Sibel Deniz Edmonds
Born 1970 (1970)
Nationality Turkish-American
Known for US Whistleblower

Sibel Deniz Edmonds (born 1970 in Iran)[1] is a Turkish-American[2] former 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, after she accused a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving foreign nationals, alleging serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence which, she contended, presented a danger to the United States' security. Her later claims have gained her awards and fame as a whistleblower.[3]

In March 2012, she published a memoir, titled Classified Woman-The Sibel Edmonds Story.[4]

Edmonds testified before the 9/11 Commission, but her testimony was excluded from the official 567 page 9/11 Commission Report.[5]

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

The daughter of an Azerbaijani doctor,[6][7] Edmonds lived in Iran and then Turkey before coming to the United States as a student[2] in 1988. Fluent in Turkish, Persian, English and Azerbaijani,[2][8] Edmonds earned her bachelor's degree in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University[2] and her master's in public policy and international commerce from George Mason University.[8]

FBI career[edit | edit source]

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.[9]

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.[10]

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[11] 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, breached security, and that she performed poorly at her job.[12] A later internal investigation by the FBI found that many of Edmonds 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.[13]

Edmonds' 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.[14][15][16][16]

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.[17][18][19] Although the claims were eventually dismissed,[20] Edmonds planned to file a deposition in this case.[21] On May 13, 2004, Ashcroft submitted statements to justify the use of the State secrets privilege against the planned deposition by Edmonds,[21] 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' own lawsuit, as well as the letters that had been sent by the Senators and republished by the Project on Government Oversight[22] 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.[23] The reclassification did, however, keep Edmonds from testifying in the class action suit[24] as well as her own whistleblower suit.[25][26] 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' allegations vigorously and thoroughly, the FBI concluded that she was a disruption and terminated her contract.”[27]

Post-FBI[edit | edit source]

Edmonds has continued to make various allegations and claims about operations within the FBI. Many of her allegations about the 9/11 attacks[28] and nuclear proliferation[29] 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[30] as well as an easy-to-read HTML transcript.[31]

In August, 2004, Edmonds founded the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), which exists to assist national security whistleblowers through advocacy and reform.[32] Edmonds is also the founder and publisher of the Boiling Frogs Post, an online media site that aims to offer nonpartisan investigative journalism.[33]

