"Itís a terribly hard job to spend a billion dollars and get your moneyís worth."
     -- George M. Humphrey, U.S. Treasury Secretary, February 23, 1954.
"According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions."
-- Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Defense Secretary, September 10, 2001.


Committing To Sibel
Posted May 30, 2005 | Link

Most of us never know when our day in the sun will come. We live out our lives with a vague sort of expectation that some day we will "make it"--that we will have some degree of happiness or comfort that will make all of our effort and sacrifice up to that point worth it. For people like Sibel Edmonds, those sacrifices have instead resulted in punishment. Let me explain why you should care.

Shortly after September 11, 2001, Sibel Edmonds began working for the FBI as a translator. She had actually applied back in 1998, but one of their processing centers lost her application. When they finally found it and read it, they discovered that in addition to her other qualifications, she could speak Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani fluently. Since Turkic languages and Farsi are the dominant languages in Iran and Afghanistan, Ms. Edmonds was quickly hired as a linguist.

Most of her part-time duties involved working with FBI special agents and her coworkers to decipher pre-9/11 intelligence that had been neglected up to that point. She seemed to enjoy her work, but quickly discovered that others in her department didn't quite share the same enthusiasm for finding the truth: several translators had been hired without the proper qualifications due to family connections in the office; translators were told to work slowly in order to justify funding requests to deal with the backlog; and they had actually let suspected criminals infiltrate the department as well.

This last development was what most worried Edmonds. While at her home one night, fellow translator Jan Dickerson and her husband Major Douglas Dickerson, stopped by to pitch Edmonds and her husband on an exclusive "front" organization that they were members of. The exclusivity of this "semi-legitimate" institution intrigued Edmonds' husband, but Edmonds knew that it was currently under FBI investigation and that she couldn't comment on either the organization or the Dickerson's invitation to join it. The membership price you might ask? Simply the tacit agreement that Edmonds agree to become an information conduit into the FBI.

To her credit, Edmonds reported all of these irregularities to her superiors at the FBI. Unfortunately, nothing was ever done about the bureaucratic efficiencies and anecdotal evidence suggests that they all still exist. The criminal activities, however, were addressed simply by firing Ms. Edmonds in the spring of 2002. She quickly filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice and held meetings in June and July 2002 with representatives of the FBI and Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

Although the FBI allegedly corroborated Edmonds' allegations in front of Senators Leahy and Grassley, the meeting did nothing to bolster her case as it slowly worked its way through the justice system. By the time the large class actions suits being driven by the 9/11 families decided to subpoena Edmonds, the DOJ finally did do one thing: they retroactively classified everything Edmonds had previously said in testimony as a "state secret." In other words, Edmonds case, the facts of it, and her own personal testimony, became classified and could not be publicly transmitted in any way. Effectively, this was a gag order, and it prevented the Edmonds case from seeing the light of day until May of 2005, when it was dismissed yet again by an Appellate Court.

In a letter from Senators Leahy and Grassley to Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine, they put a finer point on the problem behind the gagging of Ms. Edmonds:

"While the needs of national security must be weighed seriously, we fear that the designation of information as classified in some cases serves to protect the executive branch against embarrassing revelations and full accountability. We hope that is not the case here. Releasing declassified versions of these reports, or at least portions or summaries, would serve the publicís interest, increase transparency, promote effectiveness and efficiency at the FBI, and facilitate Congressional oversight. To do otherwise could damage the publicís confidence not only in the governmentís ability to protect the nation, but also in the governmentís ability to police itself."

Now, without the ability to publicly talk about her case in detail, Sibel Edmonds is on the search for one brave senator who can legally ask her to discuss her case in a secure room. Then, with her knowledge having been shared, that senator can decide to ignore it, reveal it, hold hearings, or press charges. Although we may never know what Ms. Edmonds knows, she has already revealed the following:

  • The FBI, DOJ, and State Department are all aware of criminal activity on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars and do nothing about it.
  • Organized crime is involved, foreign governments are involved, and key U.S. officials are involved.
  • Specific officials, if and when exposed, would certainly face a trial and prison.
  • The networks of terrorism, the drug trade, the arms trade, and money laundering are all very similar. Nobody wants to expose or stop one of these networks for fear of hurting the rest.
  • Sibel Edmonds appears to have uncovered enough of the apparatus of these networks to easily demonstrate their players and mechanisms to the public.

This case is really cut and dry. By playing his hand so bluntly, Ashcroft made Edmonds the golden witness. It is almost impossible to believe that she doesn't know something valuable, otherwise, we would already have heard it or the DOJ would have simply smeared her publicly. By instead keeping her at bay with a 10-foot pole for three years, the DOJ has practically admitted that she was onto something. Let's take Leahy and Grassley's advice and see what kind of "embarrassing revelations" come into play and if anyone will take "full accountability." Not in our country I'll wager. However, we do need the one bold senator to come forward and hear what she has to say. Please?

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