On Friday, we reported on the coming exclusive American Conservative cover story interview with formerly-gagged FBI translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds by quoting the magazine's own teaser description of the piece as "explosive". Over the weekend, we received an embargoed look at the final version of the AmCon interview by former CIA officer Phil Giraldi, and yes, "explosive", may be a vast understatement. At least if the U.S. corporate media bothers to notice it this time.
It seems it may be difficult to not notice it, given that Edmonds finally names, on the record, for the first time, in a right-leaning periodical founded by Pat Buchanan, the identity of the currently-serving Democratic Congresswoman she has previously described as married with grown children and having been "hooked" into participating in a lesbian affair with a Turkish foreign agent, as she was secretly video-taped for blackmail purposes.
Edmonds has alluded to the Congresswoman, without naming her, in the past, most notably in her recent sworn and video-taped deposition in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case now pending before the Ohio Election Commission. In that testimony, she did manage to name the names of other Congress members she had previously identified publicly. At the time, we (and virtually no other media outlets) reported on her disclosures that Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Stephen Solarz (D-NY) and Tom Lantos (D-CA, deceased), were all participants in blackmail and/or bribery schemes by and with agents of the Turkish government, as she became aware while translating wiretaps in the FBI's counterintelligence division after 9/11. Some of those crimes are said to have resulted in the theft and sale of nuclear weapons technology to allies and enemies alike.
In her 8/8/09 D.C. deposition, she discussed, for the first time on the public record since being previously gagged by the Bush Administration's use of so-called "State Secrets Privilege" (twice), details of what she heard while reviewing and translating wiretaps of Turkish agents who were targets of a long-running FBI investigation centered out of Chicago, but extending far beyond.
In addition to specific details on allegations of serious wrongdoing by the Congress members mentioned above, as well as State and Defense Department officials such as Marc Grossman, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, Edmonds had offered details, during the deposition, about a Democratic Congresswoman who is "married with...grown children, but she is bisexual."
"So they have sent Turkish female agents," she testified, in her sometimes-broken English, according to the transcript [PDF]. "And that Turkish female agents work for Turkish government, and have sexual relationship with this Congresswoman in her townhouse actually in this area, and the entire episodes of their sexual conduct was being filmed because the entire house, this Congressional woman's house was bugged."
She went on to add that she hadn't used her name in the past because she left the FBI before knowing whether or not the information was actually used against the Congresswoman to blackmail her, or if the woman had even been made aware of it. "I don't know if she did anything illegal afterwards," Edmonds said.
In Giraldi's AmCon interview, Edmonds again repeats that she doesn't know if the Congresswoman "ever was actually blackmailed or did anything for the Turkish woman", but she does name her name this time...
The Congresswoman in question, according to Edmonds, is Illinois' 9th-district Rep. Jan Schakowsky.
The BRAD BLOG has attempted to contact Schakowsky's office over the weekend, but they have yet to return several calls and emails seeking comment. We will, of course, update this story if we are able to receive comment.
Edmonds says in the Giraldi interview that "in 2000 ... Turkish agents started gathering information on her, and they found out that she was bisexual." A female Turkish agent is said to have "struck up a relationship with her", and then, following the death of Schakowsky's mother, the woman is said to have attended the funeral "hoping to exploit her vulnerability."
"They later were intimate in Schakowsky's townhouse," Edmonds tells Giraldi, "which had been set up with recording devices and hidden cameras."
The reason for attempting to get at Schakowsky, Edmonds believes, is so that they would be able to get both her "and her husband Robert Creamer to perform certain illegal operational facilitations for them in Illinois," along with Hastert, who was already on the payroll, and several other Chicago officials.
Edmonds has previously disclosed some of Hastert's dealings with shady Turkish operatives. Many of those charges were originally detailed in a 2005 Vanity Fair exposé by David Rose, which focused on the allegations of payoffs to Hastert by the Turks to the tune of some half a million dollars, or more.
Schakowsky's husband, lobbyist Robert Creamer, was indicted on 16 counts of bank fraud in 2004. In 2005 he pleaded guilty to one count and was sentenced to five months in prison and 11 months of house arrest. He was released from the federal penitentiary in 2006.
