the following column, I wrote about Sibel Edmonds, a wiretap
translator formerly employed by the FBI who has stepped forward
with allegations about infiltration of the FBI by a mysterious
"Middle Eastern country." Citing "a trusted
source," I wrote:
to his Justice Department sources, the mysterious "Middle
Eastern country" the [Washington] Post couldn't name for reasons
of national security is indeed Israel."
am now informed by this same source that the
country in question may not be Israel.
the column is not completely invalidated by this backtracking
on the part of my source, it is nevertheless important to
make clear that there is no solid evidence that Israel is
indeed the country referred to in the Washington Post piece.
I regret the error, and apologize to my readers.
US government can be compared to a woman with a horribly disfigured
indeed, a downright grotesque face, who, nonetheless,
manages to hide her increasingly ugly mug with such an array
of near-miraculous cosmetics, roseate lighting, and diversionary
tactics that the casual observer is fooled into beholding
what he believes is a great beauty. But every once in a great
while the mask slips at a moment when the lighting is cruelly
revealing, and we get a glimpse of the horror that lurks beneath.
In the wake of 9/11, federal law enforcement agencies have
indeed been seen in a new and especially cruel light.
Where were they when Osama bin Laden and fellow ghouls
were plotting the destruction of the WTC and the Pentagon
right here under our noses? The picture that has emerged,
at least up until very recently, is one of incompetence on
the level of the Keystone
Kops, a tragi-comedy of errors but now, it appears,
that is the very least of it
mask is slipping badly, now, and the spotlight is shining
brightly, revealing not just stupidity, bureaucratic ineptitude,
and inter-departmental competition, but also treason.
For nothing less than treason is the reason yet another
whistle-blower is making headlines with revelations that
Rowley's charges of high-level obstructionism in the
Zacarias Moussaoui case look relatively innocuous. "2
FBI Whistle-Blowers Allege Lax Security, Possible Espionage,"
the Washington Post headline modestly avers, but that
is putting it rather too mildly. Not since Whittaker Chambers
exposed a Stalinist nest high in the topmost branches of the
US government has the light been shone on such a deep and
dangerous penetration of the nation's high security innards.
Sibel Edmonds, 32, a former wiretap translator in the FBI's
Washington field office, has stepped forward with a stunning
narrative of official obstructionism and high-level espionage
that breaks down into four stunning accusations:
One of her fellow FBI translators, a so-far-unidentified woman,
"belonged to the Middle Eastern organization whose taped
conversations she had been translating for FBI counterintelligence
agents," according to the Post. "'This person
told us she worked for our target organization,'" Edmonds
says. "These are the people we are targeting, monitoring."
This other translator also met with "a foreign official
subject to the surveillance. Furthermore, says Edmonds, this
woman (and her husband, a military officer) "tried to
recruit her to join the targeted foreign group."
As Edmonds wrote in a March letter to the inspector general's
office: "Investigations are being compromised. Incorrect
or misleading translations are being sent to agents in the
field. Translations are being blocked and circumvented."
This mysterious "Middle Eastern organization" had
a definite preference insofar as how the FBI's wiretaps
were translated and by whom. Edmonds says that the woman
presented her with "a list dividing up individuals whose
phone lines were being secretly tapped: Under the plan, the
woman would translate conversations of her former co-workers
in the target organization, and Edmonds would handle other
phone calls." When Edmonds refused, "the woman told
her that her lack of cooperation could put her family in danger."
When she went to her bosses with this information, Edmonds
instead of being thanked, and given a medal was summarily
fired for being "disruptive."
has to ask: "disruptive" of what? The spy
nest ensconced so firmly in the upper reaches of US "law
going any further, let's clear up the matter of this mysterious
"Middle Eastern organization" that takes such an
active interest in and apparently has such an all-pervasive
influence over the internal workings of our very own FBI.
"Officials asked that the name of the target group not
be revealed for national security reasons," the Post
reports, yet enough clues are buried and not very deeply
throughout this story by James V. Grimaldi that we can
narrow the possible suspects to a considerable degree. While
Edmonds is so far refusing to identify this snake hiding amid
the high grass of the FBI's Washington compound, the Post
is a 33-year-old U.S. citizen whose native country is home
to the target group. Both Edmonds and the other translator
are US citizens who trace their ethnicity to the same Middle
friend with access to Lexis-Nexis hey, we
can't afford such bourgeois luxuries here at Antiwar.com!
