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A Summary of Sibel Edmonds

 updated September 19, 2009

Sibel Edmonds
Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds is widely known as one of the most officially silenced individuals in modern history, for the amount of information she is blocked from disclosing relating to corruption in the United States Government.

This article details issues including her being blocked under the "State Secrets Privilege" from testifying on behalf of September 11 victims, as well as from disclosing information related to government narcotics and weapons dealing.

Sibel Edmonds is now the Founder and President of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, with over 70 members being from intelligence and law enforcement agencies including the FBI, CIA, DIA, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Department of Homeland Security, with the average years of professional experience of its members being 21 years.

A Summary of Issues Regarding Sibel Edmonds

Following is a summary of the information from the Complete 9/11 Timeline regarding Sibel Edmonds. The expanded version of this information with complete references is detailed at the end of this page.

On September 20, 2001, Sibel Edmonds was hired by the FBI in the wake of the 9/11 Attacks as a contract translator for Turkish, Azerbaijani and Farsi languages.  Immediately after starting her job, she saw patterns of deliberate failures in the Agency, as when she was told to slow her work in order for the Department to have an excuse to hire more translators, and when her requests to have important 9/11 material re-translated were blocked.

In December of 2001 she was asked to review more than 40 wiretaps with references to large scale drug shipments and other crimes, and soon after she was actually invited to to join the groups being involved in those activities. After going to her supervisors with important information related to this corruption, she was threatened to keep quiet about the matters. On February 12, 2002, she submitted a memo about the matters anyway and was subsequently informed that she was being investigated by the Bureau Security Department, and subtle threats were made to the safety of her family in Turkey.

Harassment of Sibel Edmonds by the Government continually increased. Her husband recalls March 7, 2002, about FBI agents sitting at an adjacent table at a restaurant: “They just sat and stared at Sibel, They didn't eat or drink—just sat, staring at Sibel, the whole time we were there.”

On March 22, 2002, she was told be a co-worker, "In less than an hour you will be fired, you whore." Then an agent escorts her from the building and tells her: "We will be watching you and listening to you. If you dare to consult an attorney who is not approved by the FBI, or if you take this issue outside the FBI to the Senate, the next time I see you, it will be in jail.”

On February 11, 2004, she testifies before the 9/11 Commission in a specially constructed "bug-proof" room for three and a half hours. Later she was quoted as saying “I gave [the commission] details of specific investigation files, the specific dates, specific target information, specific managers in charge of the investigation. I gave them everything so that they could go back and follow up. This is not hearsay. These are things that are documented. These things can be established very easily. ... There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used but not specifically about how they would be used and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities with skyscrapers."

On May 19, 2004 Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the "State Secrets Privilege," forbidding Edmonds from testifying in a case brought by families of hundreds of September 11 victims, and lawsuits are later rejected on the argument that allowing the cases to proceed would jeopardize National Security.

On August 15, 2005 she goes public with information showing how government drug and weapons smuggling are undermining US counterterrorism efforts.

Later, her allegations are vindicated by numerous Government officials, although the Supreme Court later declines without comment to hear any case brought by her.

Although Sibel Edmonds' gag orders have rendered her testimony blocked from courts of law, she has gone on to create the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, an organization with over 70 members from intelligence and law enforcement agencies including the FBI, CIA, DIA, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Department of Homeland Security. Also she has been the subject of a recent award winning documentary "Kill the Messenger."

Recent sworn deposition testifying about knowledge of crimes involving government officials

From an August 8, 2009 article by Eric Larson:

Sibel Edmonds gave a sworn deposition in which she testified to her knowledge of treasonous crimes and corruption involving current and former members of Congress and State and Defense Dept. officials. Given the nature of the deposition, the lines of questioning focused on Turkish espionage and services obtained through bribery and blackmail by Turkish officials and proxies. However, Edmonds has previously disclosed that the corruption involving U.S. officials also includes money laundering, trafficking in drugs, arms and nuclear secrets, U.S. support for Bin Laden/Al Qaeda, and obstruction of FBI investigations related to 9/11, before and after the attacks; she said these things came up “briefly” during the deposition. Edmonds learned of these things from wiretaps she listened to while working as a translator for the FBI in 2001-2002 ...

