Monday, June 1, 2009

There are criminal and terrorist-related cases...

Scott Horton interviewed Sibel Edmonds in Jan 2005. For some reason I have not previously transcribed the interview. (Some comment on the interview here)

Here is a partial transcription (errors, omissions, editorial decisions etc are mine):
Sibel Edmonds: I started working for the bureau about a week after September 11, 2001, and I translated intelligence and investigations in three languages: Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani.

During my short tenure with the bureau, I came across certain issues and cases that I believed I had to report to higher-ups in the FBI and they consisted of, let's say, issues within three different broad categories.

One had to do with security breaches, serious security breaches, certain translators who were granted Top Secret clearance, who were internationally blocking certain intelligence from being translated by stamping them as 'Not Pertinent,' and also removing high level intelligence from the FBI, and alerting certain targets of investigations.

Another had to do with certain investigations under counter intelligence - counter intelligence - were not being transferred to counter terrorism despite their direct connection and link to certain criminal and terrorist activities against this country, simply because these counter intelligence investigations involved certain semi-legit organizations and, according to the agents I worked for, the State Department basically asked the FBI not to transfer these to counter terrorism, and not to investigate it, because it would touch upon 'certain diplomatic relations' and 'certain sensitive foreign business relations' of the United States. That was not right. It should not have done considering what we went through in this country on 911.

And of course, third, had to do with mismanagement and hiring practices within the FBI.

So I took these issues all the way up the chain, to higher management, all the way up to Director Mueller by February 2002 and his assistant Dale Watson, and also FBI OPR office - Office of Professional Responsibility - and it was interesting. Initially they were asking me not to demand investigations regarding these cases, because it would be highly embarrassing for the FBI, and later they started retaliating, they forced me to take a polygraph exam, which I took, they confiscated my home computers, they wanted to know whether or not I was communicating these issues and cases, outside the FBI with Congress, and at the time I was not, and they could not find anything on my computer...

After seeing and witnessing these retaliations, I took the issue to congress directly, to the Senate Judiciary Committee. As you know, they have this 'oversight' of the DoJ and FBI, and they have the right to know about these issues, and I gave this information to them, inside the SCIF, the secured facility, so that none of our intelligence gathering methods would be compromised, and also to the Inspector General's Office for the Department of Justice itself. And this was done during March 6, 7, 2002.

And after I did that, two weeks later they terminated my contract, they fired me, and I then waited patiently for two years for congress to do their job, to investigate this and to have hearings on this issue. And for the Inspector General's office to issue a report so that the American people could get this information. Meanwhile, I also went to the court, under FOIA, I asked them to release certain documents that I was ENTITLED to - and I knew what those documents were, but I just wanted to make these documents public, and also under the First Amendment rights that I have, I had another court case. So basically, I tried all the channels possible - from the Inspector General's Office, to our Legislative Branch, Congress, and our Courts.

Scott Horton: Ok, well, Sibel, let's talk about national security here for a minute. The more cynical side of me says 'OK, national security just means 'if we knew, they'd be in trouble' but then again, you were translating intercepts and it could be argued, maybe, that these things that they are trying to keep secret really are a threat to national security if everybody knew.

SE: Well, two reasons that's not the case.

Number one: they are not even citing 'ongoing investigations' ok? For example, they are not saying 'Well, we are not investigating these issues currently and it would damage' and you know why? It's because they are not investigating, and that's what I have been saying for 2.5 years.

There are criminal and terrorist-related cases that our government chooses not to investigate, hypocritically, because it may affect certain sensitive diplomatic relations, and again, I repeat, and I have been doing this for a year now, they can not have it both ways. On one hand, they are coming to us, the public, saying 'September 11, National Security, compromise your civil liberties, and restrict your freedom because you must, because of what we suffered on that day,' and they are using this fear factor to do just that.

On the other hand, they are not pursuing certain investigations, and they are not bringing about accountability, simply because 'certain sensitive diplomatic and foreign business relations' are going to get hurt? The American people have the right to know what 'sensitive diplomatic relations' the Attorney General of this country is referring to? And I want to also emphasize the fact that the FBI is not into the business of 'sensitive diplomatic relations.'

