The Strange Case of Sibel Edmonds

For all the chest-thumping about getting tough on terrorism, there are some things that the U.S. government doesn't want you to know and the mainstream corporate-owned media are afraid to tell you.

For all the chest-thumping about getting tough on terrorism, there are some things that the U.S. government doesn't want you to know and the mainstream corporate-owned media are afraid to tell you.

Sibel Edmonds was fired from her job as an FBI translator in March 2002 after she accused a co-worker of covering up illegal activity that involved an Israeli intelligence network paying high-ranking American officials in the FBI, the State Department and the Pentagon to steal nuclear weapons secrets. That's shocking enough, but there's more.

Edmonds also accused some U.S. government officials of selling the secrets to Turkey and Pakistan, which then likely were passed on to a Pakistani engineer who helped Iran, North Korea and other rogue nations start their nuclear programs.

Additionally, part of Edmonds' job involved translating wiretaps of conversations the FBI recorded prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She alleges a longtime FBI informant provided the agency with specific information and warnings in April and June 2001 regarding the attacks, including blueprints of skyscrapers being sent to a Middle Eastern group by a cell in Nevada.

Let's make it clear: Edmonds isn't some fringe nut job or paranoid conspiracy theorist. A report by the U.S. Justice Department's inspector general described her allegations as "credible," adding that they "warrant a thorough and careful review by the FBI."

Edmonds' claims prompted the Senate to ask for an independent audit of the FBI in summer 2002. Meanwhile, she sued the Justice Department for being wrongfully terminated as a whistleblower.

In December 2003, after the issue began heating up, the Justice Department used the rarely invoked "State Secrets Privilege" to gag Edmonds and her attorneys from further talking publicly about the matters or testifying on behalf of the families of 9/11 victims who had filed a class-action lawsuit against the government. The order also prevents a congressional investigation.

Parts of Edmonds' allegations were told on CBS' 60 Minutes in late 2002, but the gag order now prevents the network from rebroadcasting the segment or digging deeper. Recently PBS' Bill Moyers' Journal mentioned the case in broad terms but deferred from giving details for fear of violating the order.

The ACLU has called Edmonds "the most gagged person in U.S. history."

She founded the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition in 2004, a group that helps federal employees reveal weaknesses in the U.S. security community. One of the workers aided was a source who revealed the National Security Agency's illegal wiretapping program in late 2005.

Supporters have started an online petition that asks Congress to launch an investigation and hold open hearings into the matters.

Meanwhile, Edmonds herself has offered to tell any major news network everything she knows — including an allegation that two well-known congressmen were involved in the corruption — if they agree to air the segment in full and unedited. So far, no one has taken her up on the offer.

Their timidity is shameful and harms the public interest and deserves its own time in the spotlight.


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