The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, February 03, 2008
MUST READ: Treason at the State Department. (REAL Treason)
I have been reading several stories which have come out in the last fortnight, and what appears to be hiding behind Door Number Three is one of the biggest--and most damaging--cases of treason in the history of the US. During (you guessed it) the Clinton years.
There is an FBI translator named Siebel Edmonds who is apparently telling a very complex tale--with names, dates, and particulars--which implicates senior members of the US State Department, and also DoD and CIAemployees are implicated as well). And what they gave away may be worse than all of the previous US traitors' efforts combined.
As Annie Jacobsen writes at PJM:
Two weeks ago, the London Sunday Times broke an exclusive story about FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. For five years, the U.S. government has prevented Edmonds from speaking publicly on what she knows, claiming State Secrets Privilege. The Times got the exclusive on the story, eerily titled “For Sale: West’s Deadly Nuclear Secrets,” by talking to a number of Edmonds’ close associates who were not under a gag order, and by filling in pieces of the puzzle from Sibel Edmonds herself.This may be the biggest story out there in what is a very active season of big stories. Hell this may be bigger than the assasination of Bhutto. The betrayal apparently occurred in the Clinton Administration (William Cohen and Madeline Albright may have been at the very center--and believe it or not a CIA employee named Valerie Plame was too...), but it is clear that Bush AG John Ashcroft, Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy, Republican Senator Charles Grasley, and the FBI are wanting the story covered up, because the key whistleblower has invoked the State Secrets Privalege... and no one seems to want to dig deeper. If so, the American people may never fully know what happened--but there do appear to be some cracks in the facade:
According the Times article, the U.S. government sought to gag Edmonds from revealing that corrupt government officials — specifically, State Department official Marc Grossman — were directly involved in the stealing and selling of nuclear secrets to foreign agents. In her role as translator, Edmonds listened in on, or translated, hundreds of secretly intercepted conversations between State Department officials and foreign nationals from 1996 to 2002.
Exclusively, Edmonds told the Times about an FBI case file marked 203A-WF-210023. One arm of the FBI denied the file’s existence to the Times; another arm of the FBI provided the Times with a signed document confirming its existence. All of the info in the file predates A.Q. Kahn — the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb — admitting he had been secretly selling nuclear weapons technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.
Edmonds told the Times, “I can tell you that that file and the operations it refers to did exist from 1996 to February 2002. The file refers to the counterintelligence programme [sic] that the Department of Justice has declared to be a state secret to protect sensitive diplomatic relations.” ...
... Over the weekend, the Times broke a third story on the Sibel Edmonds case. In “Tip Off Thwarted Nuclear Spy Ring Probe,” the paper linked Valerie Plame to the Edmonds case. But even more important, the paper interviewed former CIA agent Philip Giraldi, who suggested that if true, what State Department official Marc Grossman did “in violating US law on nuclear exports” could possibly constitute treason.
Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistleblower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington’s highest levels—sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage. She may be a first-rate fabulist, but Edmonds’s account is full of dates, places, and names. And if she is to be believed, a treasonous plot to embed moles in American military and nuclear installations and pass sensitive intelligence to Israeli, Pakistani, and Turkish sources was facilitated by figures in the upper echelons of the State and Defense Departments. Her charges could be easily confirmed or dismissed if classified government documents were made available to investigators.
But Congress has refused to act, and the Justice Department has shrouded Edmonds’s case in the state-secrets privilege, a rarely used measure so sweeping that it precludes even a closed hearing attended only by officials with top-secret security clearances. According to the Department of Justice, such an investigation “could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the foreign policy and national security of the United States.”
After five years of thwarted legal challenges and fruitless attempts to launch a congressional investigation, Sibel Edmonds is telling her story, though her defiance could land her in jail. After reading its November piece about Louai al-Sakka, an al-Qaeda terrorist who trained 9/11 hijackers in Turkey, Edmonds approached the Sunday Times of London. On Jan. 6, the Times, a Murdoch-owned paper that does not normally encourage exposés damaging to the Bush administration, featured a long article. The news quickly spread around the world, with follow-ups appearing in Israel, Europe, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Japan—but not in the United States.
Edmonds is an ethnic Azerbaijani, born in Iran. She lived there and in Turkey until 1988, when she emigrated to the United States, where she received degrees in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University. Nine days after 9/11, Edmonds took a job at the FBI as a Turkish and Farsi translator. She worked in the 400-person translations section of the Washington office, reviewing a backlog of material dating back to 1997 and participating in operations directed against several Turkish front groups, most notably the American Turkish Council.
