Former FBI Translator Makes Shocking Allegations: Charges Top US Officials Involved in Nuclear Secrets Theft; Knew About 911

March 6, 2008

Former FBI Translator Makes Shocking Allegations
Charges Top US Officials Involved in Nuclear Secrets Theft; Knew About 911 in Advance

By Staff

A woman who has been fighting to have her charges heard for years has spoken to the Sunday Times of London in a series of stories, the first of which is headlined, "For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets."

Sibel Deniz Edmonds is a Turkish-American former FBI translator and founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). Edmonds was fired from her position as a language specialist at the FBI's Washington Field Office in March, 2002, after she accused a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving foreign nationals, alleging serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence which, she contended, presented a danger to the United States' security.

Sibel Edmonds alleges that in the course of her work for the government, she found evidence that the FBI, State Department, and the Pentagon had been infiltrated by a Turkish and Israeli-run intelligence network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. In addition, she claims that the FBI received information in April 2001, from a reliable Iranian intelligence asset, that Osama Bin Laden was planning attacks on 4-5 cities with planes, some of the people were already in the country and the attacks would happen in a few months.

Edmonds filed suit against the Department of Justice, the FBI, and several high-level officials, alleging that she was wrongfully terminated from the FBI in retaliation for reporting criminal activities committed by government officials and employees. On October 18, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the State Secrets Privilege in order to prevent disclosure of the nature of Edmonds' work on the grounds that it would endanger national security, and asked that the suit be dismissed.

On December 11, 2003, Attorney General Ashcroft, again invoking the State Secrets Privilege, filed a motion calling for Edmonds' deposition to be suppressed and for the entire case to be dismissed. The judge, seeking more information, ordered the government to produce any unclassified material relating to the case. In response, Ashcroft submitted further statements to justify the use of the State Secrets Privilege, and on May 13, 2004, took the unprecedented step of retroactively classifying as Top Secret all of the material and statements that had been provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2002 relating to Edmonds' own lawsuit, as well as the letters that had been sent by the Senators and republished by the Project On Government Oversight. (POGO.)

On June 23, 2004, the lawfulness of the retroactive reclassification was challenged in a suit filed by POGO, citing fear that the group might be retroactively punished for having published the letters on its website. The Justice Department tried, but failed, to get the suit dismissed, and said that POGO could not prove that it was being threatened with prosecution. On February 18, 2005, the day before a hearing on the case, the Justice Department, under the leadership of a new Attorney General, backed away from its claim that those particular documents were classified, and approved their release in full.

It is not clear whether this concession affects the publishability of other statements and documents relating to Edmonds; the Justice Department's gag order, of sorts, seems to remain in effect, since a court has not determined whether the department actually has the authority to retroactively reclassify the documents.

In the meantime, however, the reclassification was successful; Edmonds was barred from testifying in the 9/11 class action suit, and on July 6, 2004, her own suit was dismissed on state secrets grounds. Edmonds immediately appealed the latter decision.

The day the appeal was filed, the Inspector General released an unclassified summary of a highly classified report on an investigation that had concluded “that many of her allegations were supported, that the FBI did not take them seriously enough, and that her allegations were, in fact, the most significant factor in the FBI's decision to terminate her services. …Rather than investigate Edmonds' allegations vigorously and thoroughly, the FBI concluded that she was a disruption and terminated her contract."

But on April 21, 2005, in the hours before the hearing of her appeal, three judges issued a ruling that barred all reporters and the public from the courtroom. During the proceedings, Edmonds was not allowed into the courtroom for the hearing. On May 6, 2005, when her case was dismissed, no reason was provided, and no opinion cited.