Interview with Sibel Edmonds
FBI Translator and 9/11 Whistleblower
Below is the amazing story from the Baltimore Chronicle of an FBI translator who saw documents that clearly show criminal conduct by elements within the US government who could have done things to prevent 9/11. She is being gagged from telling all she knows by the very top levels of government. I have provided the highlights of this long article for you. The link to the full story is immediately below.
I also have worked as a contract Indonesian interpreter with the US Department of State. I have interpreted for Bush, Cheney, Clinton, Gore, and many others. In my work, I have seen a few disturbing things as well, even one instance related to terrorism possibly orchestrated by elements within the US government. You can read the inspiring story of how I came to interpret for the president at www.inspiringcommunity.org/inspiringstories (the story is in Issue #1, at the bottom of the webpage).Take care and have a great day!
With best wishes,
Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls
Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate
by Jim Hogue
Sibel Edmonds and Behrooz Sarshar, beginning in December of 2001, began
filing reports to their superiors at the FBI. These reports could lead to the
collapse of a corrupt power structure that has a stranglehold on the very
institutions that are obligated to control it. On April 30th, Sibel Edmonds
was my guest for 50 minutes on WGDR radio. What follows is an edited
transcript of the interview.
Sibel Edmonds is a former FBI translator. She blew the whistle on the cover-up of intelligence that names some of the culprits who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. These culprits are protected by the Justice Department, the State Department, the FBI, the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee. They are foreign nationals and Americans. Ms. Edmonds is under two gag orders that forbid her to testify in court or mention the names of the people or the countries involved.
JH: Ms. Edmonds, what I'll do is invite you to tell us whatever you would like--your stint with the FBI--and what the brouhaha with Ashcroft and company is all about.
SE: I started working for the Bureau immediately after 9/11 and I was performing translations for several languages: Farsi, Turkish, and Azerbaijani. And I do have top-secret clearance. And after I started working for the Bureau, most of my translation duties included translations of documents and investigations that actually started way before 9/11.
During my work there I came across some very significant issues that I started reporting in December of 2001 to the mid-level management within the FBI. They said to basically leave it alone, because if they were to get into those issues it would end up being a can of worms. And after I didn't see any response from this mid-level bureaucratic management I took it to higher levels all the way up to [assistant director] Dale Watson and Director Mueller. And, again, I was asked not to take this any further and just let it be. And if I didn't do that they would retaliate against me.
At that point, which would be around February 2002, they came and they confiscated my computer, because, they said, they were suspecting that I was communicating with certain Senate members and taking this issue outside the Bureau. And, at that point, I was not. They did not find anything in my computer after they confiscated it. And they asked me to take a polygraph as to the allegations and reports I'd made. I volunteered and I took the polygraph and passed it without a glitch. They have already confirmed this publicly.
In March 2002 I took this issue to the Senate Judiciary Committee and also I filed it with the Department of Justice Inspector General's office. And as per the Senate Judiciary Committee's request the IG started an expedited investigation on these serious issues; and they promised the Senate Judiciary Committee that their report for these investigations would be out by fall 2002 latest. And here we are in April 2004 and this report is not being made public, and they are citing "state privilege" and "national security" for not making this report public.
Three weeks after I went to the Senate Judiciary Committee the Bureau terminated my contract, and they cited "government's convenience." I started working with the Senate Judiciary Committee that was investigating this case, and I appeared before the Inspector General's office for their investigation several times, and I also requested documents regarding these reports under the Freedom of Information Act; and they blocked this by citing again the "state secret privilege" and "national security" refusing to make these documents public.
On October 18th 2002 Attorney General Ashcroft came out personally, in public, asserted this rare "state secret privilege" on everything that had to do with my case. And they cited "diplomatic relations" and certain "foreign relations" that would be "at stake" if I were to take this issue and make it public. And, since then, this has been acting as a gag on my case.
testified before the [9/11] commission on February 11th 2004. I have been
waiting for this report that they [the Attorney General's office] have been
blocking for a year and a half from becoming public. The information I
requested under the Freedom of Information Act has been blocked for two years.
And I have been campaigning for the past three months trying to get the
Senate Judiciary Committee that has the oversight authority and
responsibility to start its own public hearings. However, this request is
again being blocked. Now they [AG] are citing this upcoming election as
reason. And here I am.
JH: And it is the Attorney General who is blocking your testimony.
Senator Leahy, on April 8, 2004, sent a very strong letter to Attorney
General Ashcroft, citing my case stating that he, Senator Leahy, has been
asking questions, and has a lot of issues that have not been addressed, and
asking AG Ashcroft to come and provide answers. And AG Ashcroft for the past
two years has refused. So he [Leahy] is calling for a public hearing.