The ATC, founded in 1994 and modeled on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was intended to promote Turkish interests in Congress and in other public forums. Edmonds refers to ATC and AIPAC as “sister organizations.” The group’s founders include a number of prominent Americans involved in the Israel-Turkey relationship, notably Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and former congressman Stephen Solarz. Perle and Feith had earlier been registered lobbyists for Turkey through Feith’s company, International Advisors Inc. The FBI was interested in ATC because it suspected that the group derived at least some of its income from drug trafficking, Turkey being the source of 90 percent of the heroin that reaches Europe, and because of reports that it had given congressmen illegal contributions or bribes. Moreover, as Edmonds told the Times, the Turks have “often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s spy agency, because they were less likely to attract attention.”
Over nearly six months, Edmonds listened with increasing unease to hundreds of intercepted phone calls between Turkish, Pakistani, Israeli, and American officials. When she voiced concerns about the processing of this intelligence—among other irregularities, one of the other translators maintained a friendship with one of the FBI’s “high value” targets—she was threatened. After exhausting all appeals through her own chain of command, Edmonds approached the two Department of Justice agencies with oversight of the FBI and sent faxes to Sens. Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy on the Judiciary Committee. The next day, she was called in for a polygraph. According to a DOJ inspector general’s report, the test found that “she was not deceptive in her answers.”
But two weeks later, Edmonds was fired; her home computer was seized; her family in Turkey was visited by police and threatened with arrest if they did not submit to questioning about an unspecified “intelligence matter.”
When Edmonds’s attorney filed suit to obtain the documents related to her firing, Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft imposed the state-secrets gag order. Since then, she has been subjected to another federal order, which not only silenced her, but retroactively classified the statements she eventually made before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the 9/11 Commission.
Charismatic and articulate, the 37-year-old Edmonds has deftly worked the system to get as much of her story out as possible, on one occasion turning to French television to produce a documentary entitled “Kill the Messenger.” Passionate in her convictions, she has sometimes alienated her own supporters and ridden roughshod over critics who questioned her assumptions. But despite her shortcomings in making her case and the legitimate criticism that she may be overreaching in some of her conclusions, Edmonds comes across as credible. Her claims are specific, fact-based, and can be documented in detail. There is presumably an existing FBI file that could demonstrate the accuracy of many of her charges.
Her allegations are not insignificant. Edmonds claims that Marc Grossman—ambassador to Turkey from 1994-97 and undersecretary of state for political affairs from 2001-05—was a person of interest to the FBI and had his phone tapped by the Bureau in 2001 and 2002. In the third-highest position at State, Grossman wielded considerable power personally and within the Washington bureaucracy. He had access to classified information of the highest sensitivity from the CIA, NSA, and Pentagon, in addition to his own State Department. On one occasion, Grossman was reportedly recorded making arrangements to pick up a cash bribe of $15,000 from an ATC contact. The FBI also intercepted related phone conversations between the Turkish Embassy and the Pakistani Embassy that revealed sensitive U.S. government information was being sold to the highest bidder. Grossman, who emphatically denies Edmonds’s charges, is currently vice chairman of the Cohen Group, founded by Clinton defense secretary William Cohen, where he reportedly earns a seven-figure salary, much of it coming from representing Turkey.
After 9/11, Grossman reportedly intervened with the FBI to halt the interrogation of four Turkish and Pakistani operatives. According to Edmonds, Grossman was called by a Turkish contact who told him that the men had to be released before they told what they knew. Grossman said that he would take care of it and, per Edmonds, the men were released and allowed to leave the country.
Edmonds states that FBI phone taps from late 2001 reveal that Grossman tipped off his Turkish contact regarding the CIA weapons proliferation cover unit Brewster Jennings, which was being used by Valerie Plame, and that the Turk then informed the Pakistani intelligence service representative in Washington. It is to be assumed that the information was then passed on to the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network.
Edmonds also claims that Grossman was instrumental in seeding Turkish and Israeli Ph.D. students into major American research labs by godfathering visas and enabling security clearances. She says that she reviewed transcripts in which the moles in the U.S. military and academic community involved in nuclear technology reportedly carried out several “transactions” involving the sale of nuclear material or information relating to nuclear programs every month, with Pakistan being a primary buyer. In the summer of 2000, the FBI recorded a meeting between a Turkish official and two Saudi businessmen in Detroit in which nuclear information stolen from an Air Force base in Alabama was offered: “We have a package and we’re going to sell it for $250,000,” the wiretap allegedly recorded. “The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States,” Edmonds told the Times.
This is BIG. Yes, Grossman--the object of the investigation--is an associate of Bill Cohen (i.e. probably a "Clintonian"); but whatever did take place is big enough (and damaging enough) that both political parties and lots of other folks high up in Government are going out of their way to keep it under wraps.
Keep your eyes and ears open; in an election year if a story blows wide open on something like this, it could dramatically impact the vote.