FBI whistleblower rebuts Illinois Congresswoman's response with details, specific questions, and polygraph challenge...
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2009, 10:45pm PT  

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)'s office has vehemently denied serious allegations published by The American Conservative magazine on Tuesday, in which FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds names the Congresswoman as having participated in a lesbian affair with a Turkish agent, and being secretly video-taped for possible blackmail purposes while doing so.

Schakowsky's communications director, Trevor Kincaid, sent us a formal response to the allegations about her, as published as part of the AmCon cover story out today. In the response, Kincaid describes the claims made about the Congresswoman in the interview by former CIA officer Phil Giraldi, as a "hit piece" and a "complete fantasy; cut from the same cloth as the stories by 'birthers' that President Obama is not an American citizen."

The Congresswoman's office also disputed a number of details in Edmonds' account by offering information they believe rebuts the claims made in the article. They further charge that "A simple review of the facts would lead any responsible person to conclude that there is not a shred of truth to any aspect of this story."

Edmonds has responded with specific points in her own rebuttal to the Schakowsky response, and has included a number of direct questions for the Congresswoman in return. She also states that she is "willing to take [a] public polygraph ... on these points if she accepts doing the same." The BRAD BLOG has shared that rebuttal with Kincaid, and the office has responded to that as well, though they failed to directly answer the questions posed by Edmonds, or accept the challenge to a polygraph test.

The interviewer Giraldi has also responded to several shots taken at AmCon in the original Schakowsky response, in which Kincaid writes that the magazine's "goal was not apparently good journalism, but to fabricate one more story line for the right wing smear machine and conspiracy theorists everywhere."

The complete responses, from everyone, all follow below, along with context and additional background...

THE BACKGROUND

After receiving an advanced look over the weekend at Giraldi's AmCon interview with Edmonds, The BRAD BLOG reported yesterday on a number of details in the "explosive" story. The former FBI counterintelligence translator, who had previously been twice-gagged by the Bush Administration's invocation of the "State Secrets Privilege," described blackmail and bribery, by Turkish operatives, of current and former members of Congress (both Republicans and Democrats as named and detailed here) and a number of former high-ranking State and Defense Department officials from the Bush Administration.

The charges, based on conversations said to have been overheard while translating wiretaps at the FBI, also include the theft of nuclear weapons technology, and their sale to Turkey, Israel, Pakistan, Iran, Libya, and perhaps even al-Qaeda.

As Giraldi notes in the AmCon article, "No one has ever disproved any of Edmonds's revelations, which she says can be verified by FBI investigative files." In fact, last year, UK's Sunday Times offered some corroboration for a number of the most serious allegations in a front-page series on the case (see here, here and here), as based on material gathered from former FBI agents. "If this were written up as a novel, no one would believe it," Edmonds conceded to Giraldi in the interview.

Previously, during a sworn deposition (transcript and video here) given in early August in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case pending before the Ohio Election Commission, Edmonds had identified by name, for the first time on the public record, the elected and appointed officials she alleges committed crimes of treason. She withheld Schakowsky's name, however, because she had said she didn't "know if she did anything illegal" following the alleged intimate relationship with the Turkish operative.

In the AmCon piece today, she finally names the Congresswoman on the record, while re-iterating that she did not know "if Congresswoman Schakowsky ever was actually blackmailed or did anything for the Turkish woman." She also added that the operatives "needed Schakowsky and her husband Robert Creamer to perform certain illegal operational facilitations for them in Illinois."

As we noted yesterday, 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, before being released from the federal penitentiary in 2006.

Schakowsky currently serves as a member of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where she chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation.

THE ALLEGATIONS

In her 8/8/09 deposition [PDF] in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case --- in which she was allowed to speak openly and on record for the first time, as the Obama Administration chose not to invoke the so-called "State Secrets Privilege" --- Edmonds described the "hooking" process used by the Turkish targets wiretapped in the FBI counterintelligence operation on which she was working. (Note: Edmonds' sometimes broken English is taken verbatim from the deposition transcript.)

[O]ne of the things that we was taught in the FBI --- everyone was taught in the counterintelligence --- that the target U.S. persons, whether they are in Congress or executive branch or whatever, first go by foreign entities to what they refer to as hooking period, and it was very common; it's a very common way of trying to find vulnerability, and that is sexual, financial, any other kinds of greeds, and it was --- it was done a lot, was being done a lot, and in some cases certain people from Pentagon would send a list of individuals with access to sensitive data, whether weapons technology or nuclear technology, and this information would include all their sexual preference, how much they owed on their homes, if they have gambling issues, and the State Department, high level State Department person would provide it to these foreign operatives, and those foreign operatives then would go and hook those Pentagon people, whether they were at RAND or some other Air Force base.

