Friday, March 16, 2007

Sibel Edmonds, Valerie Plame and Brewster Jennings

With the Plame hearings scheduled today, I just wanted to make sure that everyone understands the link between Sibel Edmonds' case, Brewster Jennings and Valerie Plame.

I don't know a lot about how congressional hearings work - but it'll be interesting today to see if Waxman asks Valerie Plame what damage, if any, was done to Brewster Jennings when she was outed by Cheney/Libby/Armitage/Rove/Grossman in the summer of 2003.

It appears that there's some confusion about when Plame worked for Brewster Jennings, and Corn/Isikoff/JTFI notwithstanding, it appears that there is a general presumption that Plame was working for Brewster Jennings when she was outed after Joe Wilson's op-ed was published in the NYT.

As I discussed in yesterday's diary, the American Turkish Council (ATC) was at the core of the criminality that Sibel became privvy to - including, but not limited to, the nuclear black market.

From the diary:
"Sibel's case also involves the nuclear black market - some Turkish members of the ATC have supplied Pakistan's A.Q. Khan network with hardware, as have American companies that Sibel overheard on the wiretaps. Perhaps even more disturbing, as reported in Vanity Fair, other wiretaps indicate that "Turkish groups had been installing doctoral students at U.S. research institutions in order to acquire information about black market nuclear weapons." Daniel Ellsberg says that, according to Sibel, bribes were paid to people at the State Department to facilitate this activity.

These are extraordinary claims, of course, and we have a lot of evidence to support the claims - including, but not limited to, the fact that Valerie Plame's front company, Brewster Jennings, had been conducting a counter-intelligence operation against the ATC for years."
The thing is, Brewster Jennings was 'outed' (privately, within the criminal network) long before Valerie Plame was officially outed. In fact, Brewster Jennings' cover was blown in the Summer of 2001 by Marc Grossman.

It appears, and I'm speculating here, that Sibel actually heard that particular conversation where Grossman 'outed' Brewster Jennings, and I can only presume that Brewster Jennings was dismantled immediately.

In the new movie about Sibel "Kill The Messenger" there's a scene where Sibel 'describes' her familiarity with Brewster Jennings. I interviewed Mathieu Verboud, the director of the film, and he described it thusly:
"In November 2005, we learnt from the Turkish paper Hurriyet that Plame was investigating Turkey, but not only that: she was investigating the ATC! Our intuition had proved right.

Later, in April 2006, we confronted Sibel with this set of facts and ask her to go on the record. Sibel’s line about Plame and Brewster Jennings is just gold. She said: "During my time at the FBI, I never heard the name Valerie Plame - but if you are asking me about Brewster Jennings, that's another story, a story that I cannot comment on because I cannot talk about anything that I did at the FBI - and the targets and the details of the investigations." The message is crystal clear: there are mentions of Brewster Jennings on the wiretaps! Praises to Sibel to be so smart in front of a camera."

This raises a whole bunch of other questions - including why did douchebag Novak write his second column 'outing' Brewster Jennings, and why did the administration take so much heat for 'outing' Brewster Jennings (when they outed Plame) if they didn't actually out Brewster Jennings? A very clever blogger suggested to me privately (and I'd credit them with the idea but I haven't asked for permission) that the administration realized that they'd got themselves in trouble after outing Plame, and so they decided to reach back to the Brewster Jennings claim so that they could pretend that they were working off old (not new, not classified) information (given that Brewster Jennings had been wound down 2 years earlier.)

Under this hypothesis, it appears, the administration/OVP realized they were on very shaky legal ground, and were happy to take the hits to what is left of their reputation by riding out the 'OMG! They outed Brewster Jennings!' fallacy, rather than risk shedding light on the fact that they were just using the old Brewster Jennings information as a CYA mechanism. At least, that's how we can (conceivably) read the story given what we know publicly - they may very well have used the 'but Brewster Jennings is long defunct!' argument behind closed doors. Regardless, their silence on this issue is deafening.

As an aside, I also want to share this anecdote from my interview with Kill The Messenger director Mathieu Verboud:

Mathieu Verboud: Coming back to Grossman, exposing his role would have been interesting for the film, but the guy being what he is, there was no way that he would have given an interview if we had brought up any kind of charges. So we decided to just let him talk, give us his vision of Turkey...

Then we tested him - we asked him about Valerie Plame - and it was amazing to see his face change! He had the nerves to say that he didn’t know anything about Valerie Plame, or about Brewster Jennings - which is simply false! As mentioned earlier, his name had already appeared publicly in the Valerie Plame's case! Anyway, we didn't point out to that simple fact and fended off.

Next, we just mentioned that there was this little woman of Turkish origin whose name was mentioned in an article in Vanity Fair speaking about FBI and Turkey… His face changed again, and he came up with this answer: "Vanity Fair? I am afraid it is not a magazine I read!" We then asked him directly about Sibel Edmonds and he said that he didn't know anything about her. Even the name was "unfamiliar".

Luke Ryland: That's hysterical. When was that interview?

MV: early May 2006.

LR: (laughs) Oh that's great. And he's never heard of Sibel Edmonds and Valerie Plame. That's fantastic. I'd love to see that footage.

MV: Well - if we ever sell this film in the U.S, we will consider adding a small chapter on him.
In any case, it'll be interesting to see if any of this comes out in the hearings today. As you know, Waxman knows all of this - Sibel has briefed his office in classified hearings - and it appears that he is going to make a decision (& announcement) early next week about whether he will hold separate hearings into her case.

Congress must hold hearings to get to the bottom of these crimes. If you agree, please call Congress, today, and demand public, open hearings.

Contact Information

Congressman Henry Waxman (contact page)

(Those calling Waxman's office should ask for Michelle Ash & David Rapallo.)

In Washington, D.C.
2204 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-3976 (phone)
(202) 225-4099 (fax)

In Los Angeles
8436 West Third Street, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 651-1040 (phone)
(818) 878-7400 (phone)
(310) 652-3095 (phone)
(323) 655-0502 (fax)

House Government Reform Committee (contact page)
By Mail or Phone:
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5051

Please also contact Congressman John Conyers, asking him to support hearings by Chairman Waxman.
(Those calling Conyers' office should ask for Elliot Mintzberg.)

Washington, DC
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5126
(202) 225-0072 Fax

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