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Former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson says the recent disclosures in the UK's Sunday Times concerning the sale of U.S. nuclear secrets to the foreign black market, as aided by high-ranking government officials, are "stunning."
The previously covert agent, who had worked in the agency's counter-proliferation division for years monitoring traffic in the nuclear black market under the guise of a cover company named Brewster Jennings until being outed by Bush Administration officials, was asked about the recent series of explosive stories in the British paper during an interview this morning with Florida radio host Henry Raines of American AM.
Those disclosures include allegations that Brewster Jennings' real identity as a CIA front company was outed to Turkish officials by then-Asst. Sec. of State for European Affairs Marc Grossman as early as 2001...
Former CIA analyst and international security and counter-terrorism expert Philip Giraldi has filed some of the American media's best reports (even though we realize that's not necessarily saying much) on the Sibel Edmonds case.
If you missed it a week or two ago, Giraldi filed a detailed report on the latest of Edmonds' allegations on the sale of U.S. nuclear secrets, on the foreign black market, to friend and foe alike, as aided and abetted by very high-ranking U.S. officials. His article, published at American Conservative Magazine and titled "Found in Translation," is a must read for both folks new to the issue and those who may have missed a beat or two along the way. The case also, if you haven't noticed, ties in to the Valerie Plame Wilson/Brewster Jennings CIA Leak Case, and includes allegations that her cover company was outed to foreign agents by the #3 in the State Department, Marc Grossman, years before Robert Novak wrote his infamous column blowing the cover of the previously covert Plame Wilson.
Giraldi has now posted a slightly more general read this morning at Huffington Post, in an article titled "Sibel Edmonds Must Be Heard." The piece offers both an easily readable summary of the case so far and another scathing (and well-deserved) condemnation of the American corporate mainstream media for all but ignoring the story.
He even notes, correctly, the failure of "so-called gadflies like Olbermann and Moyers" to cover this story, as we detailed ourselves several moons ago...
(Toon by Paul Jamiol. Hat-tip to TheZoo's "nwmuse" who offers, along with the above, a bunch of good details on the Sibel Edmonds case. Our own extensive Edmonds coverage can be read by you, and ignored by the MSM, right here.)
[UPDATE: The UK Sunday Times piece referred to below as "coming tonight" has now been published right here: "Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe." Some key passages and a bit more commentary has been been posted as an update, appended to the bottom of the article below.]
I'm in an alternative media conference up here in Santa Cruz, CA, for the bulk of the day and evening, so may or may not be here when the story gets filed. So offering an advance heads-up that UK's Sunday Times is set to offer another exclusive tonight on Sibel Edmonds' claims of the illicit sale of U.S. nuke secrets to the foreign black market, as protected by high-ranking U.S. officials, and the connections in the story to Valerie Plame Wilson's "Brewster Jennings" CIA cover company.
Should hit around 7pm
PT ET. (If any of the BRAD BLOG eds are around, please feel free to update this item with a link to the new article when it runs.)
For those of you just jumping into this story, our most recent articles of note on the explosive series of Times/Edmonds stories are here...
The collection of all of BRAD BLOG's Edmonds stories are here...
UPDATE: The new Sunday Times piece is now posted. Here it is: "Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe"
It's another blockbuster. So big, the U.S. media have assigned several extra reporters to begin ignoring it immediately.
The article picks up on the Times' coverage from last week, which corroborated one element of an "anonymous letter" referring to an FBI case number said to be at the center of allegations by "gagged" former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. In response to a FOIA request, the FBI had denied the existence of documents related to such a case number, though the Times corroborated the existence of an official document referring to that case.
The BRAD BLOG obtained the anonymous letter several weeks ago, prior to the Times' expose, but has yet to publish it in full.
Part of the letter alleges that Marc Grossman, the former #3 State Department official under Powell and Armitage, tipped off Turkish agents that Valerie Plame Wilson's "Brewster Jennings" was actually a CIA counter-proliferation operation tracking the sale of nuclear secrets to the foreign black market.
The Times series of articles, including the latest, does not give Grossman's name, but refers to him, and quotes him as a "State Department official." Here are the money grafs, and there are several of them, from the Times article, along with a few more details in follow-up...
Just in...Marc Grossman, who has been named in the Sibel Edmonds case as allegedly receiving bribes from Turkish and Israeli agents and warning the Turkish Embassy to stay away from Valerie Plame Wilson's "Brewster Jennings" front company, will be testifying tomorrow morning (Wed.) before a sub-committee of Henry Waxman's House Oversight committee.
Edmonds has just contacted us, and is urging bloggers and other willing media to show up to the hearings, with video cameras and questions for the former #3 man at the State Dept., who, she alleges, was heard on wiretaps as being complicit in a scheme to smuggle nuclear secrets to the worldwide nuclear black market. If the U.S. media won't do their job on this, as the UK's Guardian notes today, then it's up to the alternative media to do it for them. Tomorrow morning might be a great chance.