And then the hooking period would take some times. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes one year. They would ask for small favor, but eventually after they reviewed the targets that the U.S. person --- some small favor, then they would go blackmail and that person would give them everything, nuclear related information, weapons related information. It always worked for them. So it was not always money.

And here is what was alleged, in specific regard to Schakowsky, in today's American Conservative feature story:

GIRALDI: So the investigation stopped in Washington, but continued in Chicago?

EDMONDS: Yes, and in 2000, another representative was added to the list, Jan Schakowsky, the Democratic congresswoman from Illinois. Turkish agents started gathering information on her, and they found out that she was bisexual. So a Turkish agent struck up a relationship with her. When Jan Schakowsky’s mother died, the Turkish woman went to the funeral, hoping to exploit her vulnerability. They later were intimate in Schakowsky’s townhouse, which had been set up with recording devices and hidden cameras. They needed Schakowsky and her husband Robert Creamer to perform certain illegal operational facilitations for them in Illinois. They already had Hastert, the mayor, and several other Illinois state senators involved. I don’t know if Congresswoman Schakowsky ever was actually blackmailed or did anything for the Turkish woman.

In her 8/8/09 deposition [PDF] in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case, Edmonds discussed the same details, although she did not identify Schakowsky by name at the time:

[T]his particular Congresswoman --- the Turkish --- these Turkish organizations and operatives, if they can't do it by money, they do by blackmail. So they collect information on sexual lives and other information like that, and with this particular Congresswoman, it being 2000 until I left, they --- this individual, this Congresswoman's married with children, grown children, but she is bisexual.

So they have sent Turkish female agents, 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. So they have all that documented to be used for certain things that they wanted to request when I left. So I don't know whether she --- that Congresswoman complied and gave. That's why I couldn't use her name because I don't --- I meant her face because I don't know if she did anything illegal afterwards.

But she was --- there are things; information was being collected for blackmail purposes, and her lesbian relationship, and they, the Turkish entities, wanted both congressional related favoritism from her, but also her husband was in a high position in the area in the state she was elected from, and these Turkish entities ran certain illegal operations, and they wanted her husband's help. But I don't know if she provided them with those. I left. I was terminated.

Edmonds was terminated after reporting to superiors about a co-worker in the translation department who, she said, was actually a member of one of the suspect Turkish organizations being targeted by the FBI. Many of her allegations on those points were later found by the DoJ Inspector General, according to a declassified version of his report, to be "credible," "serious," and "warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI."

SCHAKOWSKY'S RESPONSE TO THE ALLEGATIONS

Here is the complete, formal response from Schakowsky's office to the Giraldi/Edmonds interview in AmCon, as sent today to The BRAD BLOG by Schakowsky's Communications Director, Trevor Kincaid [emphasis in original]:

"The American Conservative's most recent hit piece against Congresswoman Schakowsky is complete fantasy; cut from the same cloth as the stories by "birthers" that President Obama is not an American citizen. The source of this story subscribes to the bizarre conspiracy theory that elements of the United States government were involved in the 9/11 attacks.

A simple review of the facts would lead any responsible person to conclude that there is not a shred of truth to any aspect of this story.

It would be just as accurate to say the Congresswoman was kidnapped by little green men and carried in a space ship to the planet Xenon.

From the start, the fantasy is riddled with factual errors. It claims that an "intimate" relationship between a fictional female Turkish spy and the congresswoman began at the funeral of the congresswoman's mother after 2000, however, Rep. Schakowsky's mother died thirteen years earlier in 1987.

Furthermore, it is alleged that the "relationship" occurred in the congresswoman's bugged town house even though she has never owned or lived in a town house in her life. Congresswoman Schakowsky shares a small apartment with her husband in a busy Washington, DC apartment building and owns a single-family home in Illinois.

In fact not one of the events in this fantastic tale ever took place.

Had The American Conservative, (which was founded by Pat Buchanan) adhered to normal journalistic standards it would have fact checked the story and contacted our office. Its goal was not apparently good journalism, but to fabricate one more story line for the right wing smear machine and conspiracy theorists everywhere."

We should note that The BRAD BLOG held back our own preview of the AmCon story for a full day, while hoping to receive comment from Schakowsky's office to run along with it. Several emails and phone calls to Kincaid's cell phone went unanswered over the weekend before we finally heard from him today, after we had already filed yesterday's report and after AmCon had published their cover story interview. Kincaid explained that he hadn't received our queries over the weekend, perhaps due to cell phone problems.

Today he has been very responsive, as we've tried to go back and forth between his office and Edmonds and Giraldi and back again --- and back yet again --- in hopes of getting everyone's full responses on the record.

