Sibel Dinez Edmonds, a Turkish-American, was "hired as a translator by the FBI shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 because of her knowledge of Middle Eastern languages. She was fired less than a year later in March 2002 for reporting shoddy work and security breaches to her supervisors that could have prevented those attacks." 
"On January 14, 2004, the Justice Department's Office unclassified summary of the Justice Department's Inspector General's report on Edmonds found that many of her claims 'were supported, that the FBI did not take them seriously enough, and that her allegations were, in fact, the most significant factor in the FBI's decision to terminate her services.'" 
- 1 Silencing Sibel
- 2 Edmonds' March 2, 2005, Testimony
- 3 Background: FBI Whistleblower
- 4 Wrongful Dismissal Suit
- 5 Reclassification of Testimony
- 6 2009 Deposition
- 7 Related SourceWatch Resources
- 8 External Resources
- 9 References
On April 21, 2005, a "day after taking the extraordinary step of ordering a secret hearing," the Washington, D.C., U.S. Court of Appeals "denied pleas to open the former FBI translator's First Amendment case to the public," taking what James Ridgeway called "another twist..., as the government continued its seemingly endless machinations to shut her up." 
Edmonds' March 2, 2005, Testimony
After the Department of Justice succeeded in April 2004 to quash her testimony in "a class action lawsuit over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks," on March 2, 2005, Sibel Edmonds made her Statement Before the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and Internal Relations. The essence of Edmond's opening statement was "Emerging Threats: Overclassification and Pseudo-classification."
Background: FBI Whistleblower
- On July 13, 2003, CBS News' posted an October 2002 interview by Ed Bradley with Edmonds. The introduction states that:
- "This is the story of hundreds, if not thousands, of foreign language documents that the FBI neglected to translate before and after the Sept.11 attacks because of problems in its language department - documents that detailed what the FBI heard on wiretaps and learned during interrogations of suspected terrorists."
- Edmonds said that "the documents weren't translated because the divison was riddled with incompetence and corruption."
- The Department of Justice "has taken the unusual step of retroactively classifying information it gave to Congress nearly two years ago regarding a former F.B.I. translator who charged that the bureau had missed critical terrorist warnings, officials said [May 19, 2004]."
- "Law enforcement officials say the secrecy surrounding the translator, Sibel Edmonds, is essential to protecting information that could reveal intelligence-gathering operations. But some members of Congress and Congressional aides said they were troubled by the move, which comes as critics have accused the Bush administration of excessive secrecy." 
- The Independent UK's Andrew Buncombe reported on April 26, 2004, that the Bush administration's Department of Justice is seeking to keep Edmonds from "providing evidence about 11 September intelligence failures to a group of relatives and survivors who have accused international banks and officials of aiding al-Qa'ida." 
- "Sibel Edmonds was subpoenaed by a law firm representing more than 500 family members and survivors of the attacks to testify that she had seen information proving there was considerable evidence before September 2001 that al-Qa'ida was planning to strike the US with aircraft. The lawyers made their demand after reading comments Mrs Edmonds had made to The Independent." 
- DOJ "is seeking to stop her from testifying, citing the rarely used 'state secrets privilege' ... senior government lawyers will try to gag Mrs Edmonds, claiming that disclosure of her evidence 'would cause serious damage to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States'." 
- Tom Flocco wrote April 27, 2004, that Edmonds "did not back down regarding reported evidence she uncovered implicating espionage in the FBI and State Department when we recently asked whether she thought the explosive information would ever see the light of day." 
- "'As you know, I cannot say much about that'," Edmonds said, "'but why do you think Attorney General John Ashcroft asserted State Secret Privilege in my case when I decided to go public with what I had found in the translations?' ... Justice Department lawyers at the request of FBI Director Robert Mueller invoked the arcane legal procedure which even allows the withholding of evidence documents from the judge," Flocco wrote. 
- "The translator alluded to additional but more volatile allegations in a phone call on Friday night to Kyle Hence, cofounder of 9-11 Citizens Watch, who said in a widely distributed email that Edmonds told him 'if what she knows is revealed, it could lead to charges of treason being leveled against officials at top levels of the U.S. government,'" Flocco wrote. 
- "Hence added, 'If that is the case, then all those who have been involved in keeping this information from getting to the public are complicit in this treason.'" 
- Flocco cautioned that "Americans might not have to wait too long to find out," as in a Washington, DC courtroom on April 27, 2004, "FBI attorneys will appear before Judge Reginald Walton in an attempt to block attorney Ronald Motley's subpoena request to depose Edmonds as a witness for his $1 trillion lawsuit on behalf of 9-11 families to tell what she knows about prior warnings of the attacks." 