Read the entire article here ..

Video: Sibel Edmonds Speaks with Daniel Ellsberg
View video page  >>
running time 2 minutes 14 seconds
Sibel Edmonds speaks with Daniel Ellsberg about the prevailing attitude in the government of people not wanting to know the truth about corruption in their agencies. She explains that it is a much deeper issue than incompetence as issues are being prevented from being perused.

Edmonds sites as an example the Special Agent witnesses who have come to her with important information about corruption, and how there is nowhere to take them for them to make their claims.

”If Ashcroft is willing to publicly gag the Congress, imagine what he is doing behind closed doors?” She asks.

Audio: An Interview with Sibel Edmonds
View audio page  >>
recorded January 17, 2006, running time 38 minutes 16 seconds
Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds speaks with radio host Alex Jones, discussing issues of corruption in government agencies and difficulties faced by those who who would like to come forward with information about such corruption, among many other issues.

Edmonds gives a brief history of the difficulties she had experienced while being an FBI translator, explaining that she wanted to come forward with information she had learned about corruption in the government relating to the 9/11 attacks and other issues such as government narcotics trafficking.

Edmonds is the founder of the National Security Whistleblower Coalition, which has many members who have previously come forward with information about corruption in the government and then had been publicly "gagged" or fired for doing so. The members have an average of 21 years of experience in the intelligence agencies of the US government.

She also speaks about a large amount of people who have approached her who have information relating to the 9/11 attacks but were ignored by the 9/11 Commission.

Also spoken about is how many government officials who have been fired for being involved in corrupt activities then go on to become very highly paid lobbyists afterwards.

The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition

Sibel Edmonds is the Founder and President of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, with over 70 members being whistleblowers from intelligence and law enforcement agencies including the FBI, CIA, DIA, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Department of Homeland Security. Members are veteran agents and analysts of those agencies, each with an average amount of experience of in those agencies of 21 years who have come out to point out wrongdoing, government waste, fraud, and criminal activities. In many cases the members have been retaliated against, gagged, or fired for speaking out. The organization is trying to get congress to pay attention to the issues of whistleblowers and provide them with protection.

View the official website of the National Security Whistleblowers coalition:

Timeline of Events for Sibel Edmonds

Quoted passages in this section are taken from Cooperative Research's "Complete 9/11 Timeline", unless otherwise noted.  The originating page with this content may be viewed here.

"July-August 2001: Translator Alleges FBI Agent Is Deliberately Deceived Regarding Skyscraper Warning"

"FBI translator Sibel Edmonds .. will make some allegations of serious FBI misconduct, but the specifics of these allegations will be generally publicly unknown due to a gag order placed on her. However, in comments made in 2004 and 2005, she will allege that in July or August 2001, an unnamed FBI field agent discovers foreign documentation revealing 'certain information regarding blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas. It also reveal[s] certain illegal activities in obtaining visas from certain embassies in the Middle East, through network contacts and bribery.' The document is in a foreign language and apparently the agent isn’t given an adequate translation of it before 9/11. Approximately one month after 9/11, the agent will suspect the original translation is insufficient and will ask the FBI Washington Field Office to retranslate it. The significant information mentioned above will finally be revealed, but FBI translation unit supervisor Mike Feghali will decide not to send this information back to the field agent. Instead, Feghali will send a note stating that the translation was reviewed and the original translation was accurate. The field agent will never receive the accurate translation. This is all according to Edmonds’ letter. She will claim Feghali 'has participated in certain criminal activities and security breaches, and [engaged] in covering up failures and criminal conducts within the department...' While the mainstream media will not yet report on this incident, in January 2005 an internal government report will determine that most of Edmonds’ allegations have been verified and none of them could be refuted. [Edmonds, 8/1/2004; Anti-War (.com), 8/22/2005] "

"September 20, 2001: FBI Hires Sibel Edmonds as Contract Translator"

