Existence of FBI Case Number, Described in Anonymous Letter Obtained by The BRAD BLOG, Corroborated by Paper
Letter Describes Senior State Dept. Official Marc Grossman as Tipping off Turkish Embassy to Valerie Plame Wilson's 'Brewster Jennings' Counter-Proliferation Operation...
By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2008, 9:13pm PT  

By Brad Friedman from on the road...

London's Sunday Times has just published a follow-up to their explosive front-pager from two weeks ago which described allegations by former FBI translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.

Though there has been worldwide coverage of the recent blockbuster in the Rupert Murdoch-owned British paper, the U.S. media have remained entirely mum, a point which has drawn great consternation from both Edmonds and the 70's-era "Pentagon Papers" Daniel Ellsberg, whom The BRAD BLOG has spoken to this evening, following the release of tonight's extraordinary new Times piece.

The paper now reports that they are able to corroborate an apparent FBI cover-up of documents detailing an investigation of the theft and sale of nuclear secrets to agents working for Turkey and Israel, who in turn shared the secrets with Pakistan, who in turn may have shared those secrets with Iran, North Korea, Libya, and possibly even al-Qaeda.

As The BRAD BLOG reported along with the Times two weeks ago, the operation also includes allegations that high-ranking U.S. officials --- such as Marc Grossman, a former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, who served as the #3 official in the State Department under Colin Powell and Richard Armitage from 2001 to 2005 --- were involved in the sale of those secrets and may have accepted pay-offs from agents in the black market network in the bargain.

The Times article tonight was originally published under the headline "FBI 'covers up' file exposing theft of nuclear secrets," according to Google News.

Though that header has already been changed to "FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft."

The Times' article refers to an FBI case number (203A-WF-210023) referenced in an anonymous letter sent to The Liberty Coalition, a DC-based transpartisan civil and human rights watchdog organization. A subsequent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, asking for information referring to that case number, resulted in a denial from the FBI that such a case exists.

The letter describes, among other things, allegations that Grossman had warned officials at the Turkish embassy in DC of the existence of a CIA counter-proliferation operation using a "CIA cover company" by the name of "Brewster Jennings." That company was a front used by covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, who was later outed by White House officials in the now-infamous CIA Leak case.

The BRAD BLOG had obtained a copy of the anonymous letter some weeks ago, along with the FBI's denial of the existence of related information via the FOIA request. We've been in touch with the Sunday Times over the past week, as this story has been developing.

We have yet to publish the letter in full, however, as we have been unable to independently corroborate a number of allegations made in the letter.

The Times, however, reports that they've "obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file" referred to in the anonymous letter.

We've also just spoken to Edmonds, who has been under an unprecedented 5-year-long gag order by the U.S. Department of Justice. The DoJ has threatened Edmonds with prosecution under the so-called "State Secrets Privilege." The threat of prison has kept her from speaking publicly about details related to the case, which she claims to have heard while translating wiretaps for the FBI in 2001 and 2002. She has spent many years encouraging members of Congress to hold hearings and a public investigation into the case. Despite public support from senators such as Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and a promise for investigations from members of Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) office, who have been briefed on the details, no such investigation has been carried out to date.

Edmonds denied being the source for the anonymous letter, telling The BRAD BLOG "absolutely not," when we asked her directly if she was its author...

In addition to references in the letter to "Recorded wiretaps pertaining to conversations between Mr. Marc Grossman...and a Turkish official at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC, between August 2001 and December 2001," there are references to "Internal communication within the Department of Justice between December 2005 and march [sic] 2007." Edmonds points out she has no information on such internal communications at any period after 2002, when she was fired by the FBI after whistleblower complaints to her superiors about infiltration within the translations department. Those allegations were later described by the DoJ Inspector General as "credible," "serious," and "warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI."

When we asked whether she could confirm the case number referenced in the anonymous letter, Edmonds told us, "I can confirm outright that the FBI lied in their denial of the existence of the file. 100%. It was an outright lie."

The case in question, she told The BRAD BLOG, careful to avoid categorical defiance of her gag order, "concerns 1996 to 2002 information, targeting Turkish counter-intelligence, and it involves U.S. officials both appointed and elected."

The Times' report tonight offers similar information from Edmonds on the FBI case number in question...

One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file.

Edmonds believes the crucial file is being deliberately covered up by the FBI because its contents are explosive. She accuses the agency of an “outright lie.”

“I can tell you that that file and the operations it refers to did exist from 1996 to February 2002. The file refers to the counterintelligence programme that the Department of Justice has declared to be a state secret to protect sensitive diplomatic relations,” she said.

After the initial story in the Times two weeks ago, Edmonds posted a number of photographs of high-ranking U.S. officials and members of think tanks, on her website, without names or comment. The photos are believed to be those she alleges are involved in the criminal activities described in the various coverage of her explosive allegations. She would not comment to The BRAD BLOG concerning the photographs on that page, titled only: "Sibel Edmonds' State Secrets Privilege Gallery."