- In "DOJ Asked FBI Translator To Change Pre 9-11 Intercepts," Tom Flocco wrote March 24, 2004:
- "Attorney General John Ashcroft told me 'he was invoking State Secret Privilage and National Security' when I told the FBI I wanted to go public with what I had translated from the pre 9-11 intercepts".
- Edmonds said, "My translations of the pre 9-11 intercepts included [terrorist] money laundering, detailed and date specific information enough to alert the American people, and other issues dating back to 1999 which I won't go into right now."
- Incredibly, Edmonds said "The senate Judiciary Committee, and the 911 Commission have heard me testify for lengthy periods of time time (3 hours) about very specific plots, dates, airplanes used as weapons, and specific idividuals and activities."
- This explosive information has been kept under wraps by the White House, CIA, FBI, and DOJ since Edmond's 60 Minutes interview segment.
- In the "Sept. 11 commission cites intelligence agency failures," Chris Strohm wrote March 24, 2004:
- Edmonds said that the FBI had "real, specific" information relating to the Sept. 11 attacks before they happened. Sibel Edmonds worked for the agency working from Sept. 20, 2001 to March 2002.
- "Edmonds said she was hired to retranslate material that was collected prior to Sept. 11 to determine if anything was missed in the translations that related to the plot. In her review, Edmonds said the documents clearly showed that the Sept. 11 hijackers were in the country and plotting to use airplanes as missiles. The documents also included information relating to their financial activities. Edmonds said she could not comment in detail because she has been under a Justice Department gag order since October 2002.
- "Edmonds has testified before the Sept. 11 commission, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Select Intelligence Committee."
Wrongful Dismissal Suit
Edmonds sued in July 2002 to contest her firing from the FBI. However, the suit was dismissed in July 2004 by Judge Reggie Walton in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, after Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked a rarely used power and declared the case as falling under "state secret" privilege.
The A.C.L.U. joined her cause in January 2005, when it asked the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reinstate her suit against the government. 
In February 2005, lawyers for the government said in a brief filed with the court that the suit could not continue without "disclosing privileged and classified information", and would therefore cause "significant damage to the national security and foreign policy of the United States." 
Reclassification of Testimony
"The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) sued the Justice Department and Attorney General John Ashcroft in June 2004 claiming the retroactive classification of Edmond's testimony was a violation of the First Amendment." 
August 8, 2009 Sibel Edmonds provided a deposition under oath; her testimony had been subpoenaed by David Krikorian (D-OH), in connection with his defense against a lawsuit by Jean Schmidt (R-OH).  Edmonds answered basic questions about her background and work with the FBI, and her previously reported allegations regarding the following; espionage and other crimes by Melek Can Dickerson and her husband Major Douglas Dickerson; FBI investigations of Turkish influence and corruption of Congress; members of Congress involved, and their crimes; Edmonds' 'State Secrets Privilege Gallery' at her website, justacitizen.com; Behrooz Sarshar's report of FBI 9/11 foreknowledge; how blackmail operations are conducted; the Armenian Genocide; the 'revolving door' between the U.S. government and the Turkish Lobby, and the relationship between support from the Turkish Lobby and official acts by members of Congress. Edmonds also testified to Turkish/U.S. support for Fethullah Gulen, Al Qaeda (aka the Mujahideen), radicalization of Muslims and use of them as proxies to influence geopolitics. 
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Sibel Edmonds Official website, justacitizen.com.
- Sibel Edmonds' Blog, BoilingFrogsPost.com.
- Sibel Edmonds - History Commons Profile, HistoryCommons.org.
- "The Sibel Edmonds Story," Break for News website.
- National Whistleblowers Center.
By Sibel Edmonds
- "Our Broken System," antiwar.com, July 9, 2004.
- "The Puzzling 9/11 Report," antiwar.com, July 24, 2004.
- Public Letter to 9/11 Commission Chairman from FBI Whistleblower, August 1, 2004; posted on Common Dreams website; also posted on antiwar.com website.
- Edmonds et al., "National Security Experts Demand to Be Heard," antiwar.com, September 14, 2004: The "letter to Congress is signed by 25 national security experts."
- "FBI Audit Leaves Vital Questions Unanswered," antiwar.com, October 7, 2004.
- "Demand Accountability," antiwar.com, January 27, 2005.
- Testimony, March 2, 2005 (pdf).
- "Gagged, but Still Going Strong," antiwar.com, May 16, 2005; "Gagged, But Not Dead" on justacitizen.com website.
- "Where Is Accountability?" antiwar.com, June 21, 2005.
Documents & Letters
- Letter from Senators Patrick J. Leahy and Chuck Grassley to Attorney General John Ashcroft re allegations made by Edmonds, August 13, 2002: "Even after verifying some of these allegations, the FBI downplayed the importance of this matter and seemed to imply that it had ceased looking into the complaints as a security matter until after the Inspector General finished their investigation. Anyone who remembers the long-time treachery of former FBI Supervisor Robert Hanssen, would be concerned at this reaction. For years, Hanssen's bizarre actions were also written off as minor security breaches and unworthy of serious consideration. If even routine diligence had been exercised earlier, Hanssen could have been stopped from doing untold damage. The FBI needs to learn from its mistakes." Also published by the Washington Post.
