Monday, April 25, 2005
We have always assumed that the Bush administration invoked the "state secrets privilege" to silence Sibel Edmonds because the former FBI linguist was sitting on information that might embarrass either the FBI or certain of our Middle Eastern allies. But the story may be larger than that: Tom Flocco, who has been following her case even longer than we have, scored an interview with Edmonds in which she would not confirm, but refused to deny, that laundered drug money linked to the 9/11 attacks found its way into various campaign war-chests, according to intelligence intercepts she was asked to translate. When she spoke with Flocco, Edmonds had just been ejected from her own hearing:
"Tom, I’m telling you that not a single newspaper covered what happened to me on Thursday when I went into court," said the exasperated translator, adding, "[Judge David] Ginsberg kicked everyone out, cut off my lawyer’s arguments and told us ‘we have questions to ask the government’s attorneys that you cannot hear.’ "UPDATE (4/26): From Balkanalysis comes news of a newly-formed whistleblowers' supergroup:
Criminal evidence in Edmonds’ explosive case is apparently getting too close to Washington officials, since the former contract linguist also told us she would not deny that "once this issue gets to be...investigated, you will be seeing certain [American] people that we know from this country standing trial; and they will be prosecuted criminally," revealing the content of the FBI intercepts she heard indicates that recognizable, very high-profile American citizens are linked to the 9/11 attacks.
Edmonds implied that legislators and even lobbyists were benefiting from laundered narcotics proceeds in an earlier interview with the Baltimore Sun, "...this money travels. And you start trying to go to the root of it and it’s getting into somebody’s political campaign, and somebody’s lobbying. And people don’t want to be traced back to this money" . . . .
When we asked how many Americans were named in the intercepts, Edmonds said "There is direct evidence involving no more than ten American names that I recognized," further revealing that "some are heads of government agencies or politicians--but I don’t want to go any further than that," as we listened in stunned silence . . . .
"Judge Ginsberg said ‘I am asking the plaintiff and her attorneys to stand outside;’ then they had government officers standing at the door to prevent anyone from listening. And after about 25 minutes, they came out and said ‘we have finished questioning the government attorneys and we don’t need you anymore, so you are free to leave,’ " said the crestfallen former translator.
"I cannot be present at my own hearing; and not a single paper was there Thursday to cover the story--even though all of my allegations were supported by the FBI Inspector General’s report and my case involves 9/11 and national security," said Sibel Edmonds.
The celebrated Sibel Edmonds, in coalition with fellow whistleblowers like Coleen Rowley, John Vincent and Mike German of the FBI, is announcing a new "united front" in the form of a new pressure group, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) . . . .According to a press release, coalition members have arranged two congressional meetings to "demand that Congress act to end government retaliation against those who expose national security blunders, that Congress hold hearings into the federal government’s actions against whistleblowers, and that Congress act to require ‘individual accountability’ for retaliation against whistleblowers."
Evidently deciding that joining forces in the battle to influence legislators in the fight for accountability and reform is the best way to go, Edmonds and Co. have scheduled an inaugural meeting for Thursday. Especially noteworthy is the list of eminent and experienced former officials supporting them, including the grandaddy of them all, Daniel Ellsberg