The hearing will start at 10:00 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will also be webcast on this page.
Legendary "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg posted a scathing guest blog on BRAD BLOG, over the weekend, regarding the Edmonds case and the U.S. mainstream media's failure to cover it. He is currently in D.C. and will hopefully be at the hearing himself tomorrow.
His op-ed followed on the heels of the new UK Sunday Times' story in which they reported confirmation of an alleged FBI cover-up, and possible destruction of documents in the case, vis-a-vis an anonymous letter (which we have, but have yet to publish in full) charging Grossman's complicity in outing Plame Wilson's front company, Brewster Jennings, when he worked at the State Dept. Plame Wilson's CIA front had reportedly been involved in monitoring the sale of nuclear weapons and secrets to black marketeers in the Middle East.
As well, former spook --- and Edmonds expert in his own right --- Phil Giraldi has just filed a piece on the latest Edmonds information, including much more on Grossman, at The American Conservative.
-- Guest BRAD BLOG Op-Ed by Daniel Ellsberg
For the second time in two weeks, the entire U.S. press has let itself be scooped by Rupert Murdoch's London Sunday Times on a dynamite story of criminal activities by corrupt U.S. officials promoting nuclear proliferation. But there is a worse journalistic sin than being scooped, and that is participating in a cover-up of information that demands urgent attention from the public, the U.S. Congress and the courts.
For the last two weeks --- one could say, for years --- the major American media have been guilty of ignoring entirely the allegations of the courageous and highly credible source Sibel Edmonds, quoted in the London Times on January 6, 2008 in a front-page story that was front-page news in much of the rest of the world but was not reported in a single American newspaper or network. It is up to readers to demand that this culpable silent treatment end.
Just as important, there must be pressure by the public on Congressional committee chairpersons, in particular Representative Henry Waxman and Senator Patrick Leahy. Both have been sitting for years on classified, sworn testimony by Edmonds --- as she revealed in the Times' new story on Sunday --- along with documentation, in their possession, confirming parts of her account. Pressure must be brought for them to hold public hearings to investigate her accusations of widespread criminal activities, over several administrations, that endanger national security. They should call for open testimony under oath by Edmonds --- as she has urged for five years --- and by other FBI officials she has named to them, as cited anonymously in the first Times' story.
And this is the time for those who have so far creditably leaked to the Times of London to come forward, accepting personal risks, to offer their testimony --- and new documents --- both to the Congress and to the American press. I would say to them: Don't do what I did and waste months of precious time trying to get Congressional committees to act as they should in the absence of journalistic pressure. Do your best to inform the American public directly, first, through the major American media.
But perhaps today the alternative media and the international press are a necessary precursor even to that. It shouldn't be true, but if it is, it's a measure of how far the New York Times and Washington Post have fallen from their responsibilities to the public, to their profession and to American democracy, since I gave them the Pentagon Papers in 1971. They printed them then. Would they today?
By Brad Friedman from on the road...
Though there has been worldwide coverage of the recent blockbuster in the Rupert Murdoch-owned British paper, the U.S. media have remained entirely mum, a point which has drawn great consternation from both Edmonds and the 70's-era "Pentagon Papers" Daniel Ellsberg, whom The BRAD BLOG has spoken to this evening, following the release of tonight's extraordinary new Times piece.
The paper now reports that they are able to corroborate an apparent FBI cover-up of documents detailing an investigation of the theft and sale of nuclear secrets to agents working for Turkey and Israel, who in turn shared the secrets with Pakistan, who in turn may have shared those secrets with Iran, North Korea, Libya, and possibly even al-Qaeda.
As The BRAD BLOG reported along with the Times two weeks ago, the operation also includes allegations that high-ranking U.S. officials --- such as Marc Grossman, a former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, who served as the #3 official in the State Department under Colin Powell and Richard Armitage from 2001 to 2005 --- were involved in the sale of those secrets and may have accepted pay-offs from agents in the black market network in the bargain.
The Times article tonight was originally published under the headline "FBI 'covers up' file exposing theft of nuclear secrets," according to Google News.
Though that header has already been changed to "FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft."
The Times' article refers to an FBI case number (203A-WF-210023) referenced in an anonymous letter sent to The Liberty Coalition, a DC-based transpartisan civil and human rights watchdog organization. A subsequent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, asking for information referring to that case number, resulted in a denial from the FBI that such a case exists.
The letter describes, among other things, allegations that Grossman had warned officials at the Turkish embassy in DC of the existence of a CIA counter-proliferation operation using a "CIA cover company" by the name of "Brewster Jennings." That company was a front used by covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, who was later outed by White House officials in the now-infamous CIA Leak case.