- "Press Release. Statement of FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and Her Attorneys," August 13, 2002. Published in the Washington Post.
- "Statement of Barbara Comstock, Director of Public Affairs, Regarding Today's Filing in Sibel Edmonds v. Department of Justice," October 18, 2002: "To prevent disclosure of certain classified and sensitive national security information, Attorney General Ashcroft today asserted the state secrets privilege in Sibel Edmonds v. Department of Justice. This assertion was made at the request of FBI Director Robert Mueller in papers filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Department of Justice also filed a motion to dismiss the case, because the litigation creates substantial risks of disclosing classified and sensitive national security information that could cause serious damage to our country’s security. ... The state secrets privilege is well-established in federal law. It has been recognized by U.S. courts as far back as the 19th century, and allows the Executive Branch to safeguard vital information regarding the nation’s security or diplomatic relations. In the past, this privilege has been applied many times to protect our nation’s secrets from disclosure, and to require dismissal of cases when other litigation mechanisms would be inadequate. It is an absolute privilege that renders the information unavailable in litigation."
- Charles Grassley, Letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller. Press Release: "Grassley Seeks Overhaul of FBI's Translation Unit. Iowa Senator Cites High Stakes in War on Terrorism," October 28, 2002: "At a June 17, 2002 briefing regarding the case of Sibel Edmonds, FBI officials stated that the bureau was nearly finished with translating existing documents. Am I to believe that the FBI has translated all existing foreign language documents and conducted analysis of the information? ... I understand that Ms. Edmonds' case remains under investigation by the Justice Department Inspector General. Regardless of that specific case, however, it is clear not only from her information but from other government agencies that the FBI's translation capabilities need improvement."
- "A Review of the FBI's Actions in Connection With Allegations Raised By Contract Linguist Sibel Edmonds," Office of the Inspector General, Office of Oversight and Review, Department of Justice, January 2005 (unclassified); posted on Federation of American Scientists website.
- "ACLU Urges Supreme Court to Review Case of FBI Whistleblower. Vanity Fair Profile Reveals New Facts About FBI's Termination of Former Translator Sibel Edmonds," ACLU, August 4, 2005.
- Interview with Sibel Edmonds, Radio Free America/radiofreeamerica.tv, March 26, 2004.
- "Fmr. FBI Translator: White House Had Intel On Possible Airplane Attack Pre-9/11." Interview by Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, March 31, 2004.
- Jim Hogue, "Interview: Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate," Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel, May 7, 2004.
Articles & Commentary
- "FBI Employee Blows Whistle on Suspicious Activities by Coworker,", Memory Hole: "From the original article on the subject, '2 FBI Whistle-Blowers Allege Lax Security, Possible Espionage' by James V. Grimaldi, Washington Post, June 19, 2002."
- Terry Frieden, "Justice probes FBI translator allegations," CNN, June 19, 2002.
- Justin Raimondo, "TREASON IS THE REASON. Mystery spies outed by FBI whistleblower," antiwar.com, June 21, 2002.
- James V. Grimaldi, "Senators Criticize FBI, Justice. Whistle-Blower's Allegations Ignored, Lawmakers Say, Washington Post, August 14, 2002.
- Carl Cameron, "FBI Whistleblower Takes Legal Action Demanding Co-Worker Be Deposed," Fox News, August 14, 2002.
- "Did FBI Deliberately Slow Translation?", CBS News, October 25, 2002.
- Brian Blomquist, "Translator Claims Work Scam at FBI," New York Post, October 26, 2002.
- "Government Covers its Ashcroft", November 8, 2002: "The Boston Globe Online reports government efforts to block a suit by FBI translators alleging that misconduct by managers led to the delayed translation of pre-911 intercepts of messages regarding the imminent attacks."
- David Pace, "FBI ordered to expedite release of papers," AP, December 10, 2002.
- "Quick Release Sought on FBI Whistleblower Files," AP, December 10, 2002: "A federal judge ordered the FBI to expedite the release of information sought by a whistleblower who was fired after she raised allegations of security lapses in the FBI's translator program. ... U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle ordered FBI officials to appear in court Friday and disclose when the agency will provide the sensitive documents sought by Sibel Edmonds, a former contract linguist. ... The Justice Department's inspector general is investigating whether the FBI retaliated against Edmonds, who was fired last spring and subjected to a security review after she made allegations about security lapses. The bureau cited performance issues for the dismissal. ... Edmonds's allegations range from shoddy transcriptions by unqualified translators to suggestions that one interpreter with a relative who works at a foreign embassy may have compromised national security. ... After her firing, Edmonds filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act seeking records about herself, her personnel file and her whistleblower allegations. She asked that the request be expedited, but the FBI refused. ... But in a ruling Dec. 3, Huvelle cited news reports in concluding that Edmonds had offered ample evidence of media interest in her allegations. The judge said Edmonds's charges 'call into question the integrity' of the FBI."