And when I was working for the agents, the Special Agents, I was told that it was the State Department that was putting on the pressure. And why the State Department is not coming and making it clear what these 'sensitive diplomatic relations' are? Let the public decide whether or not we want to preserve certain foreign business relations over our national security. Look, without even WMD, they are saying 'Let's go to Iraq because it is so important and because of our national security' - at least this is the excuse they are providing, right, and they are willing to put our lives, our boys' lives in danger, and we are losing lives there. On the other hand, they are saying we are not going to investigate certain cases because of certain foreign business relations! That can't happen!

SH: Now, Sibel, when we talked before you said that government officials would go to jail if your story was known in its entirety. Can you tell me if these presumed criminal charges would be related to the problems within the translation department, or things that you learned while translating the intercepts themselves?

SE: Things that I learnt from certain counterintelligence investigations - well, they are not even called 'investigations' - so, information received under counterintelligence, which involved certain activities, criminal and terrorist-related activities by certain... I refer to them as semi-legit organizations who are connected here, and they operate here in this country and internationally - and they still do, 3.5 years after 911 - and their connections to certain individuals here. Now, the connections may be business-wise, or it can be other types of relationships, and I really can't get more specific than that, but 'they' can ('they' being congress, and 'they' being the Inspector General's office, and 'they' being our Department of Justice.)

SH: OK. Are we talking about these semi-legit organizations, are we talking about ties between them and officials in the Bush Administration?

SE: One of the things that I have said, I've tried to emphasize the fact that the issues and the activities involved are by no means partisan. And some of this intelligence goes back as far as 1997, 1998, and as I said it continues to this day, to right now, as we speak. Therefore, that is my answer to your question.

SH: But we are talking about the national government here, we're not just talking about private American citizens?

SE: Well, there may be certain businesses involved, there may be certain groups involved, and certain officials involved. It is a pretty wide network.

SH: And again, in the US of A, home of the First Amendment, you are not allowed to answer my question, under penalty of criminal action, is that right?

SE: Absolutely, you got it.

SH: OK, now you mentioned the three subcategories of your complaints about what was going on inside the translation department at the FBI, and I wonder if we can get a little bit more specific. Your first category there was about mistranslations and things being deleted on purpose, and things not being passed on that should have been pass on, right?

SE: Correct

SH: Can you say by who?

SE: Well, by individuals, and again, I distinguish between two different groups. One is things that were done purely due to incompetence, OK. They hired certain individuals that did not qualify, they did not pass the English test, or the target language test, put that aside.

Certain proven cases involved certain translators who intentionally blocked received intelligence, and they intentionally blocked this intelligence from being processed, from getting to the agents in charge of investigations, or the analysts in charge of investigations, and one case that the IG report said that it has been proven by facts, evidence and other witnesses involved this translator, Melek Can Dickerson, who actually was granted top secret clearance, and started working with the Bureau, despite the fact that she used to work for one of these semi-legit organizations that were actually under FBI counterintelligence investigations! Despite the fact that this individual had ongoing relationships with two *other* targets of *other* counter-terrorism related investigations , and despite the fact that this individual did not report these issues on her job application. Now, forget her job application, but all language specialists have to possess top secret clearance, OK, and in order to grant top secret clearance, the FBI is supposed to conduct thorough background checks, so no matter what you put on your application, this thorough background check that includes your tax records and interviews with your former employers, well, that somehow did not occur with certain translators, including this particular translator.

SH: Now, this woman, Melek Can Dickerson and her husband, came to your house and tried to recruit you to be involved in the same espionage as them, right?

SE: Correct, and surprisingly, the Inspector General's report office, in their report, says that this is supported by other facts, evidence and other witnesses, and in fact, the FBI did not investigate these espionage cases. Now, not only that, now the FBI is saying that they are now starting to investigate it, but look, those targets of investigations, those people involved in those criminal activities, most of them left the country as late as February 2002, after I reported these issues.

SH: Sibel, I remember reading something about - wasn't Melek Can Dickerson's husband an officer in the Air Force, and didn't they have their own investigation into this?