However, Senator Hatch, who is the Republican Chairman of the Senate, has
been a road block. And Senator Grassley [a Republican member of the Senate
Judiciary Committee] went on the record with New York Observer's Gail Sheehy
and said that Senator Hatch is blocking this investigation from taking place
and for this public hearing to be held by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
JH: Do you think that Leahy and Grassley are going to try to plow ahead with this, or do you think that there is a back door deal with Hatch?
SE: Well....as far as I see, Senator Leahy has been trying, and it's a strong letter that he issued a few weeks ago. [Ms. Edmonds refers here to the GPO's PDF (Senate--April 8, 2004; pages s4012-4014) regarding Ashcroft's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2003. Senator Leahy describes the inaction of Attorney General Ashcroft since their first meeting on September 19th 2001 as a "flagrant avoidance of accountability."]
I'm very disappointed with Senator Grassley's office and his staff members.
They initially were very supportive. But what I am getting from their office
every time I call is, "Well this issue is under the Inspector
General," and that their hands are tied. And then I press further and
ask, "Well, what do you mean, 'our hands are tied'? Who's tying your
hands? Untie it. Let's get it untied." They don't have any response.
They say, "Well, this issue is very complex, and as you know, it is
being investigated." And I'm not seeing any issue being investigated.
What I'm seeing is that this issue is being covered up, and relentlessly
being covered up, in consideration of "state privilege," which
people are calling "the neutron bomb of all privilege."
JH: I have a question having to do with "mid-level" management at the FBI. Why do you think that mid-level FBI management would care enough to stop you from doing your job?
was mainly for the reason of accountability. As you know, and as the chairman
for the 9/11 Commission [Thomas Kean] answered during Tim Russert's show: to
this day, not a single person has been held accountable. And certain issues,
yes, they were due to a certain level of incompetence. But there were certain
other issues--you know they keep talking about this "wall," and not
having communication. I beg to differ on that, because there are certain
instances where the Bureau is being asked by the State Department not to
pursue certain investigations or certain people or certain targets of an
investigation--simply citing "diplomatic relations." And what
happens is, instead of targeting those people who are directly related to
these illegal terrorist activities, they just let them walk free.
JH: And they interrogate people who are trying to make voting safe.
that is hypocritical. I see people detained for simple INS violations. On the
other hand I have seen several, several top targets for these investigations
of these terrorist activities that were allowed to leave the country--I'm not
talking about weeks, I'm talking about months after 9/11.
JH: And there were four major FBI investigations, not counting yours, that were squelched in Phoenix, Minneapolis, Chicago and New York.
JH: So, obviously, we have mid-level FBI people who have been told something. It was the mid-level FBI people who knew enough to squelch many of these investigations before they went further. So how did they know to do that? Can all of them have been incompetent?
JH: So they got the word down from Mueller, probably.
cannot confirm that for sure, but I can tell you that there is so much
involvement, that if they did let this information out, and if they were to
hold real investigations--I'm not talking about this semi-investigation
they're holding under this "Joint Inquiry"--the pure show of the
9/11 Commission that has been getting the mass media's attention. If they
were to do real investigations we would see several significant high level
criminal prosecutions in this country. And that is something that they are
not going to let out. And, believe me; they will do everything to cover this
up. And I am appalled. I am really surprised. I'm taken back by seeing the
mass media's reaction to this. They are the window to our government's
operation and what are they doing?
JH: I have another question: when the gag order was written, it had to do with "diplomatic relations." Right?
is what Attorney General Ashcroft cited.
JH: Are you allowed to say that it's the Saudis?
cannot name any country. And I would emphasize that it's plural. I understand
the Saudis have been named because fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were
from Saudi Arabia. However, the names of people from other countries, and
semi-legit organizations from other countries, to this day, have not been
JH: And the information that you have been gagged on has to do with that specifically.
Correct. And specifically with that and their ties to people here in this
JH: I understand why you can't say anything about this, but there are several books out about the Bush ties to the Saudis and the bin Ladens in particular. And in David Griffin's book, The New Pearl Harbor, there is a very good synopsis of the ISI, which is the Pakistani intelligence service. He shows the direct connections between the CIA, the ISI, and Mohamed Atta. He makes a very convincing case that the Pakistani ISI had been helping to plan 9/11 for a long time. I don't imagine that you are allowed to say much about that.
SE: You are
correct. But I can tell you that the issue, on one side, boils down to money--a
lot of money. And it boils down to people and their connections with this
money, and that's the portion that, even with this book, has not been mentioned
to this day. Because then it starts touching some people in high places.
JH: Can you explain more about what money you are talking about?
