Friday, December 16, 2005

Two Wronged Women 

Mike Meija of Online Journal draws on two recent articles by Christopher Deliso (here and here) to connect a couple of our favorite dots: fired FBI translator Sibel Edmonds and outed CIA operative Valerie Plame. The gag order against Ms. Edmonds was recently upheld by the Supreme Court, so she cannot directly answer the question Meija poses at the top of the story: "Was Plame's role at the CIA as a weapons of mass destruction expert critical, as old CIA hands like Larry Johnson contend, or was she just a paper pusher, as the pro-Bush crowd proclaims?" But the information she does disclose is quite tantalizing:
According to Deliso's two sources, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, the outing of Valerie Plame may have severely damaged a CIA operation to monitor a nuclear black market faciliated by the shadowy but well-connected Washington lobby group, the American Turkish Council (ATC). (Those familiar with the Sibel Edmonds case will know the ATC is the very same organization that the former FBI translator heard on wiretaps in connection with various alleged illegal activities, some connected to 9/11.) From Edmonds, Deliso obtained the following admission: "Plame's undercover job involved the organizations [the FBI had been investigating], the ATC (American-Turkish Council) and the ATA (American-Turkish Association) . . . the Brewster Jennings network was very active in Turkey and with the Turkish community in the U.S. during the late 1990s, 2000, and 2001 . . . in places like Chicago, Boston, and Paterson, N.J."

Such a stunning statement by the former FBI contract linguist could be dismissed by those not familiar with the whistleblower's well-established credibility were it not for the fact that Edmonds is, at least in part, corroborated by Ambassador Joseph Wilson himself. In his book The Politics of Truth, Wilson recounts on page 240 that he first met Valerie Plame in 1997, at a reception at the home of the Turkish ambassador which Wilson attended to receive an award from -- you guessed it -- the American Turkish Council. Wilson, of course, never explains in his book what brought Valerie Plame to attend this ATC-sponsored event, but since it is public information that Plame was an undercover CIA operative at the time, the simplest explanation is the most likely one: she was there as part of her Brewster Jennings & Associates cover. Although U.S. law prohibits the CIA from conducting espionage operations against U.S. citizens on American soil, nothing would have prohibited Plame from attending such an event in Washington.

These revelations about Plame's surveillance of the American Turkish Council are significant because the ATC is connected to powerful neocons like Richard Perle and Douglas Feith (and, to be fair, to powerful anti-Iraq War activists like Brent Scowcroft and Joe Wilson.) And Edmonds implies that at least some on the ATC neocon side of this scandal are heavily involved in the nuclear black market: Feith and Perle, along with former Ambassador to Turkey Marc Grossman, are fingered by Edmonds as figures of interest.

One only has to recall that Perle and Feith are close allies of Scooter Libby, one of the original leakers of Plame's identity to the media, to conclude that Libby may have had more than one motive in seeing Plame's career and the whole Brewster Jennings operation destroyed. While several Beltway journalists, including the liberal Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, have tried to virtually chase Patrick Fitzgerald out of town by peddling the GOP storyline that going after the Plame leaker(s) amounts to "criminalizing politics," this new evidence suggests that the leak may not have been done in the spirit of good, old fashioned Washington hardball after all: A good case could now be made that outing Plame was an intentional act pepetrated to protect real criminal activity. Casting the investigation in such a light may show that a violation of the
Intelligence Identities Protection Act could still be in play.

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