By Brad Friedman
SIBEL EDMONDS, a former FBI translator, claims that the following government officials have committed what amount to acts of treason. They are lawmakers Dennis Hastert, Bob Livingston, Dan Burton, Roy Blunt, Stephen Solarz and Tom Lantos, as well as at least three members of George W. Bush’s inner circle: Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and Marc Grossman. But is Sibel Edmonds credible?
March 01, 2010 – “
“Absolutely, she’s credible,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told CBS’s 60 Minutes when he was asked about her in 2002. “The reason I feel she’s very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story.” Edmonds’s remarkable allegations of bribery, blackmail, infiltration of the U.S. government and the theft of nuclear secrets by foreign allies and enemies alike rocked the Bush Administration. In fact, Bush and company actually prevented Edmonds from telling the American people what she knew—up until now.
John M. Cole, an 18-year veteran of the FBI’s Counterintelligence and Counterespionage departments, revealed the panic of upper-echelon officials when Edmonds originally started talking back in 2002. “Well, the Bureau is gonna have to try to work something out with Sibel,” Cole said an FBI executive assistant told him at the time, “because they don’t want this to go out and become public.”
But they couldn’t “work something out with Sibel” because, it seems, she wasn’t looking to make a deal. Edmonds says she was looking to expose what she believed to be the ugly truth about the infiltration of the U.S. government by foreign spies. They were enabled, Edmonds claimed, by high-ranking U.S. officials and insider moles planted at nuclear weapons facilities around the nation.
“Everybody at headquarters level at the Bureau knew what she was saying was extremely accurate,” Cole said recently. “They were trying to figure out ways of keeping this whole thing quiet because they didn’t want Sibel to come out.”
Her under-oath testimony for the Ohio Election Commission, given in a recent videotaped deposition, is both shocking and horrifying. (Edmonds was the star witness for Congressional candidate David Krikorian in connection with a formal complaint initiated by Representative Jean Schmidt [R-Ohio]. Challenging her in 2008, a Krikorian flyer had accused Schmidt of accepting “blood money” from Turkish interests to help block a House bill recognizing Turkey’s genocide of Armenians in 1915.) The deposition was allowed to proceed by the Obama Administration, which chose not to invoke the draconian and little-known “State Secrets Privilege” to gag her, as the previous administration had done, twice.
Edmonds testified that Congressman Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), a former Speaker of the House, was involved in “several categories” of corruption on behalf of Turkish agents, according to information she claims to have heard while translating and analyzing FBI counterintelligence wiretaps recorded from 1996 through 2002. She mentioned his “acceptance of large sums of bribery in forms of cash or laundered cash” coupled with the ability “to do certain favors…make certain things happen for… [the] Turkish government’s interest.”
Edmonds also alleged, on the public record, Hastert’s use of a “townhouse that was not his residence for certain not very morally accepted activities” and said that “foreign entities knew about this. In fact, they sometimes participated in some of those…activities in that particular townhouse.”
The allegations against Hastert include accepting some half-million dollars in bribes. While several FBI sources have corroborated Edmonds’s account, the best Hastert’s attorneys could do was offer a nondenial denial to the charges. But the proof, as they say, may be in the post-Congressional pudding. As Edmonds had predicted years earlier, Hastert—who left Congress in 2007—now makes $35,000 a month lobbying his old colleagues as a registered foreign agent for the Turkish government.
Former Congressman Bob Livingston (RLouisiana), who was set to become Speaker prior to Hastert until evidence of a sexual affair was revealed by Larry Flynt, was described in Edmonds’s deposition as having participated in “not very legal activities on behalf of foreign interests” before leaving office in 1999. Afterward, she said, Livingston acted “as a conduit to…further foreign interests, both overtly and covertly,” and also became both a lobbyist and “an operative” representing Turkish interests.
According to Edmonds, Representative Roy Blunt (R-Missouri)—likely to run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2010—was “the recipient of both legally and illegally raised…campaign donations from…Turkish entities.” Edmonds also claimed that hard-right Representative Dan Burton (R-Indiana), who was instrumental in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, carried out “extremely illegal activities” and covert operations that were “against the United States citizens” and “against the United States’ interests.”
Edmonds named allegedly traitorous Democrats too. She said that former New York Congressman Stephen Solarz, now also a lobbyist, “acted as conduit to deliver or launder contributions and other bribe[s, including blackmail] to certain members of Congress.” And, according to Edmonds, the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-California) was said to have been involved in “not only…bribe[ry], but also…disclosing [the] highest level protected U.S. intelligence and weapons technology information both to Israel and to Turkey [and] other very serious criminal conduct.”
The most overtly salacious of the allegations involved Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), who is “married with…grown children, but she is bisexual,” according to Edmonds. The FBI whistleblower described how Schakowsky was “hooked” by Turkish agents into having a lesbian “sexual relationship with one of their spies,” and “the entire episodes of their sexual conduct was being filmed because the entire house…was bugged…to be used for certain things that they wanted to request.”
Edmonds noted, however, that she didn’t “know if she [Schakowsky] did anything illegal afterwards” since Edmonds was fired by the FBI before learning what came of that particular setup. The Turks, she said, intended to get at Schakowsky’s husband, lobbyist Robert Creamer, who in April 2006 began serving five months in prison (and 11 months of house arrest) for check-kiting and failing to collect withholding tax.
