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Classified Woman, By Sibel Edmonds

July 5, 2012 by  

Just days after the 9/11 attacks, the FBI contacted Sibel Edmonds, who had applied for a part-time position with the agency in 1997 but had heard little from it since, about a job with the agency.

The bureau needed translators, she was told, in Middle Eastern and Asian languages like Farsi, Turkish, Arabic, Pashtun, Urdu, Uzbek, etc. There were tens of thousands of leads and pieces of evidence awaiting translation before the FBI could act on them. Thousands of pieces of raw intelligence were pouring in daily, but it was all in foreign languages; a dearth of translators was hindering the FBI’s investigation into the attacks.

“Ms. Edmonds,” the agent said, “we need your skills badly.” Edmonds, born in Turkey and raised part of her life in Iran, spoke both Turkish and Farsi. Edmonds hesitated. Her circumstances had changed since she first applied, she and her husband were now running a business and she was taking college courses. Sensing this, the agent played on her sense of patriotism.

“We are at war, Ms. Edmonds; the FBI needs your skills badly… You can serve your country.”

While listening to the agent’s pitch, Edmonds’ mind replayed images she remembered from her time in the Mideast: kids, younger than 6, hurling stones against tanks. Tiny kids standing up to powerful military machines rather than running away.

“I felt like those kids,” she writes. “I didn’t want to run and hide… I in fact possessed a rock, several, in fact: my language skills. Our country could use my help. How could I say no?”

Within a week, Edmonds found herself in the FBI’s Arabic Unit, considered to be the agency’s most important unit in the aftermath of 9/11. What first surprised her was learning she was the only Turkish language specialist on the floor. It was a revelation that would take her down a dark path she never expected and change the way she viewed American government.

Classified Woman is a page-turner. It reveals the dark side of American government and the fact that it is little different from the totalitarian regimes she had previously lived under. It’s a disturbing story that demonstrates what happens in unwieldy, statist bureaucracies when wrongdoing is uncovered; and about internecine squabbles, turf battles and waste. But worse, it shows how people in the FBI, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Department of Justice, the Judiciary, George W. Bush’s Administration and Congress were either tied to nefarious and sometimes illegal conduct and individuals being investigated for their roles in 9/11, or participated in stymieing Edmonds’ efforts to tell someone — anyone — and find an agency willing to investigate it. Finally, the book reveals what true patriotism is all about because — despite long odds, continued disappointments, roadblocks, apathy by the media and those entrusted to protect her, and abandonment by her family members — Edmonds was able at long last to get a few of the names of the wrongdoers into the public domain.

Edmonds was only days into her job when she began to sense things just weren’t right. There were other translators she should be wary of, she was warned. Though they weren’t proficient in Turkish, they had nevertheless been tasked with translating Turkish documents. They felt threatened by her, she was told.

Her supervisor, Mike Feghali, began to tell her to slow down. She was working too fast, he explained, it wasn’t good for the department. She made the other translators look bad. It gave the appearance there were enough translators, and it was coming up on budget time.

“This November,” Feghali told her, “the FBI is going to present its budget request for our department, and to make the case, they have to show this huge backlog of untranslated material; the bigger the backlog, the more money and more translators for this department. Do you get the picture?”

The day after this exchange, Edmonds noticed that some of the work on her computer had been altered. For the next several days, when she would open a document she had worked on the day before, the document would have paragraphs deleted, sentences edited and whole portions missing. The alterations required her to start over listening to the recorded conversations she had been translating — a tedious process. She determined that someone had to have been getting into her computer and editing the documents after she left, so she took the matter to Feghali.

He told her not worry about it, that he didn’t want it to turn into a major incident. And then he said: “Maybe you should consider it a lesson. Maybe you were working too fast and someone decided to warn you, to teach you a lesson.”

The realization that her own supervisor was altering her work product to slow down her progress stunned her. But that would be only the first of many stunning revelations to come in the ensuing months.

For instance:

  • She discovered that most translators in her section were hired because of who they knew rather than their proficiency in required languages, including English, and that such practices were considered common in the bureau because, in Feghali’s words, “people should help each other.”
  • She was recruited by a co-worker to join the American Turkish Council, one of the most powerful organizations in the U.S. and subject of some of the investigations she was assisting with. ATC employs several lobbying companies — among them the Livingston Group, run by adulterous former House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston; the Cohen Group, headed by former Defense Secretary William Cohen; and others who work to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. contracts for Turkish companies. That co-worker’s husband worked for the Pentagon and State Department and also had ties to the ATC that were in direct conflict with his government positions.
  • Co-workers were intentionally disregarding relevant documents and marking them as irrelevant in order to keep them out of investigators’ hands. This was done with the knowledge of Feghali.
  • Feghali’s supervisors knew this was going on and not only refused to stop it, they warned Edmonds away from pursuing the matter because people in the top echelons of the FBI were named in some of the transcripts.
  • She had no rights and would essentially become a non-person after she refused to stop pursuing wrongdoing in the bureau because Attorney General John Ashcroft asserted a nebulous state secrets privilege in her case, which not only meant her case would never make it to trial, it meant she was prevented from revealing what she knew in any way.
  • The 9/11 Commission was a farce because it first refused to hear her testimony. When it finally consented to take her testimony in a bow to pressure from victims’ families, it ignored her testimony in its final report.
  • Those whose job it was in government to protect whistle-blowers were not immune from being overwhelmed and forced out of their positions when they bucked the system hard enough.
  • Neither Republicans nor Democrats in Congress were interested in her testimony once they learned members of their respective parties were implicated.
  • There were other whistle-blowers who would eventually stand by her side and confirm what she had learned and reveal even more damning information about government wrongdoing.
  • The mainstream media were either unable or unwilling to cover her allegations.

