Sunday, January 06, 2008

The mystery of Sibel Edmonds

The name Sibel Edmonds is well known in some circles as a whistleblower. She's been a guest on 60 Minutes, where it was alleged she had translated documents incriminating US State Department officials and members of foreign government in obtaining state secrets for cash. There was more to it, of course.

Problem is, a state secrets gag order kept her from telling the full story without risk of imprisonment. The big US media were seemingly not interested in helping her (speculation on that later) but not so for the London Times:
Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.
The troofer movement and their friends (wow is there some misinformation in that) are going to be impressed. It's just a damn shame it came out a day late or George McGovern could have included it in his impeachment op-ed in the WaPo!

But keep in mind the recordings she translated go back into the 90s, which means the allegations go back before the current administration reached 1600 Bushilterburton Avenue:
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.
Hence a possible reason the big media were not so eager to help, despite the fact Ms. Edmonds sounds like a partisan. The story of Wen Ho Lee comes to mind and the odd way his case went away. Keep in mind who's running for president right now. And recordings? Spying? In the US? Before Bush? Perhaps this might explain why she hasn't been called as a witness in Waxman's court. Better to stick with Roger Clemens.

Anyway, her diatribes, even if half-true, are somewhat depressing and suggest a level of "sin" so deeply woven into the affairs of state as to make an honest man contemplate jumping off the nearest bridge (which is why they're probably overblown or misunderstood). But a few things do jump out about her story.

One, the judge in her original case was our old friend Reggie Walton who presided over the Scooter Libby trial. Why is that significant? Well, Ms. Edmonds doesn't think much of former State Department Deputy Undersecretary Marc Grossman, who was a tangential figure in the Plame case. That's sort of a tip.

Two, while figuratively removing Mr. Grossman's scalp in her writings...
Did he hit the jackpot? Or, did he diligently and industriously work at it, while in his position as the ambassador to Turkey and as Deputy Secretary of State? Did he sell his soul while under his oath of office? Did he sell our government’s soul? Did he sell our nation and its interests? If so; for what and how much?
...she fails to mention his relationship with Joe Wilson--they went to the same college and both worked in the foreign service at the same time, serving in adjacent countries in the Middle East. Does she realize he was in the Clinton administration and was supposedly good friends with Richard Armitage?

There have been some interesting comments about Grossman's testimony over at Plame Central (JOM), many revolving around his telling Libby about Valerie's role in sending hubby to Niger after discussing it on the phone with Joe, and for misremembering the initial NY Times piece written by Kristof (the one Cheney had cut out and scribbled on). But whatever the case, the coincidences are kind of interesting.

Too bad this story is likely heading down the commode. It's not out of the question it might be somehow tied to the destroyed CIA tapes or even the Bhutto assassination in Pakistan:
Since 1988, when the Pakistan army used bin Laden and his tribal hordes to brutally suppress a Shi'ite revolt in Gilgit in Pakistan, contacts with bin Laden have always been handled by senior officers of the army. Among those who had handled bin Laden (in order of importance) are General Mohammad Aziz, a Kashmiri from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) belonging to the Sudan tribe, who is now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Pervez Musharraf (now president), General Mehmood Ahmed, director general of the ISI from October 1999 to October 2001, when he was reportedly removed under US pressure because of his links with al-Qaeda,
The ISI figure she named was indeed one Mehmoud Ahmed, who would seemingly have reason to have known the star of the tapes, Abu Zubaydah.

BTW, the Asia Times article mentions one Omar Sheikh, the same man Madam Bhutto recently told David Frost had murdered bin Laden. Oddly, Pervez was on 60 Minutes tonight blaming Bhutto for her own death but doing a lousy job denying his utter disdain for her return and his country's half-hearted search for the late UBL. God help us all.


Our friend Azzam the Amerikan has made some overt threats against Bush during his upcoming and rather bold visit to the Middle East. But what struck me was Gadahn's past:
Gadahn, who is under federal indictment for treason, is believed to be hiding in Pakistan. He left Orange County, Calif., almost 10 years ago for Pakistan
So he emigrated to Pakistan years ago and is still operating from that country but our ally Musharraf, who evidently had nefarious ties to the same ISI guys who have ties to UBL, can't seem to find him. OK then.

MORE 1/7/08

Jawa is reporting that a top aide to bin Laden might have been captured in Pakistan. In Lahore. That's neither in a tribal area nor a cave. Dare we assume the hammer is about to drop?

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