The difference between Sibel Edmonds' case and the Downing Street Memos

By Mike Mejia
Online Journal Contributing Writer

July 13, 2005—In a recent editorial, Online Journal writer W. David Jenkins III called on the Internet community to push the story of fired FBI translator Sibel Edmonds back into the mainstream media, as they have with the so-called Downing Street Memos.

Ms. Edmonds once had the pleasure of mainstream media attention in 2002, when she claimed that the FBI translation program was penetrated by a Turkish organization that deliberately mistranslated documents related to 9–11, but her story was lost down our collective memory mole once the drums for the Iraq war started to beat.

Then Edmonds reappeared in early 2004 with a vengeance, claiming that her lawsuit against the FBI for wrongful termination was being suppressed to protect high-level U.S. officials from criminal prosecution around the 9–11 attacks. However, this time, the major media outlets paid her much less attention than they had in 2002, with most mainline reporting on her case revolving around the Bush administration's extraordinary attempts to keep her testimony in the Motley-Rice lawsuit of the 9–11 families suppressed. Neither The New York Times nor the Washington Post nor any other major news outlet asked the obvious question, "What is the government trying to hide?"

So it is natural that Mr. Jenkins and others would call once again on the Internet bloggers to push the mainstream media to do their job and demand a full accounting of Sibel Edmonds charges. After all, what could be more important than revelations that, if made public, would make Karl Rove's leak of a CIA operative's name look like a minor 'drip' by comparison? What could be more damning than the charges Edmonds has made?

The charges are as follows:
• Certain "semi-legit organizations" operating inside the United States facilitated the 9–11 attacks through money laundering and narcotics trafficking activities on behalf of the terrorists (one of these Organizations has been revealed to be the Brent Scowcroft-led American Turkish Council).

• These Organizations have ties to powerful people in the U.S. government

• Targets of the FBI investigations of these Organizations were deliberately allowed to leave the country months after 9–11, a la the Bin Laden family airlift.

Combining the above facts with the knowledge that it is the Bush administration that has been leading a frontal assault on Ms. Edmonds might lead one to conclude that Sibel Edmonds has evidence that would lead to the impeachment and removal of office of the Bush/Cheney team. And there is quite reason to think this is so.

So why then, have not the Democrats been calling for public hearings on Ms. Edmonds case? Why did they not leak her testimony to the public on the eve of the presidential election, and thereby hand the White House to John Kerry?

Here's the dirty little secret that may explain the Democrats' silence in the face of such obvious wrongdoing: this scandal, like the BCCI affair of the early 1990s, appears to be bipartisan in nature.

Unfortunately, this is a point that most on the Internet who have followed the Edmonds seemed to have missed. I missed it myself for some time, but evidence is slowly gathering that the 9–11 corruption that Ms. Edmonds refers to would probably take down elected officials in both major parties. The first clue came in an interview in the Minneapolis City Pages in October of last year, just weeks before the election. Ms. Edmonds is quoted by Steve Perry as saying, " . . . I have had certain Democrats who have wanted to do absolutely nothing with it. In fact they would say that they don't want to mess with it, because considering the upcoming election, it would hurt the Democrats."

Then, in an interview with Scott Horton of the Libertarian radio program, "Weekend Interview Show," Edmonds let out an even more telling clue. Note the following exchange I hand transcribed:

Horton: . . . are we talking about ties between these semi-legit organizations and officials in the Bush administration?

Edmonds: One thing I have said is that the issues I have talked about are by no means partisan . . . some of this intelligence goes back to 1997, 1998 and continues to this day, right now . . .

Since most of Edmonds rhetorical fire in the past has been directed at the Executive Branch, her pointing out the time frame would seem to indicate that both the Bush and Clinton administrations have some involvement in the scandal. This is a detail which might explain why the congressional Democrats are so reticent to take up Sibel Edmonds' cause. Could the legacy of Bill Clinton, along with George W. Bush be at stake?

Regardless of exactly which powerful political figures would be tarnished if the Sibel Edmonds charges were to be fully revealed, it is incumbent on all of us on the Internet to try and push the story into the consciousness of the public. This is made even more urgent by Edmonds' recent statement that some of these semi-legit organizations seem to be involved in the trafficking of nuclear material, some of which could end up in the hands of terrorists.

So while we should continue to hope the media will do their job and cover her story, we must be realistic: the barriers we face in doing so are far greater than the Downing Street Memo. Like BCCI, there appears to be no partisan advantage for Democrats or Republicans.

That does not mean we should give up; it just means we have to push harder.