Schakowsky’s office has vehemently denied the allegations. As head of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, Schakowsky might be expected to hold hearings on any of the former FBI employee’s revelations but she has not. She has also refused Edmonds’s challenge to take a polygraph test and has not yet sued her for libel, as the whistleblower has challenged her to do.
Edmonds’s most disturbing allegations, however, may be against high-ranking appointed officials in the Bush Administration. Elaborating on testimony she laid out in her sworn deposition, Edmonds told American Conservative magazine’s Phil Giraldi—a 17-year CIA counterterrorism officer—very specific details of alleged traitorous schemes perpetrated by top State and Defense Department officials. As already noted, these included Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and, perhaps most notably, former Deputy Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, the third-highest-ranking official in the Bush State Department.
Edmonds said that Feith and Wolfowitz were involved in plans to break Iraq into U.S. and British protectorates months prior to 9/11. She also claimed that the duo shared information with Grossman on how to blackmail various officials and that Grossman had accepted cash to help procure and sell nuclear weapons technology to Israel and Turkey—and, from there, on to the foreign black market. There the technology would be purchased by the highest bidder, such as Pakistan, Iran, Libya, North Korea or possibly even al-Qaeda.
Additionally, Edmonds claimed that Grossman, the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey before taking his State Department post, had tipped off Turkish diplomats to the true identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson’s front company, Brewster Jennings & Associates, a full three years prior to their being publicly outed by columnist Robert Novak. That in itself, according to George H.W. Bush, would be an act of treason carried out by “the most insidious of traitors.”
Former CIA counterterrorism officer Giraldi summed up Edmonds’s disclosures to me in blunt terms: “This was a massive coordinated espionage effort directed against United States nuclear secrets engineered by foreign agents who successfully corrupted senior government officials and legislators in our Congress. It’s that simple.”
According to a declassified version of a 2005 Department of Justice Inspector General’s report, Sibel Edmonds’s allegations are “credible,” “serious” and “warrant a thorough and careful review by the FBI.” Perhaps more damningly, the FBI’s John Cole recently confirmed a key element of Edmonds’s claims when he revealed the existence of “the FBI’s decade-long investigation” of the State Department’s Grossman. Edmonds claimed that Grossman was perhaps the top U.S. ringleader for the entire foreign espionage scheme. The probe, Cole added, “ultimately was buried and covered up.”
Cole, who now works as an intelligence contractor for the Air Force, not only finds Edmonds “very credible,” but also confirms the “ongoing and detailed effort by Turkey to develop influence in the United States” through a number of illegal means.
“Turkish individuals would ask for favors—ya know, ‘You help me out, and I’ll help you out’—and basically what would happen is the elected official would either receive money or some kind of gift,” Cole explained. “Or, if it was a government employee, I’ve seen it where after they retired, they get these very lucrative positions with a Turkish company, or whatever the country may be.”
As noted, Hastert now works for Turkey, and Grossman now works for a Turkish company and as a lobbyist—no doubt raking in a pretty penny from both. Hastert and Grossman repeatedly ignored requests to comment on these charges.
The mainstream U.S. media, however, apparently remain uninterested in investigating any of it. Not even after Cole himself called for a “Special Counsel” to investigate and prosecute. So what the hell is going on here?
Giraldi believes that, as with companies such as AIG and GM becoming “too big to fail,” the size and success of this massive national security espionage scandal has simply become too big to bust.
He told me, “You have to look at Marc Grossman being part of a much bigger operation in terms of the Israelis and the Turks obtaining influence over our legislators and over a number of senior government officials at the Pentagon and State Department. Because this thing was so big, and it affected both Democrats and Republicans, I think the U.S. government is terrified of opening up this Pandora’s box.”
Giraldi added, “The people in Congress and in the Justice Department who should be investigating this…and also in the media—because the media is tied hand and foot to government—this is all part of one big, you know, conspiracy, if you want to look at it this way. And, essentially, this is a story that they don’t want to get out.”
So why, exactly, isn’t the media covering Sibel Edmonds, whom the ACLU once described as “the most gagged person in the history of the U.S.,” now that she is finally able to tell her story? It’s a story, after all, that the legendary 1970s whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has deemed “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers.”
“If we had an effective mainstream media that was going after this story, that would make it come out,” Giraldi noted. “But we don’t have an effective media.” He then pointed out one more reason for the media’s reluctance to dig into this story: “According to Sibel, Grossman actually bragged that he would get from the Turks the information that they wanted to appear in an article. He would write it up, and he would fax it over to the New York Times, and they would print it just as he had written it under somebody else’s byline.”
Guess we won’t expect any coverage of this scandal from the New York Times, “the paper of record,” any time soon. And if a story isn’t covered by the Times, and thereafter picked up by everybody else, did it really happen? Given the complicity of the media with regard to Sibel Edmonds, it would appear the government never even needed to invoke the “State Secrets Privilege” in the first place.
As of this writing, HUSTLER stands to be the largest, most “corporate” U.S. outlet in which these startling, now-public, on-the-record disclosures have been reported. The moral: Pull off a large enough crime, and it becomes too big to do anything about.