Since leaving Congress, Hastert, as Edmonds points out to American Conservative, and as previously reported, now works as a registered lobbyist for the Turkish government for some $35,000 a month.
Schakowsky is a member of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where she is a member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management and the chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation.
A Metastasized National Security Cancer
Some more details from the interview in a moment, but I want to note that Giraldi's interview is exceptional and brings together a great deal of the entire breadth of Edmonds' long-quashed allegations in a simple, clear, cogent, easy-to-understand (even for beginners to the story) narrative.
He's done an excellent job in that regard, and Edmonds told me over the weekend that she believes it was due to his own knowledge of the topic, from both his years of covering her story at various times, as well as his own inside knowledge as a counterintelligence officer at the CIA, working a similar beat.
The exclusive interview lays out the details of what can be described as nothing short of a national security cancer that has metastasized throughout the U.S. government, to the covert monetary, military and strategic intelligence benefit of our allies and enemies alike.
Edmonds is more specific than even in her recent deposition, in explaining what she's been disallowed from talking about publicly for so long. She names very specific names, describes massive government infiltration and the theft of weapons technology and nuclear secrets beginning at the very top of government (the State Department and top White House officials and appointees) going through Congress (at least half a dozen current and former members) and defense contractors (RAND), through Ph.D. programs (MIT) and highly-classified nuclear facilities (Sandia, Los Alamos) and even, for good measure, through the media (New York Times) and beyond.
She discusses a well-organized foreign intelligence black market superstore, benefiting everyone from treasonous U.S. officials to operatives and governments in Turkey, Israel, Pakistan, Iran, Libya, al-Qaeda and beyond.
"No one has ever disproved any of Edmonds's revelations, which she says can be verified by FBI investigative files," Giraldi notes in the opening of his nearly-4,000 word article/interview. "As Sibel herself puts it," Giraldi writes, "'If this were written up as a novel, no one would believe it.'"
Bingo. And shy of investigation from other media and/or law enforcement, that could still remain the case, even after AmCon's exclusive.
Where any of her allegations may be untrue or in accurate, given the exceptional gravity of them, it would be nice if the media investigated if only to disprove them. If they can. Or, otherwise, corroborate them with other sources.
Virtually all of the mainstream corporate media outlets who have bothered to investigate her story over the years --- largely before Edmonds was able to speak out herself --- such as CBS' 60 Minutes, Vanity Fair, Sunday Times of London (front-page series here, here and here), etc. --- have almost all been able to find corroboration from various sources, including within the FBI, for the allegations.
It remains both astounding and alarming that almost all of those same media have now stopped dead in their tracks from continuing to dig, investigate and report.
As we've pointed out many times before (and so does Giraldi), an unclassified FBI Inspector General's report, released on her case in 2005, declared many of Edmonds' classified allegations to be "credible," "serious," and "warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI." In 2002, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), then the ranking members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, co-wrote letters on Edmonds' behalf to Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and DoJ Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, calling on all of them to take action in respect to her allegations. In 60 Minutes' 2002 report Grassley says about Edmonds: "Absolutely, 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."
In the next week or so, we hope to offer still more corroboration from an FBI source concerning her allegations.
At right is a brief 2007 video compilation by Edmonds expert Luke Ryland, featuring everyone from Grassley to Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to even Paul Newman singing her praises.
More Details from the American Conservative Exclusive
Among the other new and key allegations fleshed out in the Giraldi interview, in addition to the disclosure concerning Schakowsky:
- Giraldi describes "a pattern of corruption starting with government officials providing information to foreigners and helping them make contact with other Americans who had valuable information." That information, "including weapons technology, conventional weapons technology, and Pentagon policy-related information," according to Edmonds, was then sold on the black market to Turkey, Israel and beyond, and "the money that was being generated was used to corrupt certain congressmen to influence policy and provide still more information-in many cases information related to nuclear technology."