The BRAD BLOG had obtained a copy of the anonymous letter some weeks ago, along with the FBI's denial of the existence of related information via the FOIA request. We've been in touch with the Sunday Times over the past week, as this story has been developing.
We have yet to publish the letter in full, however, as we have been unable to independently corroborate a number of allegations made in the letter.
The Times, however, reports that they've "obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file" referred to in the anonymous letter.
We've also just spoken to Edmonds, who has been under an unprecedented 5-year-long gag order by the U.S. Department of Justice. The DoJ has threatened Edmonds with prosecution under the so-called "State Secrets Privilege." The threat of prison has kept her from speaking publicly about details related to the case, which she claims to have heard while translating wiretaps for the FBI in 2001 and 2002. She has spent many years encouraging members of Congress to hold hearings and a public investigation into the case. Despite public support from senators such as Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and a promise for investigations from members of Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) office, who have been briefed on the details, no such investigation has been carried out to date.
Edmonds denied being the source for the anonymous letter, telling The BRAD BLOG "absolutely not," when we asked her directly if she was its author...
Surely there's nothing violative about that, right? Rogues gallery though it may be.
Sibel maven, Luke Ryland, has done us the favor of putting names to the faces, adding that "we can reasonably presume that they are the 21 guilty people in her case."
Here are those names, sectioned into three groups, as Edmonds has grouped the photos in her own "Gallery":
Current and former Pentagon and State Department officials...
- Richard Perle
- Douglas Feith
- Eric Edelman
- Marc Grossman
- Brent Scowcroft
- Larry Franklin
Current and former congressmen...
- Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Ex-House Speaker
- Roy Blount (R-MO)
- Dan Burton (R-IN)
- Tom Lantos (D-CA)
- ? (Photo simply a box with question mark in it)
- Bob Livingston (R-LA), Ex-House Speaker
- Stephen Solarz (D-NY)
The 3rd group includes people who all appear to work at think tanks - primarily WINEP, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
If you've yet to read yesterday's blockbuster report (and the several updates added throughout the day), please do.
And then, with facts and faces and names in mind...there's this to ponder over your breakfast, lunch, dinner or nightmare. Also courtesy of the good Mr. Ryland, as originally posted last summer, if somehow more fitting of late, as the noose begins to tighten...
-- By Brad Friedman
[Updated --- now several times --- with a number of significant items, additional info, background, reaction and analysis from around the blogosphere, all at the end of the article.]
Sibel Edmonds, the former FBI translator who has been under a Bush administration gag order for the past 5 years, has now begun to disclose some of the classified information she has been prohibited from revealing.
"A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets," reports Great Britain's Sunday Times in the lede of their front page exclusive, headlined "For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets."
In the article, just filed tonight, Edmonds reveals details overheard on wiretaps she translated during her time at the FBI, just after 9/11. Her disclosures to the Times reveal a maze of nuclear black market espionage involving U.S. Defense and State Department officials, that resulted in the sale and propagation of nuclear secrets to Turkish and Israeli interests. In turn, that information was then sold to Pakistan and used by A.Q. Kahn for development of nuclear weapons. The secrets were subsequently proliferated to Iran, Libya, North Korea, and potentially al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden, just weeks prior to September 11th, 2001.
The explosive allegations, shared with the Sunday Times over the last several weeks, follow on the heels of two reports published late last year by The BRAD BLOG, based on our own exclusive interviews with Edmonds.
I did quick 10 minutes this morning on the nationally syndicated Stephanie Miller Show, as Guest Hosted by our friend Bree Walker. The topic: the latest in the Sibel Edmonds case. And if you're not yet familiar with the case, here's a quickie on what it is, why it matters and what you can do about it.
Here's the audio from my appearance this morning on Stephanie's show...
Brad Friedman, from St. Louis, MO...
If you've followed our recent blockbusters about FBI translator-turned-whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds (the latest, in which legendary 1970's whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg describes her case as "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers," is here), but remain unclear on the heart of what she has to expose --- if she's ever able to expose it --- our friend Lukery at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak, offers a good summation today, as culled from his near-encyclopedic knowledge of the case. If you're unclear on things, and it's easy to be, given the scope of her allegations, please read his piece today.
You may also wish to see our handy bullet-point version of the breadth of cover-ups that she is ready to risk prison in order to disclose in full by defying her absurd five-year long "gag order" by the DoJ.
Lukery points us to Philip Giraldi's column on Edmonds from the American Conservative (yes, the American Conservative), which Edmonds has described as "the most accurate summary of my case". According to Giraldi...
The Giraldi piece is short and to the point, and described by Edmonds as "100% right", so we recommend you give it a quick read.
