- Category : Law - FBI - Whistleblower
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (11)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 4
Sibel Deniz Edmonds is a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) translator and founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). Edmonds gained public attention following her firing from her position as a language specialist at the FBI's Washington Field Office in March 2002. She had accused a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving foreign nationals, alleged serious security breaches and cover-ups and that intelligence had been deliberately suppressed, endangering national security. Her later claims gained her awards and fame as a whistleblower.
In March 2012, she published a memoir, titled Classified Woman – The Sibel Edmonds Story.
Edmonds testified before the 9/11 Commission, but her testimony was excluded from the official 567 page 9/11 Commission Report.
Edmonds is also the founder and publisher of the Boiling Frogs Post, an online media site that aims to offer nonpartisan investigative journalism.
Sibel Edmonds has worked to investigate and write about corruption in Afghanistan.
Early life and education
The daughter of an Iranian Azerbaijani father and Turkish mother, Edmonds lived in Iran and then Turkey before coming to the United States as a student in 1988. Fluent in Turkish, Persian, English and Azerbaijani, Edmonds earned her bachelor's degree in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University and her master's in public policy and international commerce from George Mason University.
Edmonds was hired, as a contractor, to work as an interpreter in the translations unit of the FBI on September 20, 2001. Among her main roles was to translate covertly recorded conversations by Turkish diplomatic and political targets.
According to Edmonds, she began facing problems when she reported to FBI managers various incidents that she considered misconduct and incompetence involving her supervisor Mike Feghali and others that she says she observed while employed as a translator between December 2001 and March 2002.
On 1 February 2011, Edmonds published a story on her own website, adding details of events she described as taking place in April 2001. The account centered around her post-9/11 role as translator of a pre-9/11 interview during which an informant had told the FBI agents:
Bin Laden’s group is planning a massive terrorist attack in the United States. The order has been issued. They are targeting major cities, big metropolitan cities; they think four or five cities; New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco; possibly Los Angeles or Las Vegas. They will use airplanes to carry out the attacks. They said that some of the individuals involved in carrying this out are already in the United States. They are here in the U.S.; living among us, and I believe some in US government already know about all of this.
The agents, along with Edmonds, reported this information internally at the FBI but, according to Edmonds, no one at the bureau ever asked for follow-ups or further information prior to 9/11.
Edmonds would escalate her complaints to the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility and the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. In response, she claims that managers retaliated against her, and she was finally fired on March 22, 2002. In June 2002, the Associated Press and Washington Post reported, upon investigation, that Edmonds was dismissed because her actions were disruptive and breached security and that she performed poorly at her job. A later internal investigation by the FBI found that many of Edmonds's allegations of misconduct "had some basis in fact" and that "her allegations were at least a contributing factor in the FBI’s decision to terminate her services," but were unable to substantiate all of her allegations, nor did they make a statement regarding her dismissal being improper.
Edmonds's allegations of impropriety at the FBI later came to the attention of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which held unclassified hearings on the matter on June 17, 2002, and July 9, 2002. During the hearings, the FBI provided various unclassified documents and statements relating to the case, which led to Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley sending letters, dated June 19, 2002, August 13, 2002, and October 28, 2002 – to Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, Attorney General Ashcroft, and FBI Director Robert Mueller, respectively – asking for explanations and calling for an independent audit of the FBI's translation unit. These documents were published on the Senators' web sites.
On August 15, 2002, a separate suit, Burnett v. Al Baraka Investment & Dev. Corp., was filed by families of 600 victims of the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks against Saudi banks, charity organizations, and companies. Although the claims were eventually dismissed, Edmonds planned to file a deposition in this case. On May 13, 2004, Ashcroft submitted statements to justify the use of the State secrets privilege against the planned deposition by Edmonds, and the same day, the FBI retroactively classified as Top Secret all of the material and statements that had been provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2002 relating to Edmonds's own lawsuit, as well as the letters that had been sent by the Senators and republished by the Project on Government Oversight. On June 23, 2004, the retroactive reclassification was challenged in a suit filed by the Project on Government Oversight, citing fear that the group might be retroactively punished for having published the letters on its website. The Justice Department tried to get the suit dismissed, and the Justice Department explicitly approved their release to the Project on Government Oversight. The reclassification did, however, keep Edmonds from testifying in the class action suit as well as her own whistleblower suit. The latter decision was appealed, and Inspector General Glenn A. Fine released a summary of the audit report, claiming “that many of her allegations 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. Rather than investigate Edmonds's allegations vigorously and thoroughly, the FBI concluded that she was a disruption and terminated her contract.”
Edmonds has continued to make various allegations and claims about operations within the FBI. Many of her allegations about the 9/11 attacks and nuclear proliferation have been reported in the media and published online, and she continues to publish open letters on her personal website, Just a Citizen. On August 8, 2009, Edmonds gave sworn testimony accusing current and former members of the government of treasonous activity. A video of her deposition and PDF transcript is available online as well as an easy-to-read HTML transcript.
In August, 2004, Edmonds founded the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), which exists to assist national security whistleblowers through advocacy and reform. Edmonds is also the founder and publisher of the Boiling Frogs Post, an online media site that aims to offer nonpartisan investigative journalism.
In September 2006, a documentary about Edmonds case called Kill the Messenger (Une Femme à Abattre) premiered in France. The film discusses the Edmonds case as well as offers interviews with various involved individuals. In the film Edmonds, former CIA agent Philip Giraldi, and others say that Israel was a significant actor in the illicit activities Edmonds discovered.
In June 2009 interviewed by Brad Friedman on the The Mike Malloy Show, Edmonds has stated : "I have information about things that our government has lied to us about. I know. For example, to say that since the fall of the Soviet Union we ceased all of our intimate relationship with Bin Laden and the Taliban - those things can be proven as lies, very easily, based on the information they classified in my case, because we did carry very intimate relationship with these people, and it involves Central Asia, all the way up to September 11."
In 2012, she published an autobiography called Classified Woman – The Sibel Edmonds Story: A Memoir.
Highlighting and Investigating waste, fraud, abuse and corruption in Afghanistan following the U.S. intervention
Edmonds has drawn attention to issues of corruption in Afghanistan, especially regarding waste, fraud, cronyism, and abuse. This includes the U.S. taxpayer funded Kabul Bank, and its scandalous collapse, involving the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars and the controversial, elite Afghans linked to the Karzai family including Ahmed Wali Karzai, Mahmud Karzai, Hamid Karzai and others. Edmonds has also raised concerns about controversial Members of the U.S. Congress involved in Afghanistan, including conservative Republican former Congressman Donald L. Ritter of Pennsylvania for his role in Afghanistan, following the U.S. intervention, and Ritter's close and complex business associations with Mahmud Karzai and other Afghans who have been the subject of investigative reports by independent news media sources or financial auditors.