Sunday, January 6, 2008

Gagged Whistleblower Speaks: U.S. Cover-Up on Sale of Nuclear Secrets Abroad

Sibel Edmonds, a former Turkish translator for the FBI, has told the Sunday Times "how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions." These intelligence assets then sold, according to Sibel, "highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives.”

Sibel's charges are only coming out now, even though she has given classified testimony to Congress and to the 9/11 Commission. While Edmonds and some in the FBI were tracing the transfer of nuclear technology and other secrets to the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency via Turkish conduits, other elements within government were moving to shut down any investigation. As for the stolen information, it was passed on to the notorious A.Q. Khan, "father" of the Pakistani atomic bomb, and of a network of nuclear proliferation that went around the world.

The blogger lukery has put names to pictures Edmonds has posted on some of those culpable in the bribery-intelligence scandal, and they are among some of the most famous names in Bush's foreign policy apparatus, including Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Eric Edelman, Marc Grossman (supposedly the State Department official quoted anonymously in the Sunday Times article), and congressional bigwigs from both sides of the aisle, like Dennis Hastert, Tom Lantos, Roy Blount, Stephen Solarz, and others.

Given the blackout in the U.S. mainstream press, I don't know how far this scandal will become public and operational in this country. The entire story demonstrates just how dangerous and corrupt the present political order is. A cover-up of massive proportions has kept this story from coming out, fingering, as it does, major political players from both political parties in treasonous activity. Yet, treason may be one of the lighter charges, as these individuals have manipulated the most dangerous technology in the world for both profit and political exigency, thereby destabilizing the world far more than anyone like Osama bin Laden could have ever dreamed.

But even beyond that the major question hangs ominously: who gave the green light to help the Pakistanis (and possibly the Israelis) get the bomb? And to spread these nuclear secrets around the globe? Could it be the same folks who refused to press for the extradition or questioning of A.Q. Khan, now under luxurious house arrest in Pakistan?

Following the story in the Sunday Times article (bold remarks are mine):

One of Edmonds’s main roles in the FBI was to translate thousands of hours of conversations by Turkish diplomatic and political targets that had been covertly recorded by the agency.

A backlog of tapes had built up, dating back to 1997, which were needed for an FBI investigation into links between the Turks and Pakistani, Israeli and US targets. Before she left the FBI in 2002 she heard evidence that pointed to money laundering, drug imports and attempts to acquire nuclear and conventional weapons technology.

“What I found was damning,” she said. “While the FBI was investigating, several arms of the government were shielding what was going on.”

The Turks and Israelis had planted “moles” in military and academic institutions which handled nuclear technology. Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. “The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States,” she said.

They were helped, she says, by the high-ranking State Department official who provided some of their moles – mainly PhD students – with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the US nuclear deterrent....

The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, because they were less likely to attract suspicion. Venues such as the American Turkish Council in Washington were used to drop off the cash, which was picked up by the official....

The Pakistani operation was led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief.

Intercepted communications showed Ahmad and his colleagues stationed in Washington were in constant contact with attachés in the Turkish embassy.

Intelligence analysts say that members of the ISI were close to Al-Qaeda before and after 9/11. Indeed, Ahmad was accused of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.

The results of the espionage were almost certainly passed to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist.

Khan was close to Ahmad and the ISI. While running Pakistan’s nuclear programme, he became a millionaire by selling atomic secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea. He also used a network of companies in America and Britain to obtain components for a nuclear programme.

Khan caused an alert among western intelligence agencies when his aides met Osama Bin Laden. “We were aware of contact between A Q Khan’s people and Al-Qaeda,” a former CIA officer said last week. “There was absolute panic when we initially discovered this, but it kind of panned out in the end.”

It's not certain what this cryptic latter comment means, but I'd like to know more about what they knew about the Khan/Al-Qaeda contact. It does seem likely that the CIA is up to its ears in this business.

It is likely that the nuclear secrets stolen from the United States would have been sold to a number of rogue states by Khan....

Following 9/11, a number of the foreign operatives were taken in for questioning by the FBI on suspicion that they knew about or somehow aided the attacks....

“A primary target would call the official and point to names on the list and say, ‘We need to get them out of the US because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans’,” she said. “The official said that he would ‘take care of it’.”

The four suspects on the list were released from interrogation and extradited.

Edmonds also claims that a number of senior officials in the Pentagon had helped Israeli and Turkish agents....

Once acquired, the nuclear secrets could have gone anywhere. The FBI monitored Turkish diplomats who were selling copies of the information to the highest bidder....

Edmonds’s employment with the FBI lasted for just six months. In March 2002 she was dismissed after accusing a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving Turkish nationals.

She has always claimed that she was victimised for being outspoken and was vindicated by an Office of the Inspector General review of her case three years later. It found that one of the contributory reasons for her sacking was that she had made valid complaints.

The US attorney-general has imposed a state secrets privilege order on her, which prevents her revealing more details of the FBI’s methods and current investigations.

Her allegations were heard in a closed session of Congress, but no action has been taken and she continues to campaign for a public hearing....

In researching this article, The Sunday Times has talked to two FBI officers (one serving, one former) and two former CIA sources who worked on nuclear proliferation. While none was aware of specific allegations against officials she names, they did provide overlapping corroboration of Edmonds’s story.

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has reportedly called the Sibel Edmonds revelations (and we don't know all of them yet) "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers. When we add these revelations to others coming out around the CIA destroyed tapes scandal, and recent publications linking CIA mind control experiments to biological warfare crimes by the U.S. government -- including the long-denied use of bacteriological warfare by the U.S. during the Korean War -- we may have the makings of a crackdown on the intelligence agencies not seen in decades.

But given the craven capitulations of a majority Democratic Congress, a U.S. media controlled by military-linked corporate interests, and a political culture enamoured of electoralism (while controlled by the aforesaid corporations), I wouldn't hold my breath. This country awaits the awakening of the population as real political actors in society, and not iPod and T.V. mesmerized participants in American Idol-like spectacles of inanity and nihilistic meaninglessness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wake up America - the CIA is behind the terrorists!

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