The military news outlet Military.com is covering the story of FBI linguist-turned-whistelblower Sibel Edmonds as their lead story today.
Reporter Bryant Jordan's 1,500 word feature includes a background summary of Edmonds' story, which The BRAD BLOG has been detailing for years, and a summary of the allegations she offered under oath last August in her sworn deposition following seven years of "forced silence" under a court-ordered gag due to the so-called "State Secrets Privilege" twice-invoked by George W. Bush's Department of Justice. A good round-up of the startling information Edmonds says she gleaned while listening to and translating wiretaps in the counterintelligence division at the FBI after 9/11 is offered throughout his coverage.
Jordan's piece is well reported and includes, for the first time to our knowledge, several forms of denials of Edmonds allegations by some of Bush's key State and Defense Department officials --- such as Richard Perle and Douglas Feith --- who, she says, were participants in espionage plots against the United States in order to share military and even nuclear secrets with Turkish and Israeli government operatives.
Edmonds also offers a very spirited and seemingly common-sense response to those denials (one of which is rather ironic in retrospect) and to critics who maintain she has been offering these allegations due to some form of vendetta.
If you're not already familiar with Edmonds' story, we'll recommend Jordan's full article at Military.com, just as we have previously recommended the excellent cover-story interview by CIA vet Philip Giraldi at American Conservative magazine also published following her 8/8/09 deposition in which she was finally able to tell her story publicly and on the record for the first time. She did so as the Obama Dept. of Justice chose not to invoke the "State Secrets Privilege" when they had the opportunity this time.
If you are already familiar with her story, then read on, as we'll try to highlight the new information in which Jordan advances the story a few beats --- as every other U.S. mainstream corporate media outlet has simply failed to since Edmonds' remarkable allegations have finally become public...
Jordan ledes with the background on the specific aspects of Edmonds' far-reaching allegations which he will then expand on throughout much of his coverage:
In sworn testimony to attorneys on Aug. 8, Sibel Edmonds described a Pentagon where key personnel helped pass defense secrets to foreign agents or provided them names of knowledgeable officials who were vulnerable to blackmail or co-option.
And firmly rooted in this espionage program in the 1990s, according to Edmonds' deposition, were two men who, with the election of George W. Bush as president in 2000, found themselves in the Pentagon: Douglas Feith, who would head the Office of Special Plans, and Richard Perle, who would become chairman of the Defense Advisory Board.
"They were 100 percent directly involved," Edmonds told Military.com. "They were not in the Pentagon [in the late 1990s] but they had their people inside the Pentagon." One of those people, she said, was Larry Franklin, an Air Force officer assigned to the Office of Special Plans who, in 2003, passed classified information to representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Office, or AIPAC. By then Feith was leading the OSP.
With that in place, Jordan offers various forms of "emphatic" denials from both Perle and Feith --- something which, apparently, other U.S. news organizations have been unable or unwilling to do at all up until now. (Note: The BRAD BLOG has requested comment from a number of those accused by Edmonds, including former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Marc Grossman, former Ambassador to Turkey and Under Secretary of State in the Bush Administration who is said to have been the U.S. ring-leader in the operation. Both have refused multiple requests for comment.):
"This woman is a nutcase. Certifiable," Perle said. "She makes wild accusations. She was fired from her job, and has been on a vendetta against … imagined demons ever since."
Feith, in an email to Military.com, said: "What I've read on the Internet about Ms. Edmonds's claims about me is wildly false and bizarre."
Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Eric Butterbaugh declined comment, saying any investigation into such allegations would be carried out by the FBI. An FBI spokesman said the bureau's policy is not to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.
You'll note that Perle engaged in a direct ad hominem attack on Edmonds' character in his direct quote --- a non-denial denial, if you will - but he is not directly quoted as actually denying the charges, even as Jordan reports that Perle "emphatically denied Edmonds' claims in an interview with Military.com." So if Perle actually did deny the charges directly, we'll have to take Jordan's word on that for the moment.
It should also be kept in mind that Perle was one of the key Bush Administration players at the State Department advocating war against Iraq both before and after 9/11, claiming Saddam Hussein had WMD and "ties to Osama Bin Laden." He had also been highly critical of the CIA for not acting on information being supplied by Iraqi defectors, such as Aghmed Chalabi and others, whose information was regarded by the agency as dubious long before it was ultimately and fully discredited. All of that is worth keeping in mind as Perle charges that Edmonds is "a nutcase" chasing "imagined demons."