As Luke further explains in his helpful summation:
Sibel has already named names (though not all) - Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, William Cohen, Marc Grossman, Eric Edelman, Dennis Hastert, Bob Livingston and others - and she has also named the countries involved: Turkey, Israel, Pakistan, the other 'Stans - and of course the US.
He also offers a few contacts for some of the media outlets we mentioned in our exclusive yesterday, as having so far failed to take up Edmonds' couragous offer to hand them one helluva blockbuster interview. We're happy to repost those contacts here for you, as without noise from the public (that would be you!), the American corporate media will continue to avoid the issue like the plague, and the bad guys will simply keep smiling from the shadows...
PHONE: (212) 975-3247
MSNBC & NBC...
Just in from Waxman's office after this morning's stunning revelation that the White House never conducted an investigation into the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson, despite a number of promises from Bush to do exactly that and an executive order signed in early 2003 which requires such an investigation in the wake of such a disclosure.
In a statement sent to The BRAD BLOG, Waxman's office explains that a letter just sent to White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten asks for an explanation as to why the White House "did not follow the investigative steps prescribed by Executive Order 12958," as signed in March 2003. The order requires the White House to "'take appropriate and prompt corrective action' whenever there is a release of classified information," according to the statement. (Waxman's letter is posted in full at the end of the article.)
During this morning's testimony of James Knodell, Director of the Office of Security at the White House, it was revealed --- to the amazement of the assembled Congress members on the House Oversight Committee panel --- that no such investigation was ever conducted.
"Taken as a whole, the testimony at today's hearing described breach after breach of national security requirements at the White House," the letter reads. "The first breach was the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity. Other breaches included the failure of Mr. Rove and other officials to report their disclosures as required by law, the failure of the White House to initiate the prompt investigation required by the executive order, and the failure of the White House to suspend the security clearances of the implicated officials."
Waxman asked for the following from Bolten: "I request that you provide the Committee with a complete account of the steps that the White House took following the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity (1) to investigate how the leak occurred; (2) to review the security clearances of the White House officials implicated in the leak; (3) to impose administrative or disciplinary sanctions on the officials involved in the leak; and (4) to review and revise existing White House security procedures to prevent future breaches of national security."
Waxman's letter to Bolten follows in full...
As requested by a number of readers, the following chart was displayed at today's House Oversight Committee hearings (live blogged here) as chaired by Henry Waxman (D-CA). The BRAD BLOG obtained the chart from his office.
It was presented by Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH) during the hearing and shows the known number of disclosures of Valerie Plame-Wilson's identity by the White House and the State Department. Plame-Wilson testified under oath today that she was a covert CIA operative working to monitor WMD in Iraq when her cover, and that of her entire network, was blown after the disclosure of her identity by White House officials.
She also testified it was the first time such a CIA agent's cover was purposely blown by our own government.
The chart is followed by the section from the text transcript when the chart was initially displayed this morning...
What happened to you is deadly serious. You were the victim of a national security breach. If this was a law enforcement context, something I'm familiar with, it would be equivalent to disclosing the identity of an undercover police officer who has put his life on the line, and the lives of all those who help that officer.
Our job on this committee is to find out how the breach happened. Now, I'd like to show you a chart that we prepared on the committee --- you'll see it up on the screens, and we're putting it up here on paper. That chart is a graphic depiction of all the ways that your classified CIA employment was disclosed to White House officials and then to the press.
Every colored block on that chart is an individual, and every arrow shows a disclosure of classified information. That classified information was your CIA employment status. And the arrows are based on the testimony in Mr. Libby's criminal case and press reports. This chart shows over 20 different disclosures about your employment. Let me ask you, looking at this chart, are you surprised that so many people had access to the classified information about your CIA employment?
MS. PLAME WILSON: Yes, I am, Congressman. And I'm also surprised at how carelessly they used it.
In the second panel in the House Oversight Committee hearings this morning, following the testimony of Valerie Plame-Wilson, the Director of the White House Security Office, James Knodell, has stunned the Congress members by disclosing that no investigation into the leaking of Plame-Wilson's covert identity as a CIA operative was ever conducted by his office!
The members are flabbergasted. The questioning is intense. My live-blogging notes are posted, and updated live, below...
Also, the third panel, featuring Victoria Toensing, apologist for White House leaks, was fascinating, as her previous claims that "Plame was not covert" and that "she didn't serve overseas within five years prior to the leak" had been demolished by Plame-Wilson's earlier testimony. She attempted to mitigate the situation throughout her testimony by claiming that Plame-Wilson was not covert "under the provisions of the statute." Many more details below...
(Live blogging of Valerie Plame-Wilson's testimony is back here...)
UPDATE: Video of complete hearing and related documents now online at House Oversight Committee website right here...
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