And boy, is it ever hot stuff.
THE FBI has been accused of covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt government officials and their dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets.
The assertion follows allegations made in The Sunday Times two weeks ago by Sibel Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower, who worked on the agency’s investigation of the network.
Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office.
She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Sit back a moment and let that sink in. Turkey and Israel–both considered US allies–paid US officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. Which they then sold to two OTHER allied countries–Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Now, let’s see what else turns up here that’s hot:
One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file.
Edmonds believes the crucial file is being deliberately covered up by the FBI because its contents are explosive. She accuses the agency of an "outright lie".
"I can tell you that that file and the operations it refers to did exist from 1996 to February 2002. The file refers to the counterintelligence programme that the Department of Justice has declared to be a state secret to protect sensitive diplomatic relations," she said.
Okay. Big breath; let…it…all…out. Again, let that sink in: The FBI lied about a document that does exist–claiming it does not. Why? The excuse is “sensitive diplomatic relations”, which you may take to be a euphemism for a high-level international theft ring.
Edmonds had told this newspaper that members of the Turkish political and diplomatic community in the US had been actively acquiring nuclear secrets. They often acted as a conduit, she said, for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, because they attracted less suspicion.
She claimed corrupt government officials helped the network, and venues such as the American-Turkish Council (ATC) in Washington were used as drop-off points.
Did you see that? There’s another hot spot right there: The ISI, the Pakistani equivalent of the CIA. The ISI is already notorious for its part as the liaison between the CIA and the Taliban; it is also suspected of being a money and training conduit between the CIA and al-Qaida. Without the ISI, there would have been no Taliban, and without the CIA, no al-Q. And for that matter, no Hamid Karzai either.
Now, here comes another biggie. Brace yourselves:
The anonymous letter names a high-level government official who was allegedly secretly recorded speaking to an official at the Turkish embassy between August and December 2001.
It claims the government official warned a Turkish member of the network that they should not deal with a company called Brewster Jennings because it was a CIA front company investigating the nuclear black market. The official’s warning came two years before Brewster Jennings was publicly outed when one of its staff, Valerie Plame, was revealed to be a CIA agent in a case that became a cause célèbre in the US.
“They should not deal with a company called Brewster Jennings because it was a CIA front company investigating the nuclear black market.” What a surprise, considering that this theft ring IS a nuclear black market of sorts!
And of course, let’s not forget that Valerie Plame was a NOC–meaning that she had no “official” government ties, which placed her life at extreme risk. If something were to happen to her–a disappearance, say–the US government would not intervene as it would for someone with an official cover, say a diplomat or embassy staffer (many of whom, if not all, are CIA themselves.) So her intelligence gathering activities had to be done with extreme caution. A revelation like this, much like what Robert Novak did to her in the press, would certainly place her life and that of all her colleagues in jeopardy, because those to whom the secret was told would then be able to pass the news all down the line. Anyone who wanted to get rid of meddling nuke-spooks would be able to pick off Valerie Plame and all her Brewster Jennings colleagues, no problem.
The fact that the unnamed official knew who she was, and what her front company was really about, should tell you something about his own status. But what? Read on:
Edmonds is the subject of a number of state secret gags preventing her from talking further about the investigation she witnessed.
"I cannot discuss the details considering the gag orders," she said, "but I reported all these activities to the US Congress, the inspector general of the justice department and the 9/11 commission. I told them all about what was contained in this case file number, which the FBI is now denying exists.
"This gag was invoked not to protect sensitive diplomatic relations but criminal activities involving US officials who were endangering US national security."
This is a high crime, folks. And the fact that the perpetrators were able to gag a witness who is more than capable of bringing their house of cards down with a single blow of the whistle, should tell you something about their inordinate, and unearned, power in the nation’s capital. It should also tell you something about a crying need for deep systemic reform.
It doesn’t matter a rat’s ass whether the US has an Official Secrets Act, as Canada and Great Britain do (and which Canada has used rather sparingly, compared to Britain). The fact that someone was apparently able to use existing law to cover up his illegal activities with the justification of state secrets, proves conclusively to this uppity Canuck that the US is no better than anyone else. Until a judge comes forward and frees Sibel Edmonds to disclose everything under oath, I will maintain that the US does have an official secrets act after all; it’s just buried somewhere in the fine print, a cowardly and despicable move in a country that prides itself on its supposed freedoms of speech.