WASHINGTON - Sibel Edmonds, who was fired after exposing national security
concerns at the FBI, will testify before Congress for the first time Wednesday.
Edmonds, a former Middle Eastern language specialist for the FBI, will share
her story with members of the House Committee on Government Reform's Subcommittee
on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. The hearing
will focus on the emerging threats of over-classification and pseudo-classification.
Edmonds will testify about the government's excessive use of classification
to cover up its own misconduct in her case. The hearing will be at 1 p.m. at
the Rayburn House Office Building, in room 2154.
The hearing comes on the heels of a Justice Department decision last week to
make public information about Edmonds' case that it had previously retroactively
classified. The information has gone through a series of classification flip-flops
that started in May 2004, when the department retroactively classified information
about Edmonds' case that the FBI had provided to Congress in public briefings.
Edmonds, hired by the FBI shortly after 9/11, was fired after reporting shoddy
translation work and national security breaches within the agency. She challenged
her retaliatory dismissal by filing a law suit in federal court, but her case
was dismissed last July after Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the so-called
"state secrets privilege." The Justice Department apparently decided to retroactively
classify the Congressional briefings not to protect national security but to
bolster its "state secrets" claim. The ACLU is representing Edmonds in her appeal.
An executive summary of the Justice Department's Inspector General report into
her termination concluded that Edmonds was fired for reporting the misconduct,
and that such treatment would discourage federal employees from speaking up
about potential security risks.
The ACLU said that the Edmonds case is part of a larger pattern by the government
to silence employees who expose national security blunders. Coleen Rowley, Manny
Johnson, Robert Woo, Ray McGovern, Mel Goodman, Bogdan Dzakovic, and Mike German
are just a few of the other national security whistleblowers who were vilified
and retaliated against.
Henry Waxman, a California Democrat and the ranking minority member on the
House Committee on Government Reform, asked Edmonds to testify at the hearing
Wednesday. A witness list for the hearing is attached.
For a web feature on the Sibel Edmonds case and more information on national
security whistleblowers, go to http://www.aclu.org/whistleblower.
Details on the hearing:
WHAT: A House Committee on Government Reform subcommittee hearing on over-classification
WHO: FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds will testify at the hearing
WHEN: Wednesday, March 2, 2005, 1 p.m.
WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2154