Military.com also received another general, blanket denial. This one from The Cohen Group, the D.C. lobbying firm where Grossman now serves as Vice Chairman. The Cohen Group has not answered several requests for comment from The BRAD BLOG in the recent past.
As we've previously reported, the firm, which has represented both Turkey and Israel, sells itself with this pitch: "Mastering the complex and often veiled dynamic where government, politics, media, and business intersect requires a rare combination of knowledge, skills and experience. Our Principals bring centuries of experience at the White House, the State Department, the Defense Department, and Congress."
Founded in 2001 by President Clinton's former Republican Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, the company's website goes on to note: "The Cohen Group's reach extends internationally where our Principals have developed great expertise and relationships with key political, economic and business leaders and acquired valuable experience with the individuals and institutions that affect our clients' success abroad."
Instead of receiving a direct denial from Grossman --- who, we presume, declined to respond directly to Military.com for some reason --- the article offers a denial from Robert S. Tyrer, co-president of Grossman's lobbying firm:
Robert S. Tyrer, co-president of The Cohen Group, a Washington lobbying firm where Grossman is now a vice chairman, told Military.com in an email that Edmonds' allegations against the former ambassador "are completely untrue and ludicrous."
Jordan goes on to offer a direct response from Edmonds to the notion that she has been disclosing all of her information as form of bizarre vendetta, as charged by Perle in his non-denial denial quoted above:
"I did it [testified] under oath," she said. "I have a very successful financial life, I've been married 18 years. I have a family, I have a daughter, I have a lot to lose. I'd have to be either mentally insane or someone who doesn't have anything to lose, [who] just makes allegations and lies under oath," to claim these things if they were not true.
The article also offers information and statements in support of Edmonds from others, such as from 18-year FBI executive John M. Cole. Cole, who, as The BRAD BLOG covered in detail two weeks ago, had corroborated several key elements of Edmonds' allegations, including confirmation that Grossman had been targeted by a "decade-long investigation" by the FBI "which ultimately was buried and covered up." Cole has also called for a "Special Counsel" to be named to "investigate [the] allegations and have people's feet held to the fire. Have them be held accountable for their actions" in this matter.
He also added a chilling note to his comments, which we reported at the time [emphasis taken from his original, recorded statement]: "You know, it really irritates me that people are getting away with murder, in some cases. They should not be allowed to get away with that. There needs to be accountability."
In Jordan's article, Cole comments on an aspect of Edmonds' allegations which have a fresh resonance this week, following the arrest of a top U.S. Dept. of Defense scientist busted by the FBI in a sting operation after he was allegedly attempting to sell nuclear secrets to an undercover agent he had thought was representing Israel:
"In the 1990s I was responsible for Western Europe and Israel [counterintelligence cases]," Cole told Military.com. "We did have ongoing investigations of officials in the State Department and also the Department of Defense." And he said cases did extend outside the Pentagon, to various Air Force Bases and the RAND Corp. - something Edmonds also stated in her testimony.
As she has previously, Edmonds echoed Cole's statements about "ongoing investigations" of various State and Defense Department officials as well as various contractors. Apparently scientist Stewart David Nozette, who was arrested this week for attempting to sell nuclear secrets to Israel precisely as Edmonds has long charged in her allegations, had been both an official at the Defense Department and a private contractor sharing information he had collected while working at nuclear facilities and the Pentagon.
“There is a black market for everything, including for nuclear-related information, weapons technology,” she told Military.com.
Finally, in a related note here, we'd like to flag your attention to blogger "Connecticut Man1" who, at ePluribus Media, has been digging and connecting a few interesting dots in the arrest of Nozette, reported by the DoJ to have travelled to an unspecified "Foreign Country A" as part of his alleged Israeli espionage bid. The blogger has collected some information which suggests that "Foreign Country A" could, perhaps, be Turkey, said to have been working very closely with Israel in all of the matters discussed in Edmonds' charges.
"It is starting to look like a conspiracy theorist's dream," Connecticut Man1 concludes, "Or just what Sibel Edmonds was talking about all along."
Uh, yeah. Or, we could just take the discredited Richard Perle's word for it --- as so many in the indispensable U.S. corporate media seem to have done --- that "this woman is a nutcase."
We report, you decide.
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