Tuesday, January 22, 2008

UK media slams US media on Sibel Edmonds case

The UK's Guardian is running a piece, "US journalists ignore Sunday Times scoop on FBI nuclear scandal," criticizing the US media for not picking up on the latest revelations by their competitor, the UK's Times, in the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds.

The author of the piece is the Guardian's media commentator, Roy Greenslade, a Professor of Journalism and former Managing Editor of the Times. He writes:

It looks to me as though the Sunday Times has landed a genuine world exclusive that should surely have been broken ages ago by US-based reporters.

I agree entirely. Consider what any journalist in the US has known, or should have known, for years.

Sibel's case broke as an espionage story in June 2002 in the Washington Post and an October 2002 CBS' 60 Minutes segment (youtube) where we learnt that foreign operatives had spies working for them in both the Pentagon and the State Department.

Simply following the names and associations of the people known to be involved, any journalist should have been able to piece together the broad outlines of the story simply from public sources.

One of the spies involved, FBI translator Melek Can Dickerson, was known to have worked for the American Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA). These organizations were known to be targets of FBI counterintelligence operations. This was publicly confirmed by the FBI and Congress at the time.

Another of the spies identified at the time, AF Major Douglas Dickerson, the husband of Melek Can Dickerson, was working for Douglas Feith at the Pentagon. He had previously worked with Marc Grossman in Turkey.

We know that both Feith and Grossman are two of the prime guilty parties in Sibel's case.

These two spies, Melek Can Dickerson and Douglas Dickerson, were permitted to leave the country while under active investigations by the US Senate Judiciary, by the Department of Justice's Inspector General (IG), by the Pentagon's IG, and by FBI.


In an article three weeks ago, the UK's Times reported:
Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

We already knew this, and much of the other information reported in the Times.

Consider that in October 2002, CBS' 60 Minutes reported:
"Edmonds... revealed that the Turkish intelligence officer had spies working for him inside the US State Department and at the Pentagon."

Mainstream American journalists, from the Washington Post to CNN, knew about this, and mostly refused to report on it.

US journalists have been either too lazy, or complicit, to report on anything but the most trivial of Sibel's claims, including 'mismanagement' within the FBI, particularly the translation division. However, even if they had initially focussed on the 'mismanagement' of the FBI, they ought to have been able to follow up and connect some of the dots.

Here again is 60 Minutes, October 2002:
Take the case of (Melek) Jan Dickerson, a Turkish translator who worked with Sibel Edmonds. The FBI has admitted that when Dickerson was hired last November, the bureau didn't know that she had worked for a Turkish organization being investigated by the FBI's own counterintelligence unit, and they didn't know she'd had a relationship with a Turkish intelligence officer stationed in Washington who was the target of that investigation.

This information was in a then-public letter written by Senators Leahy and Grassley to Attorney-General John Ashcroft in August 2002, after they had held hearings into Sibel's case, where they note that the FBI verified these facts. This was also later confirmed in the Justice Department's IG report.

Melek Can Dickerson in fact had worked with at least two organizations that were targets of FBI investigations, the American Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), and she was actively preventing the FBI agents from receiving important translations from the wiretaps pertaining to these organizations. The information that Dickerson was blocking related to:
"activities to obtain the United States military and intelligence secrets."

Again, we knew all of this in 2002. We knew that the FBI was running a counter-intelligence operation against certain organizations regarding the theft of military and intelligence secrets and that foreign elements had spies working for them in the Pentagon and State Department.

We also knew that Melek Can Dickerson was married to Air Force Major Douglas Dickerson. Douglas Dickerson worked in weapons procurement in Turkey from approximately 1992-1997, based in the attache in Ankara, working under then-Ambassador Marc Grossman, the "senior official" identified in the recent Times article.

In the summer of 2002, while Melek Can Dickerson was being investigated, the Pentagon IG was also investigating Douglas Dickerson regarding these espionage charges/allegations. The official letter sent by the Pentagon specifically mentions Dickerson's involvement with the American Turkish Council.

At the time, Major Douglas Dickerson was working with another of the key perpetrators in Sibel's case, Douglas Feith, at the Pentagon. Whatever "duties" he was conducting at the ATC were presumably on behalf of Douglas Feith.

The Dickersons left the country in 2002 while they were both under active investigations by Senate Judiciary Committee, by the Justice Department's IG, the Pentagon's IG, and by the FBI itself.

In their August 2002 letter to Ashcroft, Senators Leahy and Grassley note that they were concerned that the Dickersons were leaving the country, before the investigations would be completed, and that "...there will be little or no assurance that (Dickerson) will return or cooperate with an investigation in the future." Their concerns were well-founded.

Grassley and Leahy also wrote that they were concerned that:
"...the FBI currently opposes depositions of the monitor and her husband as part of the investigation into this case.
It is unclear, then, why the FBI is taking this position in the wake of such important allegations bearing on national security."

Again, American reporters knew all of this in 2002. They knew that there were spies in the Pentagon and the State Department who were enabling the theft of military and intelligence secrets, and they knew that the Pentagon and the FBI were actively involved in covering it up.

For one reason or other - incompetence or complicity - not a single American journalist followed up on the important issues in the 60 Minutes report and the Washington Post, and we didn't learn about any of this in the US media in 2002. Instead, we are 'learning' it in 2008 from the British press - and still the US media refuses to publish it, which leads me to believe that the American media is not 'incompetent' but rather 'complicit.'

Roy Greenslade, Professor of Journalism and the Guardian's media commentator, first notes that the story "should surely have been broken ages ago by US-based reporters" then adds that the latest revelations in the Times's latest series (1, 2):
.. looks to me like a very hot story indeed that should surely have been taken up by mainstream newspapers in the United States

Who could argue with him?

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