"The FBI hires Turkish-American Sibel Edmonds as a contract translator for Turkish, Azerbaijani, and Farsi. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the FBI is desperately seeking qualified individuals to translate backlogged wiretaps and help authorities interview detained suspects. [Anti-War (.com), 7/1/2004] Before 9/11, there was not a single Turkish-language specialist at the bureau. [Vanity Fair, 9/2005] Fluent in both Turkish and Azerbaijani, Edmonds works as a 'linguist' in those languages. For Farsi, which Edmonds hasn’t spoken in 25 years, she is only a 'monitor.' (An FBI translator is either a 'linguist' or a 'monitor' for any given language. Linguists are more qualified and consequently have broader roles. For example, while linguists can do verbatim translations, monitors may only produce summaries. [Anti-War (.com), 7/1/2004] ) As a contract translator, Edmonds is given a flexible schedule. On average she will work four evenings a week logging between 10 and 25 hours weekly. Almost 75 percent of her work will relate to pre-9/11 intelligence. [Anti-War (.com), 7/1/2004] The work of FBI translators is very important because the translator is often the bureau’s first filter that incoming intelligence must pass through. It is the responsibility of translators to decide what needs to be translated verbatim, what can simply be summarized, and what can be dismissed as not pertinent. In making these decisions, translators are not required to consult field agents or analysts. [Anti-War (.com), 7/1/2004] In fact, agents can’t even access the translation area unless they are escorted by a translator. [WorldNetDaily, 1/7/2004; United Press International, 3/31/2004] A translator’s decision to mark a wiretap as 'not pertinent' is usually final. Though all documents and transcripts are supposed to be reviewed by at least two translators, this never actually happens, according to Edmonds, even after 9/11. [Anti-War (.com), 7/1/2004] "

"September 20, 2001 and After: FBI Translator Sees Pattern of Deliberate Failure"

"Immediately after beginning her job as an FBI translator, Sibel Edmonds encounters a pattern of deliberate failure in her department. Her supervisor, Mike Feghali, allegedly says, 'Let the documents pile up so we can show it and say that we need more translators and expand the department.' She claims that if she was not slowing down enough, her supervisor would delete her work. Meanwhile, FBI agents working on the 9/11 investigation would call and ask for urgently needed translations. In January 2002, FBI officials will tell government auditors that translator shortages are resulting in 'the accumulation of thousands of hours of audio tapes and pages' of material that has not been translated. [Washington Post, 6/19/2002] After she discloses this in an October 2002 interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Senator Charles Grassley (R) says of her charges, 'She’s credible and the reason I feel she’s very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story.' He points out that the speed of such translation might make the difference between an attack succeeding or failing. [CBS News, 10/25/2002; New York Post, 10/26/2002] An investigation by the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s Office (see ) will also find Edmonds credible. "

"(After September 14, 2001-October 2001): FBI Translation Supervisor Blocks Agent’s Request to Have Certain 9/11-Related Material Re-Translated"

"One of Sibel Edmond’s main assignments as a contract FBI translator is to expedite requested translations from field agents. Shortly after she is hired by the FBI, an Arizona field agent requests that certain material be re-translated. He is concerned that the original translation may not have been thorough enough. When she does the re-translation, she discovers that it contains information extremely relevant to the September 11 attacks, including references to 'blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas' It also 'reveals certain illegal activities in obtaining visas from certain embassies in the Middle East, through network contacts and bribery' (see July-August 2001). [Edmonds, 8/1/2004] After re-translating the documents, she goes to supervisor Mike Feghali and says, 'I need to talk to this agent over a secure line because what we came across in this retranslating is gigantic, it has specific information about certain specific activity related to 9/11.' But Feghali refuses to send the retranslation to the same agent, telling her, 'How would you like it if another translator did this same thing to you? The original translator is going to be held responsible.' The agent never receives the re-translation he requested from Edmonds. Instead he is told by the Washington field office that the original translation is fine. [Boston Globe, 7/5/2004; Edmonds, 8/1/2004] "