- The most serious allegations in the piece are detailed against Marc Grossman who had served as the Ambassador to Turkey before being named as the third-highest official at the State Department by the Bush Administration, where he is said to have "received money directly" for his work on behalf of Turkish agents. The article explains, in the most detail to date, Grossman's criminal involvement as the ring-leader for much of this, as first exposed in a January 2008 London Sunday Times front page story which described Grossman's activities but, due to British libel laws, didn't identify him by name. The paper also followed it up with some corroboration of FBI case files on the allegations later that month, and then dropped a blockbuster concerning Grossman's outing of Valerie Plame-Wilson's CIA front company Brewster-Jennings to Turkish diplomats long before she was ever outed publicly by Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Robert Novak.
- A great deal of explanation is given concerning Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)'s extremely close alliance with Turkey and the American Turkish Council (ATC) in all of these matters, and how the now-deceased Democratic U.S. Congressman from California, Rep. Tom Lantos was "the top person obtaining classified information" concerning Israel in Congress for both groups.
- Former Lousiana Republican, and almost-Speaker of the House Rep. Bob Livingston is described as "the number-one congressman involved with the Turkish community, both in terms of providing information and doing favors." Livingston now runs a lobbying firm representing Turkey. "Number-two after him was Dan Burton" of Indiana (still serving), Edmonds tells Giraldi, "and then he became number-one until Hastert became the speaker of the House."
- Details about how the Bush Administration, including officials such as Douglas Feith, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, were "discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country" between the U.S., Great Britain, and possibly Turkey, some four months before 9/11 occurred.
- Former Bush Sr. administration official Brent Scowcroft, who had become chair of the American Turkish Council (ATC), is said to have been involved in similar discussions as well prior to 9/11, along with James Baker and Richard Armitage. Scowcroft, Edmonds alleges, only came out against the Iraq War when the George W. Bush administration decided against an arrangement for a "Turkish protectorate" in northern Iraq.
- Some members of Congress were wiretapped directly by the FBI after information had been obtained "secondhand through FISA, as [the FBI's] primary targets were foreigners."
- "The epicenter of a lot of the foreign espionage activity was Chicago." Hence the involvement of Hastert and Schakowsky, all of which leaves Edmonds with many concerns about Illinois' former U.S. Senator Barack Obama and his current Chief of Staff, the former U.S. Congressman from Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel.
- Edmonds further details what she had briefly discussed with me on air in June, during an interview I did with her while guest hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show, in which she had said she was aware of the "intimate relationship with Bin Laden and the Taliban ... all the way up to September 11," 2001 by certain forces in the U.S. Whatever the operations were with bin Laden --- actually "'bin Ladens' plural" as she clarifies to Giraldi --- Edmonds notes that "Marc Grossman was leading it, 100 percent" and that the U.S. was "100 percent" aware of the deal. "From Turkey," she says, "they were putting all these bin Ladens on NATO planes. People and weapons went one way, drugs came back."
- There is much more, but one new point, in particular, caught my eye and certainly demands further immediate follow-up, though it could be difficult, even as it may serve to help explain the virtual U.S. media blackout on this story up until now. Edmonds tells Giraldi about Grossman paying off "some other people, including his contact at the New York Times." She says he bragged about faxing articles to the paper, which were then printed under the names of Times reporters or Op-Ed columnists virtually verbatim. In speaking with her on Sunday, in hopes of following up on that a bit --- no reporter is identified by name in the AmCon article --- she said this "also happened with the Washington Post, but the New York Times was their primary one for this."
"Every time they wanted something on Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan, for example, they just faxed it over [to the Times], and it was run under their own guys' name, even though it was written by the State Department," she said during our conversation on Sunday. "This was an ongoing operation, at least during a four year period of time" from 1997 to 2001.
Edmonds was fired by the FBI in 2002, after she began reporting to her superiors on a colleague in the translation department who was, herself, a member of one of the Turkish organizations being targeted by the FBI's counterintelligence investigation.
Edmonds went on to found the non-partisan National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) in August of 2004, "comprised of current or former federal employees or civilians working under contract to the United States who, to their detriment or personal risk, bring to light fraud, waste, and abuse in government operations and agencies when such improprieties compromise the national security of the United States."
Giraldi's article in The American Conservative should be on newsstands and on the Internet, in full, at their website by Tuesday.