SE: Correct, and I'm glad that you asked, because now the FBI says they have started investigating this case, however, in September 2002, the Dickersons left the US, hastily, and they haven’t been back. Initially they went to Belgium, but now nobody knows where they are, and the targets of the investigations, the most important top targets, they left the country too, so I don't know what they are really going to be investigating.

But let's say they are really investigating this case, the husband works for Department of Defense, Major Douglas Dickerson, and the Department of Defense’s Inspector General's office started investigating Douglas Dickerson in August 2002. Two weeks later they hastily closed the investigation, per request from the Department of Justice. Now, this individual, Douglas Dickerson, still has his top secret clearance, and he still has access to our military secrets and nuclear secrets, ok. This guy's job, he was handling the transactions, weapons procurement from the US by certain Central Asian countries, and certain Middle Eastern countries, I can't name the countries, I'm forbidden from naming countries, and he still has top secret clearance!

Now, the Department of Defense rule says that even if a person shares living quarters with a person under any investigation - especially security breaches - that person's top secret clearance will be put on hold until the investigation is completed, yet, the Inspector General's office for the Department of Defense hastily closed this investigation, per request by the State Department and the Justice Department, and this person, Douglas Dickerson, still has access to our military secrets. How much sense does that make?

SH: Now, I want to get back to these semi-legitimate organizations. What exactly are we talking about here? Is this like an NGO or is this different?

SE: (sighs) Well, I know to this day sometimes they talk about certain charity organizations, and some of these organizations that have ties to fanatics, but they are not the only ones. There are other types of organizations that have legit fronts - and it can be business promotion, it can be cultural promotion - who do carry out criminal and terrorist related activities, and not because of ideological reasons, and that is something I want to emphasize, these people may be totally against, let's say, fanaticism, or terrorist ideology, but they carry out certain activities simply for monetary reason, OK. Simply as business transactions.

Now, that may involve illegal weapons procurement, that may involve certain narcotics being moved from one spot to another spot, and then to another spot, and they may be involved in obtaining certain intelligence, and selling it to the highest bidder, and they don't care who that highest bidder is, it may be some fanatics from certain countries we consider evil, or it may be some other countries that we consider communist, it doesn't matter. If the highest bidder is coming up with the money, they provide it to them. And to this day, we have not heard about these organizations and their involvement, how they maybe have facilitated certain money laundering activities, or narcotics activities - and guess what - because that will hurt certain sensitive foreign business relations.

SH: Do you have any information that ties these groups to the September 11 attacks, or Bin Laden's organization?

SE: As I said, through certain activities with money laundering and narcotics and illegal weapons procurement, yes. Not for ideological reasons, but for monetary reasons, yes.

SH: But we're not talking about just, you know, Hamas that doesn’t attack the US

SE: Oh God, no.

SH: We're talking about the real international terrorist network that target Americans?

SE: Correct
SH: (A caller asks about 9/11)

SE: Well, again, I am just one part of a lot of different things as far as this whole issue of 9/11 goes, and my point has been, OK, we had this 911 Commission Report, we had this Joint Enquiry by the Senate, & House, yet currently there are so many reports that are still entirely classified.

There is another report by the Department of Justice's Inspector General's Office titled "FBI and 911 Foreknowledge" which you can see on their website. That report was completed in July 2004, and it dealt with my case, Coleen Rowley's case, the Phoenix Memo, and even more, yet that report is entirely classified, OK.

There is another IG report on CIA, that report is entirely classified. Then there is that 28 pages that Senator Graham was referring to, that dealt with certain foreign countries and their roles, those 28 pages, even today, after all the campaigns by the 911 family members, remains classified.

If you have done the investigations, if you have told the truth, if you have a clean conscience, why don’t you come out and make this information public? What are you trying to cover up so hard? Going out of your way by gagging the congress, by stopping court procedures? They are going as far as just disregarding the constitution completely, total disregard for our system of checks and balances, the separation of powers has disappeared, why? Why are they trying to hard to hold back, and what are they holding back? Do they really come across as people with clean consciences? Honest people? I mean, the notion of the government of people, by the people, for the people, how many Americans actually believe in that notion today? They would laugh at you, you know why? Because when you look at it, it seems like a separate entity, with all this secrecy, and this power within power, totally removed from the American people.

Some comments here