Edmonds finally got her day in court in July 2009. She was subpoenaed to testify in a case between Congressional candidate David Krikorian and Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio). Schmidt was favored by the Turkish lobby and its numerous networks and had received hefty campaign contributions from it. In his advertisements, Krikorian, running as an independent, claimed Schmidt had taken “blood money” as campaign donations from Turkish groups. Schmidt filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission claiming the ads were false and libelous.

Because of Edmonds’ position with the FBI and subsequent court rulings, DoJ approval had to be obtained before she could testify. She got that permission when the DoJ failed to respond by a deadline, which allowed Krikorian’s lawyers to depose her.

In the deposition she detailed criminal allegations against Representatives Dennis Hastert, Dan Burton, Roy Blunt, Livingston, Stephen Solarz and Tom Lantos, as well as an unnamed, still-serving Congresswoman who had been secretly videotaped, for blackmail purposes, during an affair. Bush Administration officials she named as part of a criminal conspiracy on behalf of agents working for the government of Turkey included Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman and others.

When it was over, there were more than 200 pages of transcripts that detailed blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration and criminal conspiracy by current and former members of Congress, high-ranking officials in the departments of State and Defense and agents of the Turkish government. The testimony became a part of public record. When it was dropped on the mainstream media, it hit with a collective thud. None were interested.

Though that was a disheartening result, Edmonds considered it a victory that she had finally been able to tell part of her story.

Now she continues to work with the National Whistleblowers Center, which she founded, and write for and maintain her website, Boiling Frogs.


Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • Kathy

    Incredible tale and great discription of a burocracy punishing a good worker holding up the rest of group. She was trying to help her country and getting sabatoged!! Her boss should have been fired and tried for treason.

    • http://http// sophillyjimmy

      Should we expect anything different when the FBI is involved in something, they are so obsessed with either arresting local police in BS sting operations or they are chasing alleged La Cosa Nostra members. That is what FBI stands for “Forever Bothering Italians” and if they had to do real police work they couldn’t catch a hooker in a whore house.

      • Bill45

        FBI stands for F*****g Bunch of Idiots. Example, the Whitey Bulger fiasco, WACO, and a list of many other screwed up FBI issues. The three most incompetent law enforcement agencies in the US is the DOJ, FBI and BATFE.

    • Randy131

      What it shows is that a nationalized citizen can be, and in Ms Edmonds case is, more patriotic than our natural born citizens, who take their heritage for granted, and care for themselves more than they do for their country. The true shame of America!

  • Tom Shaffrey

    Another great example of our Orwellian government.

  • dan

    FBI…(hello boy’s)when not found burning children alive in Waco,
    Found Being Incompetent

  • SJJolly

    “Famous But Incompetent.”
    J. Edgar Hoover was a police bureaucrat, not a crime warrior, and the organization he founded and directed for decades remains modeled after him. Much of it’s success is based on J. Edgar’s realization that file space is cheap, and that bits of infomration in files can be linked up to find wanted criminals — and to intimidate important people in government into doing what the Bureau wanted.

  • Glen

    This story is all too easy to believe. I applied for a position with the FBI and was offered a position. However, they denied me the security clearance because I still have some anger over something that happened to me in the Army and though I handle this well and am certainly not homicidal, they say I have “an unresolved emotional issue” and thus not qualified for a clearance. Then they give clearances to those who are clearly disloyal. That’s our FBI!

  • billybillybilly

    “adulterous former House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston”
    wow Bob – you must really get around.

  • Murphy

    Reminds me of when I was a civilian worker for the US Army and part of my job was radiation safety. One co-worker violated safety policy (the radiation was not a particularly bad isotope but still was controlled by the NRC), when I wrote him up he threatened to kill me.
    He said it right in front of our boss. Nothing was done to him. Every year the Army had employees fill out workplace violence and sexual harassment surveys, and every year for 5 years I put in it that my life was threatened. Think anything was ever done? Nah.

  • sesame

    This stuff has gone on for years. I remember a guy who was assigned to coordinate his agency’s United Way Campaign. He reported to his agency head at reporting time that the participation rate was only about 75%. The Head asked him what was a good participation rate and was told about 96%. The agency head then said: “Put that down.”

