservative Magazine. A few days later he joined the call for additional media coverage, as well as investigations by elected officials, in a subsequent article, "Sibel Edmonds Must be Heard" published at Huffington Post.

When Raines expressed to Plame Wilson during today's interview that he felt the allegations bear further investigation she said again, "I agree! It is stunning," adding, "It's a very frustrating period...I don't have any terrific suggestions on how to get this story played in the United States."

When asked about the allegations that Grossman outed her covert Brewster Jennings network, she said she was unable to speak to those charges.

"Not only can I say, 'no comment,' but I mean 'no comment' because I don't know anything to add to it," she claimed. "Certainly during the run-up to the war and until I was outed, I was focused almost to the exclusion of anything else on just trying to run safe and effective operations, trying to figure out what the hell was going on in Iraq, what were the scientists, what were they doing, where were their secret sites."

Edmonds is currently unavailable for comment while traveling. If we're able to hear from her, we'll update this story appropriately.

BRAD BLOG articles from our own long series of coverage and exclusives on the Sibel Edmonds case can be read here.

American AM's entire interview with Plame Wilson is approximately 30 minutes. The portion during which the Edmonds allegations are discussed begins near the :20 minute mark. That section of the interview has been transcribed below, thanks to VelvetRevolution.us' Emily Levy. MP3 download here, or listen online below...
HENRY RAINES:I imagine that you still follow closely news about the topic that you were working on, the counter-proliferation.

VALERIE PLAME WILSON: Oh, absolutely. I, between that and terrorism, those are the two primary most critical threats facing our nation today.

RAINES: There's a really disturbing series of articles, investigative articles, that have been appearing in the Times of London over the last month or so, I think there've been three installments so far …

VPW: Yes, mm-hmm.

RAINES: …and there's practically a mainstream news blackout here in the United States. We've done numerous shows on it since the very first installment came out. In fact, we about a week and a half ago we interviewed the first person to have a column or article written in a American daily newspaper, which was the North Mississippi Journal. So, you know, we hear all these worries and concerns about Iran building this or …

VPW: Mm-hmm.

RAINES: … some other country building that, but the story in the Times of London front page, respected newspaper, is about the third highest person in the State Department, identified in the American Conservative as Marc Grossman …

VPW: Mm-hmm.

RAINES: … actually selling our secrets to Turkey and to Israel, and then Turkey would resell them to Pakistan …

VPW: Right. No, it's stunning. I've seen the series. I don't, right, I think it's very interesting that it's showing up across the pond and not here at all, in any of our newspapers. I have no insight into it, any more than what you're reading, but it's very interesting. But I think, I think it's fair to say that in general the American media has been extremely intimidated, it's been supine, and I think it's let the American people down. Look at the run-up to the war with Iraq, for starters, and how, again in general, they took simply what the Administration was dishing up and didn't question it, didn't analyze it, didn't go seek secondary sources. And look where we are today as a result of that. I think the media understands this and is grappling with these issues but because of consolidation and increasingly shrinking budgets, foreign and otherwise, devoted to any sort of investigative or foreign reporting, we're just going to, it's sort of thin gruel out there right now, with a couple of brighter spots, but pretty thin otherwise.

RAINES: And how would you suggest our audience can help this story see the light of day? Because it's just amazing to me, an act of, I'm not a legal scholar on this, but an act of treason, I would think, when the third highest person in the State Department is selling this, bears investigation.

VPW: I agree! It is stunning. As I've traveled across the country speaking in the last couple of months, it is clear to me that Americans of all political stripes are really hungry for information. And it comes to, it's so watered down, and you don't, of course, know the veracity of what it is you're reading, whether it's on the Internet or whether it's mainstream media. It's a very frustrating period. And I, I don't have any terrific suggestions on how to get this story played in the United States. Maybe they do have plans, I don't know if they have a sort a sister paper in the United States for it to run here.

RAINES: Well, it would be, I don't know, Fox News. It's a Rupert Murdoch paper. Wouldn't be hard to get the story out if the motivation was there. I understand from Sibel Edmonds that it is, the investigation is increasing. The Times of London is putting more resources into it because it's becoming a prestigious investigation there.

In our last couple of minutes, I want to ask you one more question related to that … because the third installment of the story deals directly, well, you can't acknowledge it directly, but is very similar to what the firestorm around you was. Because the same State Department official is alleged to have tipped off the American Turkish Council …

VPW: Mm-hmm.

RAINES: … which was going to hire a firm called Brewster Jennings, which would have given an insight into what was going on, he tipped them off and said, 'Don't hire them, they're …"

VPW: Yeah.

RAINES: "… CIA." That's got to be disturbing to you.

VPW: Not only can I say, 'No comment,' but I mean 'no comment' because I don't know anything to add to it. Certainly during the run-up to the war and until I was outed, I was focused almost to the exclusion of anything else on just trying to run safe and effective operations, trying to figure out what the hell was going on in Iraq, what were the scientists, what were they doing, where were their secret sites. For me personally it wasn't until Colin Powell, General Colin Powell, gave his speech before the U.N. in February 2003, right before the war, that, as I write in my book, it was sort of the first time that I got my head out of the operational weeds and said, "Wait a minute. What he is saying does not match with my, with my understanding and my knowledge of the intelligence on this issue." And I would, I just felt absolutely sick because I knew that what he was saying, it sounded much more robust than what it was in reality. And I just thought, uh!, I just hope someone well above me in the ranks knew, had much better access to information than I did, because it just did not match up. I felt absolutely sick at heart about it.

RAINES: I apologize to our listeners, they've been ringing off the hook but Alan and I have decided to keep Valerie Plame Wilson all to ourselves …

VPW: [laughs]

RAINES: … and we've got 60 seconds, Alan, if you want to get something else in here.

ALAN CROSS: Just real quick question. In your book Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House , I guess the question I have is, did you work as a lone operativeall by yourself, or did you have a team of people that worked for you?

VPW: I think that's one of the constructs that Hollywood constantly makes. We think of The Bourne Identity identity or James Bond, the fact is that we're, you are never alone. It is always a team effort. It is not some rogue operator out there changing into his tux to walk into some casino in Monaco. You have the analysts, you have the technical people, you have the folks that are putting together the questions, you have your surveillance team. It really is a team effort. And the people working, my former colleagues at the CIA for the most part are very smart, extremely dedicated people that right now are laboring under a heavily politicized yoke and I hope that that direction can be changed in the future.

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