Whaddaya think this is the Weekly Standard? informs
me that there is indeed a Sibel Edmonds, 33, of Northern Virginia,
formerly Sibel Ganiz or Sibel Deniz, the latter a
Turkish name, although Sibel is perhaps Jewish
or Armenian. Another bit of evidence: Edmonds says that the
other translator, accompanied by the woman's husband, rushed
over to Edmonds' home one Sunday and suggested that Edmonds
"join the group." The Post reports the following
recap of their conversation:
said, 'Are you a member of the particular organization?' [He
said,] 'It's a very good place to be a member. There are a
lot of advantages of being with this organization and doing
things together' this is our targeted organization 'and
one of the greatest things about it is you can have an early,
an unexpected, early retirement. And you will be totally set
if you go to that specific country.'"
so that lets out Armenia as the foreign country involved in
what is clearly an intelligence operation directed at the
United States. I seriously doubt whether anyone could look
forward to a luxurious retirement in threadbare Yerevan, unless
that person is a
singularly dirty (and bargain-hunting) old man. In any
case, Armenian intelligence, I imagine, doesn't have that
large a presence in the US.
same consideration kind of lets out Turkey, which is not
in much better economic shape: the recent economic crisis,
which led to a radical devaluation of the currency (nearly
100%!), massive bankruptcies, and a precipitous fall in the
average income, makes it seem even less inviting as a retirement
home for compromised FBI agents.
is, however, a third alternative, and that is the sole Middle
Eastern country with a standard of living even remotely comparable
to that found in the US. By a process of elimination, then,
Israel seems the only possibility. Turkish
intelligence is known for many things torture, kidnapping,
pursuit of perceived enemies but so far they seem to
have refrained from carrying out their criminal activities
on American soil. The Israelis, on the other hand, do indeed
have a history of intelligence operations conducted in and
against the US. What is more, these operations have
recently been more visible than ever, as Carl Cameron
revealed last year in a
now-famous 4-part series broadcast by Fox News.
report diagrammed a vast underground apparatus run by the
Mossad, one that had penetrated US government "secure"
communications, and might have had foreknowledge of the events
of 9/11 because it's quite possible they were watching the
hijackers, shadowing Mohamed Atta and friends as they plotted
and trained for The Day. A key part of Cameron's revelations
are directly related to US government wiretaps, and, in Part
III of his series, the intrepid Fox News reporter details
the Israeli connection to the company with the exclusive contract
to work on the technical aspects of these operations: Comverse-Infosys,
known as Verint.
makes customized computers and software designed to cut into
the system of circuits and switches that make up the nation's
phone system in order to capture, store, and record wiretapped
conversations, simultaneously sending them to government agents.
The problem, however, is that the producers of this valuable
tool have constant access to the computers and the information
contained therein for "maintenance" purposes. This
amounts to what many in law enforcement regard as a "back
door" left wide open specifically to the Israelis,
who provide up to half of the company's research and development
budget, and naturally works "closely" with them.
The flawed security architecture of US intelligence gathering
was specifically authorized by the 1994 Communications Assistance
for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA. According to Cameron:
government officials have now told Fox News that while CALEA
made wiretapping easier, it has led to a system that is seriously
vulnerable to compromise,and may have undermined the whole
wiretapping system. Indeed, Fox News has learned that Attorney
General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller were
both warned October 18th in a hand-delivered letter from 15
local, state and federal law enforcement officials, who complained
that quote 'law enforcement's current electronic
surveillance capabilities are less effective today than they
were at the time CALEA was enacted.'"
similar investigation conducted by Insight magazine
reporters J. Michael Waller and Paul Rodriguez leads to the
same Israeli "back door" connection to communications
emanating from the National Security Agency, the Defense Department,
the Justice Department, and other government agencies, up
to and including the White House. The point is that the peculiar
vulnerability of the US to its Middle Eastern "ally"
was well-known and widely suspected well before 9/11, and
Edmonds' charges of officially-tolerated espionage. As
Newsmax reported last year:
penetration of Comverse reportedly allowed criminals to wiretap
law enforcement communications in reverse and foil authorized
wiretaps with advance warning. One major drug bust operation
planned by the Los Angeles police was foiled by what now appear
to be reverse wiretaps placed on law enforcement phones by
the criminal spy ring."