SE: The most significant information that we were receiving did not come from counter-terrorism investigations, and I want to emphasize this. It came from counter-intelligence, and certain criminal investigations, and issues that have to do with money laundering operations.
get to a point where it gets very complex, where you have money laundering
activities, drug related activities, and terrorist support activities
converging at certain points and becoming one. In certain points - and they
[the intelligence community] are separating those portions from just the
terrorist activities. And, as I said, they are citing "foreign
relations" which is not the case, because we are not talking about only
governmental levels. And I keep underlining semi-legit organizations and
following the money. When you do that the picture gets grim. It gets really
....JH: Let me read you a short quote from Dr. Griffin's book and ask you to comment on it. "...The transfer of money to Atta [$325,000], in conjunction with the presence of the ISI chief in Washington during the week, [is] the missing link behind 9/11....The evidence confirms that al-Qaeda is supported by Pakistan's ISI (and it is amply documented that) the ISI owes its existence to the CIA."
cannot comment on that. But I can tell that once, and if, and when this issue
gets to be, under real terms, investigated, you will be seeing certain people
that we know from this country standing trial; and they will be prosecuted
criminally. I understand this administration and their anti-transparency,
anti-accountability and their corrupt attitudes. But that aside, we are not
made of only one branch of government. We are supposed to have a system of
checks and balances. And I am saying, how about the other two branches? And
putting the pressure on our representatives in the Senate and the Congress,
and the court system. They should be counter-acting this corruption, but they
are sitting there silent. And they are just an audience, just watching it
happen. Senators Leahy and Grassley and Hatch have the obligation to do that.
This needs to be demanded of them. People need to pick up their phones. They
need to write to these people and say, "You'd better fulfill your
JH: There is an article in the April sixth TRUTHOUT by Paul Sperry from WorldNet Daily about you and one of your colleagues...
JH: Behrooz Sarshar.
SE: He is another translator who worked in the same department as I did. Mr. Sarshar wanted to make this information public, however he just wanted to go to the Senate Judiciary Committee and receive their support and protection under the whistleblower protection act. And I facilitated this meeting, and several 9/11 family members and I took Mr. Sarshar to the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting in Senator Grassley's office. Mr. Sarshar provided them with detailed information, however, to this day Senator Grassley has not acted upon that, and he passed the buck to the 9/11 Commission. Next we arranged for a briefing between the 9/11 Commission and Mr. Sarshar, and he went there on February 12th, 2004 and he provided the investigators for the 9/11 Commission, for almost three hours with all the details of the investigation that had to do with the 9/11 terrorist attack. He gave them the names of certain assets used by the Bureau for at least twelve years. He gave them contact information for certain agents who were aware of these issues. And they, themselves, wanted to come and talk about it, but they needed certain protection. Mr. Sarshar provided them with all this information and where to look for these documents etc. and, to this day, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the 9/11 Commission have been passing this buck back and forth.
So, all this information has been sitting in front of them. They have not called any of those witnesses introduced by Mr. Sarshar to them. And during the 9/11 Commission hearing with [FBI] Director Mueller, none of these questions were asked. In fact they did not have any questions for Director Mueller, and they left it at that [except for the remark by Mr. Ben-Veniste that they should be addressing the translation issues behind closed doors.] And "behind closed doors" has become a black hole for me because I have been in these closed door sessions so many times within the Senate, within the Inspector General's office, within the 9/11 Commission. And whatever information you are providing them behind these closed doors, you know for sure that that information will stay there and will never get out.
That is why we are demanding to have public hearings with the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Senate floor and open to the public.
JH: Do you think the Ellen Mariani case will help any of this? [Ellen Mariani is a 9/11 widow whose attorney, Philip Berg, is suing the United States under the RICO statute for the death of Mr. Mariani at the WTC.]
SE: I have
read about her case. But there is another lawsuit: the Motley Rice legal firm
that is representing over a thousand family members. They sent me a subpoena
to provide them with a deposition. And one day before that deposition took
place, the government attorneys intervened and asked the court for a hearing
and they quashed this subpoena request. They sent eight heavyweight attorneys
from the Department of Justice, and Mr. Ashcroft's right hand. And basically
put on this show in front of the judge, saying, "Sibel Edmonds, if you
were to provide this information, our national security and our state secret
privilege and our foreign relations will be destroyed. Therefore, Your Honor,
we want you to quash this subpoena." Motley Rice told the judge that
they wanted to ask for information that has already been made public. The
government maintained that even though the information was public, it was
still classified. And Judge Walton granted their request.
JH: There is some hope coming from statements made by former FBI counterintelligence agent I.C.Smith who thinks that 9/11 would have been stopped, had the FBI been allowed to do its job. He is strongly critical of FBI assistant director Dale Watson.
Do you believe that 9/11 could have been stopped if information like yours had been properly handled?
SE: At the
very least, as early as May/June 2001, we could have issued a red code alert
to the public, and we would have issued this very urgent warning system,
which would, in return, have increased our Airport and INS security. Could we
have prevented in 100% certainty? I don't think anything is that certain.