In September, 2006, a documentary about Edmonds case called Kill the Messenger (Une Femme à Abattre) premiered in France.[34] 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 2012 she published an autobiography called Classified Woman-The Sibel Edmonds Story: A Memoir.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1., "Gagged, But Not Dead", 2005.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Rose, David (2005-08-15). "An Inconvenient Patriot". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2007-06-19.  “But as a naturalized Turkish-American, she saw the job as her patriotic duty.”
  3. "2006 PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award (press release)". PEN American Center. Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  5. Kill the Messenger. SBS Australia, 2007. Documentary.
  6. Karl W. B. Schwarz. 'Pop' Goes the Bush Mythology Bubble. OnLineJournal Website.
  7. Khondakar Golam Mowla.The Judgment Against Imperialism, Fascism and Racism Against Caliphate and Islam: Vol. 2. AuthorHouse, 2008. ISBN 1-4389-1168-8; p. 593.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "National Security Whistleblowers Coalition - About Us". Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  9. "For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets". Sunday Times (London). 6 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  10., a site founded and published by Sibel Edmonds
  11. US Court of Appeals Reply Brief of the Plaintiff-Appellant, SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT
    "provides direct support for Ms. Edmonds allegation that the FBI fired her for disclosing serious security breaches within the agency"
  12. FBI Told to Give Papers to Whistleblower - AP Online HighBeam Research
  13. "Federal Bureau of Investigation's Foreign Language Translation Program Follow-Up Audit Report 05-33, Appendix 7: Update on the Office of the Inspector General’s July 2004 Report, "A Review of the FBI’s Actions in Connection with Allegations Raised by Contract Linguist Sibel Edmonds"". Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division. January 2005. pp. 40–41. Retrieved 2007-06-19. "The OIG review concluded that many of Edmonds’s core allegations relating to the co-worker had some basis in fact and were supported by either documentary evidence or witnesses other than Edmonds. … With respect to Edmonds’s claim that she was terminated from the FBI in retaliation for her complaints, the OIG review concluded that her allegations were at least a contributing factor in the FBI’s decision to terminate her services. With regard to various other allegations made by Edmonds concerning the FBI’s foreign language program, our review substantiated some but did not substantiate others. … We did not find sufficient evidence to substantiate Edmonds’s allegations that the FBI condoned time and attendance abuse, an intentional slow down of work to support hiring additional analysts, or travel fraud."  HTML version of Appendix 7 also available.
  14. "Government is Abusing "States Secrets Privilege" to Cover Up National Security Blunders, ACLU Says". ACLU. 2005-01-12. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  15. "Grassley Seeks Overhaul of FBI's Translation Unit". 2002-10-28. Archived from the original on 2006-10-15. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "August 13, 2002 letter from Senators Leahy & Grassley to Attorney General John Ashcroft". 2002-08-13. Archived from the original on 2002-11-20. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  17. "$116 trillion lawsuit filed by 9/11 families". CNN. 2002-08-16. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  18. "Text of original complaint". FindLaw. 2002-08-15. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  19. "Third amended complaint". FindLaw. 2002-11-22. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  20. "349 F.Supp.2d 765, RICO Bus.Disp.Guide 10,804". 2005-01-18. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Statement of John Ashcroft filed in Burnett v. Al Baraka Investment & Dev. Corp.". 2004-05-13. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  22. "POGO v. John Ashcroft (Washington DC U.S. District Court Civil Action No. 1:04cv01032 (JDB)) - Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts". Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  23. Smith, R. Jeffrey (2005-02-23). "Access to Memos Is Affirmed". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  24. "Order to quash the subpoena for deposition of Sibel Edmonds in Burnett v. Al Baraka Investment & Dev. Corp.". 2004-07-06. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  25. "FBI translator suit dismissed over security issues". CNN. 2004-07-06. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  26. "FBI Whistleblower Suit Thrown Out". FOX News. 2004-07-06.,2933,124880,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  27. "A Review of the FBI's Actions in Connection With Allegations Raised By Contract Linguist Sibel Edmonds, Special Report, January 2005 (Unclassified Summary)". Office of the Inspector General, Office of Oversight and Review. July 2004. pp. 10–11, 31. Retrieved 2007-06-19. "We found that many of Edmonds' core allegations relating to the co-worker were supported by either documentary evidence or witnesses other than Edmonds. … With respect to an allegation that focused on the co-worker's performance, which Edmonds believed to be an indication of a security problem, the evidence clearly corroborated Edmonds' allegations. … With regard to some of Edmonds' allegations, the OIG did not find evidence to support her allegation or the inferences that she drew from certain facts. However, Edmonds' assertions regarding the co-worker, when viewed as a whole, raised substantial questions and were supported by various pieces of evidence. … Rather than investigate Edmonds' allegations vigorously and thoroughly, the FBI concluded that she was a disruption and terminated her contract. We concluded that the FBI could not show, by clear and convincing evidence, that it would have terminated Edmonds' services absent her disclosures. … We believe 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."  HTML version also available.
  28. "FBI & 9/11". Just a Citizen (Edmonds's website). 
  29. "FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft". Sunday Times (London). 20 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  30. Sibel Edmond's Deposition: Video and Transcript Released
  31. Deposition of Sibel Edmonds
  32. National Security Whistleblowers Coalition purpose message. URL accessed 20 April 2010.
  33. About Boiling Frogs Post. URL accessed 20 April 2010.
  34. "Kill The Messenger Une Femme à Abattre". Retrieved 2006-09-05. 

External links[edit | edit source]

de:Sibel Edmonds fr:Sibel Edmonds

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