"Early December 2001: FBI Wiretaps Reveal that Turkish Groups Attempted to Bribe Congress Persons in Late 1990s"

"Chicago FBI special agent Joel Robertz contacts FBI contract linguist Sibel Edmonds and asks her to review more than 40 wiretaps, some of which are several years old. The wiretaps include what Sibel believes are references to large scale drug shipments and other crimes. The targets of these recordings are individuals at Chicago’s Turkish Consulate and the American-Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations. She also finds evidence of attempts to bribe members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, during the late 1990s (see Late 1990s-Early 2001). [Vanity Fair, 9/2005; Anti-War (.com), 8/15/2005] "

"December 2, 2001: FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Invited by Co-Worker to Become Member of Group that Is Under Federal Investigation"

"FBI translator Sibel Edmonds receives a call from co-worker Melek Can Dickerson, whom she barely knows. Dickerson says she and her husband Douglas Dickerson are in the area and would like to stop by for a visit. [Vanity Fair, 9/2005] Douglas is a US Air Force major who procures weapons from the US for various Central Asian and Middle Eastern governments. [Anti-War (.com), 8/15/2005] 'I’m in the area with my husband and I’d love you to meet him. Is it OK if we come by?' Edmonds recalls Dickerson saying. When the couple arrives, Douglas Dickerson encourages Edmonds and her husband Matthew Edmonds to join the American-Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA). Joining the organizations would get them tied in with a network of high-level people, including officials at the Turkish Embassy. When Sibel’s husband Michael suggests that there are probably strict eligibility requirements for becoming a member of this organization, Douglas says to Sibel, 'All you have to do is tell them who you work for and what you do and you will get in very quickly.' Sibel attempts to steer the conversation toward another topic. As part of her job at the FBI, some of the wiretapped conversations she translates involve the very same people the Dickersons are describing as 'high-level friends.' She is concerned that the ultimate goal of the Dickersons’ offer is to get Sibel involved in espionage and to help shield those groups from FBI surveillance. [Vanity Fair, 9/2005; Washington Post, 6/19/2002; New York Observer, 1/22/2004; CBS News, 10/25/2002] 'They wanted to sell me for the information I could provide,' she later explains in an interview. They promised her she would receive enough to 'live a very comfortable life wherever we wanted. We would never have to work again.' [Anti-War (.com), 7/1/2004] "

"(Early 2002): FBI Whistleblower Threatened with Investigation"

At some point during Sibel Edmonds’ effort to report her concerns about potentially major security breaches in the FBI’s translation department (see, e.g., December 2, 2001), she is told by a superior in the counterintelligence squad: 'I’ll bet you’ve never worked in government before. We do things differently. We don’t name names, and we usually sweep the dirt under the carpet.' [New York Observer, 1/22/2004] On another occasion, an assistant special agent allegedly tells her: 'Do you realize what you are saying here in your allegations? Are you telling me that our security people are not doing their jobs? Is that what you’re telling me? If you insist on this investigation, I’ll make sure in no time it will turn around and become an investigation about you.' [CBS News, 10/25/2002]

"Afternoon February 12, 2002: FBI Translator Submits Formal Memo Alleging Security Breaches by Co-Worker in Department"

"FBI translator Sibel Edmonds submits a confidential memo (see Between February 1, 2002 and February 11, 2002) alleging that co-translator Melek Can Dickerson shielded Turkish officials from an FBI investigation by failing to translate important wiretapped conversations. Edmonds’ supervisor, Stephanie Bryan, passes the memo onto supervisory special agent Tom Frields. But Frields says he will not look at the memo until after Dickerson and supervisor Mike Feghali have reviewed and commented on it. Shortly after submitting the memo, Edmonds is informed that she is being investigated by the bureau’s security department because she wrote the memo on a home computer, even though she had received explicit permission to do so (see Between February 1, 2002 and February 11, 2002). Before leaving the office, Dickerson allegedly comes over to her and says, 'Why are you doing this, Sibel? Why don’t you just drop it? You know there could be serious consequences. Why put your family in Turkey in danger over this?' [Vanity Fair, 9/2005; New York Observer, 1/22/2004] The following day, three FBI agents come to the home of Sibel and Matthew Edmonds and seize their computer. [Vanity Fair, 9/2005; Associated Press, 1/14/2005] "