However, we would have had a very, very good chance for preventing it. And
agent Smith and I, we crossed the same person, because my case has to do with
Dale Watson too.
JH: The trouble is: once you make this information public, you mess up the plan. And if one of the investigations from Phoenix, Chicago, New York, or Minneapolis had been followed through, let alone all four, it would have burst the bubble.
SE: Look, Jim, they had those four pieces you mentioned, and far more than that, believe me, far more than that. And that has not been made public. And for them to say that we did not have any specific information is just outrageous. Because what were they waiting for? An affidavit signed by bin Laden?
JH: "Hey Dumb Ass! Coming 9/11!" So their statement that they didn't have the information is outrageous.
SE: And they have been backing off from that. About two weeks before Condoleezza Rice appeared before the 9/11 Commission she made the statement, "We had no specific information." And I told the press that that was an outrageous lie. That was printed on the front page of The Independent [UK] and several other papers here. And what she did during the hearing was very interesting. She corrected herself saying, "Well, I made a mistake. I should not have said 'we.' I should say that I personally did not have specific information." And that is exactly what I stated. "We" includes the FBI, and therefore I can tell you with 100% certainty that that is an outrageous lie.
the Commission didn't ask, "Well, who is the rest of this 'we'?"
JH: They don't want to know.
they don't want to know. This is the heart of it. The attitude of the Senate
members has been "See no evil. Hear no evil. Just let it go." And
you can't let that happen. The only people I have seen who have been truly
pushing for the truth are the family members. All they have asked for are
three things. They want the truth, the facts, the real facts, the
straightforward truth. They want accountability. And they want us to improve
our security. That's it. They have no other agenda. And now they're smearing
JH: Well, they have to figure out the angle.
JH: Ms. Edmonds, thanks for being our guest.
SE: Thank you very much. I'm honored to be on your show and I hope I'll be on again. And I hope you will able to get Senator Leahy. I'd like to be able to have a chat with him. [Laughter]
JH: Fat chance. He withers at the thought.
SE: We're going to still be pounding. I'm preparing this petition, and it's going to be signed by many, many people and I'm going to be wheeling it in personally to both Senators Leahy and Grassley. And it will have some level of coverage. And once they see the cameras and the people, suddenly their personalities change. It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. They become very sweet.
JH: If you see either one of those two [Leahy or Grassley], I'd be more than happy to have either one them on - with you. Let's see what we can do.
SE: Okay, let's hope. Thank you, Jim. Bye.
NOTE: Jim Hogue provided the following conclusion to this interview:
"The facts reported by Sibel Edmonds and Behrooz Sarshar are
incontrovertible. Result: Silence. And you must agree to be a part of this
silence.The gag order permeates the White House, the Senate Judiciary
Committee, all levels of the FBI, the CIA, the 9/11 Commission, the NSC, the
Pentagon, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and the mass media. The
media and the White House will next assassinate Miss Edmond's character, as
they have done to others who haven't rolled over and played dead. Never in
the course of human events has so great a story been covered up by so many on
the orders of so few.
The likes of Seymour Hersh, Bob Woodard and Judith Miller should put their tails between their legs and slink away, while the obscure academic, Dr. David Ray Griffin, citizen Eric Hufschmid, author Gore Vidal, independent journalists Michael Ruppert and Christopher Bollyn, and the 9/11 families are recognized among those who kept open the window to Democracy.
Miss Edmonds has challenged us to do our jobs as citizens. It isn't often that a phone call could change the course of history. Now is such a time."
Jim Hogue, a retired high school teacher and professional actor, has been doing a Vermont-based listener-sponsored radio show each week for over 10 years. Prior to 9/11, the show was literary in nature, but since then Hogue's coverage has greatly expanded.
Copyright © 2004 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.
And here is a piece from our 25-page time line at www.WantToKnow.info/9-11timeline25pg:
March 22, 2002:Translator Sibel Edmonds is fired by the FBI after raising suspicions about a co-worker and her connections to an unnamed foreign official and organization. Both Edmonds and the co-worker, Dickerson, were hired as translators in late Sept. 2001. Edmonds claims that Dickerson failed to translate sensitive information concerning the foreign official and organization, which is under investigation. When Edmonds failed to agree to spy for this organization, Dickerson told her that her refusal could put her family in danger. After her boss and others in the FBI failed to respond to her complaints, she wrote to the inspector general's office in March: "Investigations are being compromised. Incorrect or misleading translations are being sent to agents in the field." She claims she was fired for her whistleblowing, and is suing. A second FBI whistleblower, John Cole, also claims to know of security lapses in the screening and hiring of FBI translators. [Washington Post, 6/19/02, CBS 10/25/02] In Oct. 2002, at the request of FBI Director Mueller, Attorney General Ashcroft asks a judge to throw out Edmonds's lawsuit. He says he is protecting national security interests. [AP, 10/18/02]
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