Sibel Edmonds vs. the Nuclear Terrorists
This is the outline for a speech i recently delivered in my Communications class- 13 people including the teacher, no one had ever heard of her, 3 seemed uninterested/annoyed, the rest were interested, some deeply, some seemed a bit shaken up, at least 3 (including the teacher) took note of her website "justacitizen.org" when i mentioned that at the end. I'll be adapting this as a longer article with sources linked, but this outline format worked well for the speech- i practiced it about 5 times and basically just delivered the outline- 7"30'
I. If your co-worker or boss were undermining national security, would you call the FBI? Sibel Edmonds is a national security whistleblower and senior Senators have called her a credible witness. She was hired by the FBI September 21, 2001 as a contract translator, and fired March 26, 2002 after pressing allegations of corruption, espionage and coverup in the FBI’s Translation Unit. She has also alleged that a criminal network involving foreign agents and high-level US officials was trafficking in nuclear secrets and obstructed investigations into 9/11. Attorney General John Ashcroft claimed “state secrets” privilege in her case and even classified her date of birth. According to the American Civil Liberties Union she’s the most gagged person in US history, and the mainstream media have mostly ignored her story. Today I’m going to give you an account of some of her most troubling allegations, and of the response of our government and media.
II. Sibel Edmonds has been very public with her allegations involving “unclassified” evidence of wrongdoing- she alleges:
A. Supervisor Mike Feghali slowed translation work in order to justify a budget increase from Congress, right after 9/11 when agents in the field were urgently requesting translations.
B. Feghali prevented a special agent’s receiving retranslation of a document translated before 9/11; the original translation had left out information about building blueprints & pictures being sent overseas, and criminal actions in connection with VISA approval through certain mideast embassies.
C. Co-worker Melek [J]an Dickerson was connected to foreign agents that had spies in the State Department and Pentagon, and she mistranslated wiretaps and destroyed hundreds of documents related to FBI investigations of them, with the help of Feghali.
D. A 10 year Iranian intelligence asset told 2 FBI Agents and a Translator in April 2001 that Bin Laden was planning attacks on 4-5 US cities; in a few months; with planes; and some of his people were already in the country. Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism Thomas Frields sat on this information before 9/11, and after 9/11 told the agents involved to keep quiet. The translator, Behrooz Sarshar, reported this incident to the Department of Justice Inspector General.
III. In addition to this “unclassified” evidence, Sibel Edmonds has repeatedly said there were crimes uncovered by FBI investigations that were shut down in 2002, that are still classified and she has been gagged from speaking about. In October 2007 Edmonds offered to break her gag orders and discuss the classified evidence, if any US network would broadcast it unedited. None took her up on it, but in January 2008, the London Sunday Times published a 3 part series based on interviews with her and their own investigation. The series was picked up by media around the world, but ignored by the US media and government. According to the Times, Edmonds says still classified FBI investigations revealed high-level Congressional, Pentagon and State Department officials who:
A. Took bribes and arranged security clearances for Turkish and Israeli spies to be planted in academic and military institutions doing nuclear weapons research, and secrets they stole were also sold to Pakistan and resold thru AQ Khan’s nuclear black market network
B. Facilitated drug and arms trafficking, and money laundering
C. Helped to get certain 9/11 suspects deported so they couldn’t be questioned
D. And obstructed FBI investigations into all of this
IV. Now that I’ve given you a brief overview of some of Sibel Edmonds allegations, lets go back to 2002 and look at the response of our government and media then.
A. Edmonds reported these things first to her supervisor, Mike Feghali and his boss, Thomas Frields, who warned her to keep quiet. She instead filed a report with the Inspector General of the Justice Department in February and an investigation was opened. She also faxed information to various members of Congress.
B. June 17, Senior Senators Charles Grassley and Patrick Leahy of the Judiciary Committee had Edmonds & the FBI testify in unclassified hearings and the FBI confirmed the substance of these unclassified allegations. Leahy & Grassley requested, in writing, that Department of Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine, Attorney General John Ashcroft & FBI Director Robert Mueller investigate. Instead, Dickerson was allowed to leave the country, Feghali was promoted and no investigation was done, other than the limited one done by the Inspector General, which also confirmed the unclassified allegations, concluded the FBI mishandled them and recommended further investigation.
C. October 27 60 Minutes broadcast interviews with Edmonds, Senator Grassley, the FBI and others. The FBI said Dickerson was a training issue but not a spy. However, Grassley said of Edmonds, "Absolutely, she's credible...and the reason I feel she's very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story" and about the FBI he said, “It needs to be turned upside down”. CBS didn’t air her allegations of obstructed 9/11 investigations, even though they had been confirmed by Congress. Since 2002 Sibel Edmonds has been mentioned in news reporting dozens of times for different reasons, but most reporting either doesn’t mention her most serious allegations, or puts them in a context that makes them seem less serious.
D. July 2002 Edmonds sued the Department of Justice for violation of free speech rights and wrongful termination. Attorney General Ashcroft claimed “state secrets” privilege and the free speech case was dismissed. This was upheld by the Appeals Court, and the Supreme Court didn’t take her case, despite 25 public interest advocacy groups and media institutions including the American Library Association, Public Citizen, CNN and the Associated Press signing onto briefs urging them to do so. Her other case is still pending.
E. February 2004 Edmonds testified to the 9/11 Commission for 3.5 hours; in their report the only mention of this is an end note about the FBI needing to improve quality control in the Translation Unit. This, even though both Congress and the Inspector General had confirmed her allegations, they bore directly on 9/11 and national security, and many prominent people and institutions believed the “state secrets” privilege was being abused in her case.
F. March 2, 2005 the House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform held hearings on government secrecy and over-classification. Sibel Edmonds testified about these things as they related to her case, but didn’t discuss her other allegations specifically. Members of both sides pledged support for her and Henry Waxman promised to hold hearings into her case if the Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 elections. They did and he has not done so, despite substantial public pressure.
V. To summarize; Sibel Edmonds is a witness to criminal actions by public officials that amount to treason, our government is not addressing this, and the media have neglected the story while supporting her right to speak in court. I’ll conclude with a quote from Ms. Edmonds’ House testimony:
“The problems I have reported have serious consequences to our national security; and have already been confirmed by the Inspector General’s report and the inquiry of Senators Grassley and Leahy. Translation units are the frontline in gathering, translating, and disseminating intelligence. A warning in advance of the next terrorist attack may, and probably will, come in the form of a message or document in a foreign language that will have to be translated. If an attack then occurs, which could have been prevented by acting on information in such a message, who will tell family members of the new terrorist attack victims that nothing more could have been done? There will be no excuse that we did not know, because we do know.”
For more information on Sibel Edmonds, her website is JustACitizen.org