GIRALDI RESPONDS TO SCHAKOWSKY'S RESPONSE

We'll run Giraldi's response to Schakowsky first, since it's shorter than Edmonds' and he defers to her on several of the fact issues which Edmonds responds to on her own in a moment.

The BRAD BLOG has contacted the American Conservative editors to request a response from them directly, late today, but we have not yet received one. We'll update this item when and if we do. In the meantime, here is Giraldi's response to the statement from Kincaid:

We have already heard from the congresswoman's office and will probably let her rebut "factual errors" but will not get into a series of exchanges with her, though that is a decision that the magazine will make, not me. It was an interview not an article and while we made a clear case that we consider Sibel credible we were not able to factcheck all the names and issues she presented us with though we did check dates and other easily verifiable material. I am not even sure how one would check a death date in the state of Illinois for someone whose maiden name one does not know and as for the townhouse, property records have to be searched in a local court house, as I recall. I cannot address the reliability of the information being provided by the congresswoman and would not even want to attempt to do so.

EDMONDS RESPONDS TO SCHAKOWSKY'S RESPONSE

In her response, the former FBI translator speaks to the fact issues raised in the rebuttal from Schakowsky's office, and includes some direct questions of her own to the Congresswoman in return [emphasis in original]:

Here is my 'on the record' response:

I am, and have been, reporting intercepted communication of targeted operatives; more or less verbatim.

1) This particular operation(s) was based in IL; not DC.
The timeline covered 1996-2002 (January).
The targeted townhouse in question was in IL. The operatives discussed their plans to bug the townhouse in detail. Is this a townhouse she owned/owns? I don't know. Did it belong to the female operative? I don't know. Did the set up take place? Yes; confirmed by the FBI surveillance team; Chicago-Field Office.

2) The female operative in question was to accompany Mrs. Schakowsky to the funeral for 'the mother' and stay with her afterwards.

3) What the targets wanted from Mrs. Schakowsky had to do with their operations in IL. Her husband's role was important in that operation.

Now, to make it fair ask Mrs. Schakowsky the following:

1- Do you deny having sexual relationship with a Turkish woman between late 1990s and early 2001?

2- Do you deny having communication with her (Turkish operative) 'front' office in Chicago, TACA [Turkish American Cultural Alliance]? (Because the records would prove direct communication).

And finally, most importantly: if she denies: I am willing to take public polygraph (independent polygraph service) on these points if she accepts doing the same.

Best,
Sibel

SCHAKOWSKY REPLIES TO EDMONDS RESPONSE

Schakowsky's office, via Kincaid, sent a reply tonight to Edmonds' response above, as follows:

"As with all fairytales, Ms. Edmonds' fantasy about Congresswoman Schakowsky was easily dismantled by introducing irrefutable facts. It is clear from reading her response that Ms. Edmonds has decided to change her story rather than admitting her charade had been revealed. It is unfortunate. Aside from the point that Congresswoman Schakowsky is married, not a single aspect of Ms. Edmonds' original story was true. The claims about Congresswoman Schakowsky do not have a leg to stand on and have been shown to be the stuff of science-fiction and absurd conspiracy theory; absent of any factual basis. Period."

When we pressed Kincaid to see if he wished to answer the specific points Edmonds directed at the Congresswoman at the end of her response, he said he believed his response "does address her questions and all her allegations. Showing them all to be untrue."

When we suggested --- several times --- that the response didn't actually answer the questions posed directly, he replied in kind: "The bottom line is that Ms Edmonds has no credibility because she is apparently willing to make things up and pretend that they are true. We have presented the facts and she changed her story as a result."

Edmonds declined to respond to Kincaid's last reply late tonight, saying instead that she would "have more on that later" as well as re-iterating that her statements were based on "verbatim communication intercepted, recorded, filed, and 'shared.'" [Update: Edmonds has now issued her formal response to Schakowsky. See UPDATE at end of article for details, link.]

We've got a number of notes and various points of fact that we've been collecting throughout the day in regard to all of this. Moreover, a number of open questions remain unresolved in trying to make sense of the different sides of the story, but we wanted to get as much comment as possible, from all sides, onto the public record as soon as possible.

As we're able to gather more information, more comment from those involved, additional corroboration and/or exculpatory evidence in hopes of putting more pieces together on both the allegations about Schakowsky and the many, much broader allegations about many other officials, as now being made on the record by Edmonds, we will, of course, share as much as possible here. We hope other media outlets will consider doing the same.

UPDATE 9/24/09, 7:01pm PT: Edmonds has now issued a former reply, in the form of a letter to Schakowsky, offering additional details and inviting her to join the investigation in her role as Chair of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Intelligence Oversight and Investigation. The complete response is now posted here...

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