"(February 13, 2002): FBI Translations Supervisor Dismisses Allegations by Whistleblower in Memo to Superiors"

"Mike Feghali, the supervisor of the FBI’s translations center, writes in a memo to his superiors that 'there was no basis' for Sibel Edmonds’s allegations (see Afternoon February 12, 2002) that FBI translator Melek Can Dickerson had shielded Turkish officials from FBI investigation by failing to provide field agents with accurate transcripts of wiretapped conversations. [Vanity Fair, 9/2005]"

"March 7, 2002: FBI Whistleblower under FBI Surveillance"

"Sibel Edmonds meets with James Caruso, the FBI’s deputy assistant director for counterterrorism and counter-intelligence, to discuss her allegations against co-worker Melek Can Dickerson (see Afternoon February 12, 2002). Caruso takes no notes and asks no questions as Edmonds tells him her story. After the meeting, she has lunch with her husband at the Capital Grille. As the Edmondses look over their menus, two men arrive in an FBI-issue SUV and sit down at an adjacent table. 'They just sat and stared at Sibel,' Matthew Edmonds later recalls in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine. 'They didn’t eat or drink—just sat, staring at Sibel, the whole time we were there.' [Vanity Fair, 9/2005]"

"March 22, 2002: FBI Whistleblower Fired after Alleging Security Breaches in Translations Department"

"FBI translator Sibel Edmonds is called to the office of Stephanie Bryan, the supervisor of the Bureau’s translation department. While waiting she sees Mike Feghali, who, according to Edmonds, 'tap[s] his watch and say[s], ‘In less than an hour you will be fired, you whore.’' A few minutes later, she meets with supervisory special agent Tom Frields who dismisses her on grounds that she violated security procedures. [Vanity Fair, 9/2005] An agent then escorts her out of the building and tells her: 'We will be watching you and listening to you. If you dare to consult an attorney who is not approved by the FBI, or if you take this issue outside the FBI to the Senate, the next time I see you, it will be in jail.' [New York Observer, 1/22/2004] "

"June 17, 2002: FBI Acknowledges Some Allegations by FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds"

"In a lengthy unclassified hearing held by the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI officials confirm translator Sibel Edmond’s allegations that co-worker Melek Can Dickerson had either mistranslated or incorrectly marked 'not pertinent' hundreds of wiretapped telephone conversations involving certain surveillance targets with whom she had become friends (see (November 2001)). They also acknowledge that she had attempted to take control over all translation assignments involving those targets (see November 2001 or December 2001). The targets worked at the American-Turkish Council (ATC), where Dickerson was an intern before taking her job at the FBI. The FBI confirms also that Dickerson had failed to disclose this information on her application (see also (Late October 2001)), but nonetheless attributes her failure to translate these wiretaps to lack of training. [Leahy and Grassley, 6/19/2002; Vanity Fair, 9/2005; United Press International, 1/24/2005; Washington Post, 6/19/2002] One of the participants of the hearing will later tell the New York Observer that the session was tense. 'None of the FBI officials’ answers washed, and they could tell we didn’t believe them.' He remembers that one of the Congressional investigators told the officials, 'You basically admitted almost all that Sibel alleged, yet you say there's no problem here. What's wrong with this picture?' [New York Observer, 1/22/2004] "

"September 9, 2002: FBI Translator and Air Force Major, Both the Targets of Federal Investigations, Leave Country with Government Approval"