    At Budget time, it is common knowledge that agencies always ask for more than they will need because Congress will always cut it back. The Congress likes this because they know they will look good because they held the bureaucracy in check. It’s all a big game. With so much money floating around and government being so large lit is near impossible to tell what is it’s actual cost. Some get too much and some don’t get enough to operate efficiently. The result is as the lady describes. Many, not all, bureaucrats think the money supply is endless so they lose perspective.

    Whether one works in the government or industry, they way to get ahead is to please your boss and keep him out of trouble.

  • Third_stone

    We have been tolerating a very conservative lot of men in power. I have no doubt that the CIA and the FBI are staffed by Cheney followers. They are not very different from the secret service with their recent circus of whores.
    These boys have been in power for generations, and electing a lawless man like Cheney will not help. We see great deal in foreign policy making by the CIA, and they have the support of men like Boner and Cantor.

  • Bill

    I have read similar books about the CIA and Secret Service. Just a lot of people doing very little work with supervisors who want more money from congress so they can hire more people who will do very little work.

  • Susan

    ?????To Qoute from the article above which says is written by Bob Livingston, quite frankly I am a bit confused: “among them the Livingston Group, run by# adulterous# former House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston”???????????????? The article written by Livingston says he and others are suspect for having ties that were in conflict with their goverment positions!!!! HELLO DOES ANYONE READ THE ARTICLE!!!! ?????

    • b

      There are two Bob Livingstons, the one who runs this site and the former speaker elect.

    • Bob Livingston

      Dear Susan,

      You write: “The article written by Livingston says he and others are suspect for having ties that were in conflict with their goverment positions!!!! HELLO DOES ANYONE READ THE ARTICLE!!!! ?????” There is more than one Bob Livingston in the world. I have pointed out many times that I am not the adulterous former Congressman.

      Best wishes,

  • Susan

    Hello Hello Does this make sense to the rest of you WOW “”””””In the deposition she detailed criminal allegations against Representatives Dennis Hastert, Dan Burton, Roy Blunt, Livingston, Stephen Solarz and Tom Lantos, as well as an unnamed, still-serving Congresswoman who had been secretly videotaped, for blackmail purposes, during an affair.”””””??????????????????????????????????

  • RightGunner

    I have long wondered who Bob Livingston is. When we read his writings, he sometimes swings back and forth from the end of the world to straight advice. Sometimes it is hard to determine whether he is right, far right, or so far right he is turning left. I finally decided that he is not a person, but a group made up of the folks who set up and run this site. That doesn’t bother in any way.

    After reading this book review I also was confused with the Bob Livingston referenced in the Republican party. I Goggled and read the Wikipedia article on Bob L., and now remember him resigning from speaker of the house during the Clinton Impeachment actions because the Democrat’s private detectives found he had had a prior affair. I think it was proper to retire, but there is a large difference between using an intern right in the White House for personal gratification, and having an extramarital affair . Of course we now know JFK got away with the same offense that Clinton got away with.

    Bottom line, I think it appropriate that the Bob Livingston who routinely writes here, stand up and take a bow. He deserves personal privacy but if he expects up to listen to him, it would be to his benefit to shed a little light.

    • Buster the Anatolian

      Mr Livingston addressed this some time back. He is NOT the same Bob Livingston as the one who was speaker elect.

  • John Woodbury

    The more I find out about our government the move I am moving to a libertarian view point. This Government is not too big to fail and it is quickly failing, thank God I am old and will not live long enough to see our third world government. And piss on the fellow travelers er the lamebrain media.

  • opar5

    From a foundation of 16 years with Army intelligence, this story rings all too true: outproduce your peers and need to make an issue to keep your juniors from being promoted over you (the testing for Affirmative Action); your team produces more than their peers, they move you to supervise the worst team at the station; overachieving again provokes a move. When your tour ended, your latest team were producing over double the valid intelligence of their peers – and you’ve earned Viet-Nam, for the third time. The four more years to achieve retirement were too much. This libertarian by nature walked!

    • Nikita

      I know it’s not an adequate expression of the gratitude I feel, but I do want to thank you for serving our nation so well. I think you probably did the right thing by not going bacViet Nam!I

  • Susan

    Thanks for the clarification Bob, but not being a reader of your email newsletters until recently I had know idea, of course there are more than one of a common name, I think however it would of been wise to clarify in the article that you were not the person in question. I apologize for assuming that it was you. I have found however in doing massive research on variety of topics concerning geo-politics, american politics, history, religion, ect.. that some of the so called truth tellers not referring to you actually work for the very people who have put us into the mess America is in now but think that us common dumb down folks are to ignorant to see what is firmly put in front of our noses (symbols and certain key phrases). I apologize again for assuming you were writing about yourself, I still think you should clarify this when writing about other Bob Livingston’s in the future since not everyone that reads an occasional article is familiar with all your work. In Liberty, Susan

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