Listening to Sibel Edmonds

Sibel Edmonds, the FBI Turkish translator turned whistleblower, is the most gagged person in the history of the United States.  The Justice Department under George W. Bush’s Attorney General John Ashcroft twice silenced her using the rarely employed state secrets privilege.  The government and the mainstream media have presented a united front against her, calling her a "kook" and a liar, even though the gag order in itself confirmed that she had a tale to tell about massive government corruption that was all too credible and would embarrass Democrat and Republican alike.

Sibel’s day in court came in early August when she was allowed to give a detailed deposition under oath in connection with a lawsuit filed in Ohio.  Her deposition, naming names and providing corroborating details was predictably ignored by the mainstream media but was a sensation on the blogosphere.  It led to my conducting an interview with Sibel for The American Conservative magazine, which appeared this week.

Why is Sibel’s tale important for every American and why is it being ignored by our elected officials and the Fourth Estate?  The story is important because it is about massive and systematic corruption of our elected officials and senior bureaucrats with the active connivance of the media.  Worse, the corruption was carried out by agents of several foreign governments and involved nuclear secrets stolen from American defense laboratories and military bases that were, in some cases, sold to the highest bidder.  Some of the congressmen involved are now retired and working for those very same foreign governments that stole America’s secrets. 

To those who claim that Sibel Edmonds is a fraud and that she is propagating lies for reasons of her own I would observe the following:  Sibel has been interrogated by two US Senators, by the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s Office, and by suspicious fact checkers working for the television news program 60 Minutes, for the Times of London, and for Vanity Fair.  She has been found to be a credible witness by everyone who has taken the time to talk to her and no one has ever been able to disprove any aspect of her story. 

Could it be that Sibel Edmonds is a clever and possibly even diabolical fraud artist who has manipulated me and others?  Of course it’s possible, though I would point out that she has convinced a number of skeptics that there is substance to her allegations.  I for one spent twenty years in Army intelligence and the CIA listening regularly to scoundrels, liars, and thieves spin their tales.  If Sibel Edmonds is a fabricator, she is a damned good one.  I would also note that there is a fundamental flaw to the criticism of Sibel, which is that she claims that every single statement made by her is backed up by actual documents in FBI investigative files dealing with the activities of foreign agents who were suborning our elected officials and senior bureaucrats.  She has even provided the numbers of the files.  At the end of the day, either the files and the evidence they contain are there or they are not.  If they are not, then the government should make its case publicly that fraud is being committed by Sibel and her supporters and take whatever legal action they consider to be appropriate.  I would suggest that the silence from the government over this matter in itself confirms that the allegations are true in every detail.

Why does no one want to look into Sibel’s accusations?  I would guess that it is partly because her tale involves Washington’s most powerful foreign policy lobby, that of Israel, and also the less powerful but undeniably important lobby of Turkey.   But it is also due to the fact that both Democrats and Republicans are the evildoers in her story as well as senior officials in the Pentagon and State Department who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations.  It is a can of worms that no one wants to touch, which is precisely why it should be opened and examined if the public is every to regain faith in government. 

Some of Sibel’s allegations would be extraordinary at any time and are almost hard to believe.  She reports that the CIA was covertly supporting al-Qaeda linked groups in the Balkans and central Asia right up until 9/11.  She tells how a reporter at the New York Times was fed material by senior state department official Marc Grossman who was at the time taking bribes from Turkish contacts while alerting Turkish and Pakistani intelligence officers to the fact that Valerie Plame’s company Brewster-Jennings was a CIA cover unit engaged in preventing nuclear proliferation.  Sibel names Pentagon insiders who obtained personnel information on government employees and contractors so that they could be targeted by foreign intelligence officers.  She reveals that congressman Tom Lantos was openly passing classified information on to the government of Israel and that Israel would take what it wanted and then pass the remainder on to the Turks.  Sibel describes how highly sensitive information from US defense labs would be collected by foreign graduate students carefully inserted into the labs then sold to the intelligence services of countries like Pakistan that were developing their own nuclear weapons.  She details how one married Democratic congresswoman who was bisexual was targeted by Turkish agents and filmed being seduced by a woman who was provided for her, possibly to enable blackmail to secure the congresswoman’s cooperation.    Sibel’s tale includes descriptions of how other congressmen received bribes and illegal political contributions and were rewarded by being given well-paying jobs ever after, with several of them now working for Turkish companies or as lobbyists for Turkey.  She confirms that the Bush Administration was seeking to attack Iraq long before the twin towers fell, detailing how before 9/11 several Pentagon officials discussed with the Turkish government the invasion and division of Iraq into "spheres of influence" between Washington and London.  The talks broke down when Ankara decided that it wanted its own slice of the pie.

And no one seems to care.  Congressman Henry Waxman, formerly chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, seemed interested in Sibel Edmonds’ story and appeared willing to open hearings, but his enthusiasm vanished at some point and he refused to return her calls.  Was it because Israel was involved that Waxman developed cold feet?  Was it because some of the traitors were Democrats? Quite possibly a combination of the two, though it is only my speculation.  The current chairman of the committee Edolphus Towns has displayed no interest in the Edmonds case in spite of the Obama Administration’s pledge to bring change to government.

It is clear that if the citizens of the United States are every actually to hear what Sibel Edmonds has to say it will be because the people demand it.  It is time to call one’s congressman and ask "What about Sibel Edmonds?"  It is time to write letters to the newspapers and television news media demanding that her story be told.  If there is ever to be even a minimum of accountability and a restoration of some measure of integrity in government it has to start somewhere.  Why not start by listening to Sibel Edmonds?

Author: Philip Giraldi

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is a contributing editor to The American Conservative and executive director of the Council for the National Interest.