"FBI translator Melek Can Dickerson and her husband Douglas Dickerson leave the country. Douglas, a US Air Force major who procures weapons from the US for various Central Asian and Middle Eastern countries, has been reassigned to Belgium to work on a NATO-related assignment. [Vanity Fair, 9/2005; Anti-War (.com), 7/1/2004] The Dickersons had been recently subpoenaed in Sibel Edmonds’ lawsuit against the FBI (see June 2002) and are the subject of three separate investigations: one by the Air Force Office of Special Investigation, one by the Department of Justice, and the third by the Senate Judiciary Committee. [Anti-War (.com), 8/22/2005] The FBI, under court order not to allow the couple to leave the country, requires that Douglas Dickerson swear under oath that he will return if requested by the court. [Vanity Fair, 9/2005; Anti-War (.com), 7/1/2004]"

"February 11, 2004: FBI Whisteblower Tells 9/11 Commission that Wiretapped Conversionations Pertaining to the Attacks Were Not Translated"

"Sibel Edmonds testifies before the 9/11 Commission in a specially constructed 'bug-proof' secure room for three and a half hours, describing in detail problems she witnessed while working as an FBI linguist (see, e.g., September 20, 2001 and After, (After September 14, 2001-October 2001), Early October 2001, (Late October 2001), (November 2001), and December 2, 2001). A month later, she tells the Independent: 'I gave [the commission] details of specific investigation files, the specific dates, specific target information, specific managers in charge of the investigation. I gave them everything so that they could go back and follow up. This is not hearsay. These are things that are documented. These things can be established very easily. ... There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used but not specifically about how they would be used and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities with skyscrapers" (see April 2001). [Independent, 4/2/2004] In its final report (see July 22, 2004), the 9/11 Commission will make no mention of the problems Edmonds witnessed with the FBI’s translation unit, save for a single footnote. [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 222; Edmonds, 8/1/2004] One month earlier, a reporter had asked one of the Democratic commissioners about the Edmonds case, and he replied, 'It sounds like it’s too deep in the weeds for us to consider, we’re looking at broader issues.' [New York Observer, 1/22/2004] "

"May 19, 2004: Previously Public Information about FBI Whistleblower Is Now Classified"

"Attorney General John Ashcroft again invokes the 'State Secrets Privilege,' forbidding former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds from testifying in a case brought by hundreds of families of September 11 victims (see October 18, 2002). [New York Times, 5/20/2004] Four weeks earlier, on April 26, the Justice Department had obtained a temporary court order preventing her from testifying before the court. [Independent, 4/2/2004; Government Executive, 4/30/2004] The families, represented by the law firm Motley-Rice, alleges that a number of banks and two members of the Saudi royal family provided financial support to al-Qaeda. [New York Times, 5/20/2004] Ashcroft’s order retroactively classifies information it provided senators Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy (see June 17, 2002) concerning former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds and her allegations. Among the documents to be 'reclassified' are the follow-up letters sent by Grassley and Leahy to the FBI which they posted on their website. Their staff members are now prohibited from discussing the information, even though it is now public knowledge. The order bars Edmonds from answering even simple questions like: 'When and where were you born?,' 'What languages do you speak?,' and 'Where did you go to school?' [Vanity Fair, 9/2005; Asia Times, 8/6/2004; Boston Globe, 7/5/2004; New York Times, 5/20/2004] In response to the announcement, Grassley says: 'I think it’s ludicrous, because I understand that almost all of this information is in the public domain and has been very widely available. This classification is very serious, because it seems like the FBI would be attempting to put a gag order on Congress.' [New Republic, 6/7/2004] "

"July 6, 2004: FBI Translator Whistleblower Lawsuit Dismissed"

"US District Judge Reggie B. Walton, appointed by George W. Bush, dismisses Sibel Edmonds’ lawsuit (see June 2002) against the Justice Department, accepting the government’s argument that allowing the case to proceed would jeopardize national security [CNN, 7/7/2004; Associated Press, 7/6/2004] and infringe upon its October 2002 declaration (see October 18, 2002) that classified everything related to Edmonds’ case. Walton refuses to explain his ruling, insisting that to do so would expose sensitive secrets. 'The Court finds that the plaintiff is unable to establish her First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and Privacy Act claims without the disclosure of privileged information, nor would the defendants be able to defend against these claims without the same disclosures ... the plaintiff’s case must be dismissed, albeit with great consternation, in the interests of national security,' Walton says in his ruling. [CNN, 7/7/2004] Walton never heard evidence from Edmonds’ lawyers. [Associated Press, 7/6/2004; Associated Press, 7/7/2004] "

