Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sibel Edmonds tells all

Sibel Edmonds offers details of Turkey’s covert operations in U.S.
Testimony part of Ohio Rep. Schmidt complaint
by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Monday August 10, 2009

Sibel Edmonds answering questions after her deposition on August 8, with her lawyer Michael Kohn on right. Armenian Reporter photo

WASHINGTON - Operatives allegedly acting at the behest of the Turkish government used evidence of an extramarital affair to blackmail a sitting Democratic member of Congress, while paying off others in Congress and the executive branch to support Turkey's agenda, a former translator privy to federal investigations of the activities said in a deposition for the Ohio Elections Commission.

The scandalous details were part of testimony by former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds heard at the National Whistleblowers Association office in Washington on August 8 by representatives of incumbent Rep. Jeanne Schmidt (R.-Ohio) and David Krikorian, a candidate for the Democratic Party ticket in that district, who requested Ms. Edmonds' deposition.

With a full video of Ms. Edmonds' deposition anticipated to be released at a later time, Mr. Krikorian told journalists about some of the charges presented.

One case concerned "a current female member of Congress who [is] apparently bisexual and [Turkish operatives] bugged her apartment," Mr. Krikorian said. "She's married with children, and they set up a relationship with another female who went in and had sexual relationships with her. And they had all the episodes bugged within this current representative's home and they blackmailed her."

While Ms. Edmonds did not name the member of Congress, she later told Brad Friedman blog that the congresswoman in question is a Democrat.

Mr. Krikorian also confirmed that charges of taking bribes and engaging in other illegal activity were heard against sitting Rep. Dan Burton (R.-Ind.), ex-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R.-Ill.), and other current and former members of Congress.

Other charges of collusion with Turkish officials were made against Marc Grossman, a former undersecretary of state and ambassador to Turkey, and other former U.S. officials.

Since leaving government both Mr. Hastert and Mr. Grossman, who have in the past denied any wrongdoing, joined Washington lobby groups with ties to Turkish government contracts; reaction from Rep. Burton, one of the few members of Congress to engage in outright denial of Armenian Genocide, was not available as of press time.

The deposition came as part of the Ohio Elections Commission's consideration of a complaint filed by Ms. Schmidt, who alleged that Mr. Krikorian made "false statements" that she took "blood money" from Turkish interests to oppose a congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide.

By summoning Ms. Edmonds, Mr. Krikorian sought to establish a pattern of efforts on the part of the Turkish government and affiliated entities to induce U.S. policy makers into opposing the genocide resolution.

The Ohio Elections Commission is expected to rule on Rep. Schmidt's complaint on September 3.

Charges corroborated and ignored

The former FBI translator's testimony is based on her past access to wiretap recordings made as part of investigations of Turkish government activities in the United States from 1996 to 2002. After being fired from the FBI, Ms. Edmonds took evidence of federal mismanagement and corruption to Congress and sought reinstatement through the courts.

Ms. Edmonds' allegations – covered at the time by U.S. mass media – took on added weight when the Justice Department's internal investigation issued in early 2005 confirmed many of them and did not dispute others.

But no congressional investigation or prosecutions based on her charges ever followed.

Her deposition last Saturday came despite warnings from the Department of Justice that she "has not complied with the procedures for obtaining authorization from the FBI, her former employer, prior to making any disclosure relating to information that she acquired in the course of her work for the FBI."

Lawyers for Ms. Edmonds argued that without renewing the state secrets privilege first invoked by the Bush administration against the former FBI translator to prevent her from testifying, the current Department of Justice could not prevent Ms. Edmonds from offering her testimony.

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