Luke Ryland, assuredly the world's foremost expert on the Edmonds case, writes tonight, on the FBI denial that any documents exist in reference to the specifically named case number:

The FBI's comments demonstrate conclusively that either:
a) They are lying, or
b) They have destroyed the evidence of this multi-year investigation concerning the corruption of high-level US officials, the nuclear black market, money laundering and narcotics trafficking.

"It's ironic," Edmonds told us, "here is the FBI and DoJ in charge of investigating the CIA Torture Tape case and the missing White House emails. So who is going to investigate the FBI and DoJ if they have destroyed evidence, if that's what they've done, because it looks like that's what they have done."

Without naming Grossman --- as they also failed to do in their previous report two weeks ago --- the Times reports on some of the letter's specific allegations...

It claims the government official warned a Turkish member of the network that they should not deal with a company called Brewster Jennings because it was a CIA front company investigating the nuclear black market. The official’s warning came two years before Brewster Jennings was publicly outed when one of its staff, Valerie Plame, was revealed to be a CIA agent in a case that became a cause célèbre in the US.

The letter also makes reference to wiretaps of Turkish “targets” talking to [Pakistan's] ISI intelligence agents at the Pakistani embassy in Washington and recordings of “operatives” at the [American Turkish Council].

"We are all familiar with the cliche that 'the cover-up is worse than the crime,' but that is often nonsense," Ryland writes tonight. "Just as in the CIA tape destruction case, here we have rational people making 'rational' decisions, not in the heat of the moment, to commit felonies by destroying evidence of treason amongst other crimes. The original crimes are much worse than the cover-up, and the guilty parties know it, that's why they decided to destroy and cover up all of the evidence."

He concludes by adding, "We have the crimes, we have the cover-ups, where are the consequences?"

American Media - (Still) Missing in Action

Last October, in a BRAD BLOG Exclusive, Edmonds had announced she was willing to defy her gag order, in order to give the entire story to any American mainstream broadcast outlet who would allow her to do so. Not a single media operation in this country took her up on the offer.

In November, we followed up that report with comments from the legendary Pentagon Papers whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, who described Edmonds' story to us as "far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers," while excoriating the American mainstream media for their failure to cover the story. Even then, while foreign media requested interviews with Edmonds, the American media refused to touch the story.

London's Sunday Times then contacted The BRAD BLOG after our series of reports, hoping to get in touch with Edmonds. They claimed they had some corroboration for elements of her story that had leaked out previously, and wanted to touch base with her. After putting them in touch with her, the result was the blockbuster story two weeks ago detailing allegations of a wide network of "moles" in place at U.S. nuclear installations, who were stealing and selling information on the foreign nuclear black market, as U.S. officials either looked the other way or were complicit in the criminal activities.

In response to that story, the top newspapers from Turkey to Pakistan to India to Israel picked up on the report. But in the United States, incredibly enough, absolutely nothing. Not a single major American media outlet covered the explosive and disturbing allegations.

We asked Edmonds tonight whether she had concerns that the British media outlet leading the way on coverage was, in fact, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sunday Times, as some in the blogosphere had noted, with some concern, after the initial report two weeks ago.

"Murdoch is not doing it," she replied. "It's the difference between the UK's reporters and the U.S. reporters and the way they go after stories. It shows that they have far more leeway. I think a lot of it is the self-censorship [of the U.S. media] and the reliance 100% on only government sources."

"I have had [American] reporters call me and tell me that I have 'stumbled on some big time national security, covert operation'," she continued, explaining that as the reason given by some for staying away from the story.

"Well, Iran-Contra was a goddamn covert operation too! Even if that's what they're telling reporters in the U.S., it doesn't make the operation any less illegal. And the cover-up of that is outrageous," she told us tonight.

In an op-ed response being prepared by Daniel Ellsberg for publishing tomorrow by The BRAD BLOG, the Vietnam-era whistleblower offers these thoughts, in the wake of tonight's Times story, and the shameful failure of the American media to cover this important story to date...

For the second time in two weeks, the entire U.S. press has let itself be scooped by Rupert Murdoch's London Sunday Times on a dynamite story of criminal activities by corrupt U.S. officials promoting nuclear proliferation. But there is a worse journalistic sin than being scooped, and that is participating in a cover-up of information that demands urgent attention from the public, the U.S. Congress and the courts. For the last two weeks --- one could say, for years --- the major American media have been guilty of ignoring entirely the allegations of the courageous and highly credible source Sibel Edmonds, quoted in the London Times on January 6, 2008 in a front-page story that was front-page news in much of the rest of the world but was not reported in a single American newspaper or network.

Ellsberg goes on to write, "It is up to readers to demand that this culpable silent treatment end."

The BRAD BLOG will publish Ellsberg's comments in full tomorrow. [UPDATE: Ellsberg's complete op-ed now posted in full here.]

In addition to the Sunday Times story, we heartily recommend Luke Ryland's coverage which, as usual, connects all of the most important dots for us.

Our archive of previous Sibel Edmonds-related coverage can be read here.

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