"(July 8, 2004): DOJ Inspector General Report Supports FBI Translator’s Allegations"

"Glenn A. Fine, the Justice Department’s inspector general, completes his report on Sibel Edmonds’ allegations (see Afternoon March 7, 2002). The 100-page report determines that 'many of Edmonds’ core allegations relating to the co-worker [Melek Can Dickerson] were supported by either documentary evidence or witnesses' and concludes that 'the FBI did not, and still has not adequately investigated these allegations.' Additionally, Fine’s report concludes that Edmonds was fired because she was having a 'disruptive effect,' which could be attributed to 'Edmonds’ aggressive pursuit of her allegations of misconduct, which the FBI did not believe were supported and which it did not adequately investigate.' Fine adds, '[A]s we described throughout our report, many of her allegations had basis in fact. We believe ... 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.' The report is immediately classified by the FBI. Not even Edmonds is allowed to see the contents. An unclassified 37-page summary of the report will be released in January 2005. [Washington Post, 7/9/2004; Associated Press, 7/30/2004; Vanity Fair, 9/2005; Associated Press, 1/14/2005; CNN, 1/14/2005; New York Times, 1/15/2005] "

"July 29, 2004: FBI Letter Vindicates Many of Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds’ Allegations"

"A letter by FBI Director Robert Mueller regarding FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is leaked to the media. Edmonds has made some very serious allegations about the FBI, including claims of important missed 9/11 warnings and the existence of a foreign spy ring inside US government agencies. Mueller’s letter reveals that a highly classified Justice Department report on Edmonds has concluded that her allegations 'were at least a contributing factor in why the FBI terminated her services.' This report also criticizes the FBI’s failure to adequately pursue her allegations of espionage. An anonymous official states that the report concludes that some of her allegations were shown to be true, others cannot be corroborated because of a lack of evidence, and none of her accusations were disproved. [New York Times, 7/29/2004] "

"August 1, 2004: FBI Whistleblower Sends Scathing Letter to Chairman of 9/11 Commission"

"Sibel Edmonds writes a blistering critique of the 9/11 Commission’s final report in a letter to the commission’s chairman Thomas Kean. She says the commission failed to investigate and report the information she provided in February (see February 11, 2004) regarding the problems she witnessed while working as a contract translator in the FBI’s translation unit. She also explains why she thinks the attacks were not stopped and why the government will not prevent future attacks. 'If Counterintelligence receives information that contains money laundering, illegal arms sale, and illegal drug activities, directly linked to terrorist activities; and if that information involves certain nations, certain semi-legit organizations, and ties to certain lucrative or political relations in this country, then, that information is not shared with Counterterrorism, regardless of the possible severe consequences. In certain cases, frustrated FBI agents cited ‘direct pressure by the State Department,’ and in other cases ‘sensitive diplomatic relations’ is cited. ... Your hearings did not include questions regarding these unspoken and unwritten policies and practices. Despite your full awareness and understanding of certain criminal conduct that connects to certain terrorist related activities, committed by certain US officials and high-level government employees, you have not proposed criminal investigations into this conduct, although under the laws of this country you are required to do so. How can budget increases address and resolve these problems, when some of them are caused by unspoken practices and unwritten policies?' [Edmonds, 8/1/2004] "

"April 2005: Federal Appeals Court Upholds Use of ‘State Secrets Privilege’ to Block Suit Against DOJ Brought by Former Translator"

"The DC federal appeals court rules in favor of the attorney general’s use of the state-secrets privilege (see October 18, 2002 and May 19, 2004) to prevent the court from hearing Sibel Edmonds’ lawsuit (see June 2002). Lawyers for the Justice Department had addressed the judge behind sealed doors. [Vanity Fair, 9/2005] "