- Wind Rider, "Any updates to the story?", Silent Running, July 15, 2003.
- Paul Sperry, "Arab translators cheered Sept. 11. FBI whistleblower: 'Questions of loyalty' taint interpretation of al-Qaida chatter," World Net Daily, January 7, 2004.
- Jeffrey R. Nyquist, "Outrageous Bureaucratic Bungling," Financial Sense, January 8, 2004.
- Gail Sheehy, "Whistleblower Coming In Cold From the F.B.I." (Cache file), The New York Observer, January 26, 2004.
- "Lost in Translation,", CBS News, July 13, 2003. Also includes photo of Edmonds.
- Eric Boehlert, "A former FBI translator told the 9/11 commission that the bureau had detailed information well before Sept. 11, 2001, that terrorists were likely to attack the U.S. with airplanes," Salon, March 26, 2004 (requires site pass or subscription).
- Shaun Waterman, "FBI: Lost in translation?," UPI, March 31, 2004.
- Andrew Buncombe, "I Saw Papers That Show US Knew al-Qa'ida Would Attack Cities With Airplanes", Independent/UK, April 2, 2004.
- Amy Goodman, Coleen Rowley, Sibel Edmonds, Two FBI Whistleblowers Accuse Bureau of Ignoring Warnings Before 9/11, Democracy Now, 9 April 2004.
- Ann Kornblut, "Translator in eye of storm on retroactive classification," Boston Globe, July 5, 2004.
- Eric Lichtblau, "Whistle-Blowing Said to Be Factor in F.B.I. Firing," New York Times, July 29, 2004. Article also available at truthout.org.
- Fred Kaplan, "Federal Bureau of Incompetence. The shameful treatment of Sibel Edmonds proves the FBI's urgent need for reform," Slate, July 29, 2004.
- "Whistleblower Sues for Release of 9/11 Info," antiwar.com, September 22, 2004.
- Steve Perry, "An October Surprise for Bush and the FBI?", Bushwarsblog.com, September 30, 2004.
- "Government is Abusing 'States Secrets Privilege' to Cover Up National Security Blunders, ACLU Says," ACLU.org, January 12, 2005.
- Terry Frieden, "Report: FBI failed to probe internal spying charge. Fired contractor's allegations had 'some basis in fact'," CNN, January 14, 2005.
- Jim Bridis, "FBI faulted over linguist's complaints. Agency's review deemed lacking," Associated Press (Boston Globe), January 15, 2005.
- Eric Lichtblau, "Inspector General rebukes F.B.I. over espionage case and firing of Sibel Edmonds," New York Times, January 15, 2005.
- "Administration Blinks; Admits Retroactively Classified Information Not Harmful to National Security," ACLU (truthout.org), February 22, 2005.
- Saun Waterman, "FBI abandons whistleblower secrets claim," UPI (Washington Times), February 22, 2005: "The Department of Justice has abandoned its claim that allegations made by a fired FBI translator are secret, paving the way for a court case that will air embarrassing allegations about incompetence, poor security and possible espionage in the translation unit of the Bureau's Washington Field Office."
- John Files, "Justice Dept. Opposes Bid to Revive Case against F.B.I.," New York Times (truthout.org), February 26, 2005.
- "Security breach of FBI's translator program to be questioned," Associated Press (USA Today), March 2, 2005.
- "FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Testifies Before Congress for First Time Today. Edmonds Speaks at House Hearing on 'Excessive Classification'," ACLU, March 2, 2005.
- "FBI Whistleblower Edmonds Files New Lawsuit," antiwar.com, March 17, 2005.
- James Ridgeway, "The Silencing of Sibel Edmonds," Village Voice, April 21, 2005.
- Chris Gourlay, Jonathan Calvert, Joe Lauria, "For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets" "The Sunday Times", January 6, 2008.
- Chris Gourlay, Jonathan Calvert, Joe Lauria, "FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft" "The Sunday Times", January 20, 2008.
- Chris Gourlay, Jonathan Calvert, Joe Lauria, "Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe" "The Sunday Times", January 27, 2008.
- Sibel Edmonds, interviewed by Philip Giraldi, "Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds?" "American Conservative Magazine, November 1, 2009.
- Brad Friedman, "SIBEL EDMONDS: THE TRAITORS AMONG US" "Hustler Magazine", March, 2010