how they discovered the giant leak in US wiretapping procedures:
in Los Angeles, according to Carl Cameron. The Drug Enforcement
Agency was tapping the phones of an Israeli-based "Ecstasy"
drug ring, when suddenly the behavior of their quarry signaled
that the DEA's own system of surveillance had been turned
against it. The bad guys were listening in on their own
wiretaps, and changing their plans accordingly, avoiding
reported that "investigators within the DEA, INS and
FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest
Israeli spying through Comverse [Verint] is considered career
suicide." The dead on accuracy of this statement has
been amply dramatized by the FBI career of Sibel Edmonds,
which came to an abrupt end because she dared to raise the
alarm against a spy operation that apparently enjoys some
special immunity. This in spite of the FBI's admission that
Edmonds was right about her co-worker. The Post
FBI confirmed that Edmonds's coworker had been part of an
organization that was a target of top-secret surveillance
and that the same coworker had 'unreported contacts' with
a foreign government official subject to the surveillance,
according to a letter from the two senators to the Justice
Department's Office of the Inspector General. In addition,
the linguist failed to translate two communications from the
targeted foreign government official, the letter said."
own bosses didn't want to hear it: instead of investigating,
they fired her. So Edmonds went to Senators Chuck Grassley
and Patrick J. Leahy, both of whom are demanding answers.
"This whistleblower raised serious questions about potential
security problems and the integrity of important translations
made by the FBI," Grassley said in a statement. "She made
these allegations in good faith and even though the deck was
stacked against her. The FBI even admits to a number of her
allegations, and on other allegations, the bureau's explanation
leaves me skeptical."
turn to a source I wouldn't normally credit, but in this case
Peggy Noonan asks some questions she may not like the
Rowley said she would not use the term coverup to characterize
the FBI's official statements since Sept. 11. She said she
will 'carefully' use, instead, these words: 'Certain facts
. . . have . . . been omitted, downplayed, glossed over and/or
mis-characterized in an effort to avoid or minimize personal
and/or institutional embarrassment on the part of the FBI
and/or perhaps even for improper political reasons.'
improper political reasons? She does not say. But throughout
her memo she demonstrates a seriousness about words, a carefulness
as to meaning. It will be interesting when she is asked by
Congress or the press what she meant exactly."
memo, Rowley relates that, around the Minnesota FBI office
where she was working frantically to rope in the "20th
everyone's first question was: 'Why? Why would an FBI agent(s)
deliberately sabotage a case?'
Jokes were actually made that
the key FBIHQ personnel had to be spies or moles, like Robert
Hansen [actually Hanssen], who were actually working for Osama
aside for the moment the question of why, in the post-9/11
era, a patriotic American with vital information on spies
in our law enforcement apparatus, would have the deck "stacked
against her," as Senator Grassley puts it what about
latest translation "glitch" reported, this time,
by the National Security Agency? This supposedly left two
key Arabic-language messages intercepted "on the eve
of the Sept. attacks" "The match is about to begin"
and "Tomorrow is zero hour" untranslated until Sept. 12.
explanation given, intriguingly, is that the sources weren't
top priority i.e. they didn't involve Osama bin Laden and
his top circle but were important enough to account for
the relatively short two-day lapse. The blame is being placed
on lack of resources, human fallibility, anything but
a deliberate policy of sabotage.
at the bottom of the NSA "glitch" story is the news
that "the House-Senate panel apparently has decided to
delay hearing in an open session testimony by [FBI chief Robert
S.] Mueller, [CIA Director George J.] Tenet and [NSA director,
Lt. Gen. Michael V.] Hayden, originally set for next week.
'We want to make sure when we go public that the right people
are there and we're prepared so we don't look like we're flying
by the seat of our pants,' said Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.),
a member of the panel."
LaHood and his fellow members of congress need is a well-placed
kick directly in the seat of their pants. An open hearing
on these matters is the last thing this administration wants,
and both parties are complicit in keeping the truth from the
American people. How many more 9/11's do we have to go through
before patriots see through the scare tactics, the cover-ups,
and reluctance of the media and political elites to ask the
need to listen to what Edmonds, Rowley, and others are asking:
Why would the FBI hierarchy deliberately sabotage a
case? Why are Israeli spies allowed to roam free, with
untrammeled access to our "secure" communications?
Are top officials of our law enforcement agencies mentally
challenged or is treason the reason?
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