"(July 31, 2005): Air Force Office of Special Investigation Re-Opens Investigation into Former Whistleblower’s Allegations"

"The Air Force’s Office of Special Investigation sends word to Sibel Edmonds’ attorney Mark Zaid that it is reopening the investigation into Edmonds’ former co-worker Melek Can Dickerson and her husband, Douglas Dickerson. Edmonds had warned her superiors in early 2002 that the couple was involved in espionage (see December 4, 2001). Journalist David Rose, who recently authored a lengthy piece on the Sibel Edmonds case for Vanity Fair magazine, believes the investigation may have been re-opened in part because of that article and because he submitted about 150 different questions about the case to the Air Force and other parts of the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and the FBI. [Democracy Now!, 8/10/2005] "

"August 15, 2005: Former FBI Translator Says Government Ties to Drugs- and Weapons- Smuggling Undermines US Counterterrorism Efforts"

"In an interview with Christopher Deliso of, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds says that the US government—the State Department in particular—consistently blocks counterterrorism investigations that come too close to certain top-level people. 'We go for the Attas and Hamdis—but never touch the guys on the top. ... [It] would upset ‘certain foreign relations.’ But it would also expose certain of our elected officials, who have significant connections with high-level drugs- and weapons- smuggling—and thus with the criminal underground, even with the terrorists themselves. ... [A]ll of these high-level criminal operations involve working with foreign people, foreign countries, the outside world—and to a certain extent these relations do depend on the continuation of criminal activities.' Edmonds says that the government’s investigation into the financing of al-Qaeda is a case in point. 'You know, they are coming down on these charities as the finance of al-Qaeda. ... [But] a very small percentage comes from these charity foundations. The vast majority of their financing comes from narcotics. Look, we had 4 to 6 percent of the narcotics coming from the East, coming from Pakistan, coming from Afghanistan via the Balkans to the United States. Today, three or four years after Sept. 11, that has reached over 15 percent. How is it getting here? Who are getting the proceedings from those big narcotics? ... But I can tell you there are a lot of people involved, a lot of ranking officials, and a lot of illegal activities that include multi-billion-dollar drug-smuggling operations, black-market nuclear sales to terrorists and unsavory regimes, you name it. And of course a lot of people from abroad are involved.' She says that her allegations against co-worker Melek Can Dickerson and her lawsuit against the FBI are just the tip of the iceberg. She expresses frustration that the media wants to only focus on the whistleblower aspect of her case instead of looking into the substance of her allegations. She says that it was completely by chance that she stumbled over an ongoing investigation into this international criminal network. 'You can start from the AIPAC angle. You can start from the [Valerie] Plame case. You can start from my case. They all end up going to the same place, and they revolve around the same nucleus of people. There may be a lot of them, but it is one group. And they are very dangerous for all of us.' [Anti-War (.com), 8/15/2005] "

"November 28, 2005: Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case Brought by Former FBI Translator against FBI"

"The Supreme Court declines, without comment, to hear the case (see August 4, 2005) brought by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. [New York Times, 11/28/2005; Reuters, 11/28/2005] The decision puts an end to Edmonds’ legal efforts to hold the bureau accountable for its failure to address several security issues raised by Edmonds in late 2001 and early 2002 (see December 2, 2001 and Afternoon February 12, 2002, respectively). On August 4, Edmonds had filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it 'to provide guidance to the lower courts about the proper scope and application of the state secrets privilege, and to prevent further misuse of the privilege to dismiss lawsuits at the pleading stage.' The petition also urged the court to affirm that the press and public may not be barred from court proceedings in civil cases without just cause. (In May, the federal appeals court had closed the courtroom to the public and media.) If the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of Edmonds, she would have been able return to the lower courts and start her case again. [Government Executive, 8/8/2005; Petition for a writ of certiorari. Sibel Edmonds v. Department of Justice, et all., 8/4/2005, pp. 2 ] "

Other Links - Sibel Edmonds' website containing multimedia clips and relevant articles. - Wikipedia page about Sibel Edmonds. - Sibel Edmonds' Documentary "Kill the Messenger."

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