Sunday, April 8, 2007

Aces and Eights

Originally posted at Aces and Eights.

This post is dedicated to Sibel Edmonds, an American hero.

A piece of history from the Wild West:

Dear Cecil:

On a recent pilgrimage to Troy Grove, Illinois to visit the home of Wild Bill Hickok, one of our company happened to mention that according to legend Wild Bill was shot while holding "black aces and eights." This hand has come to be known as the "dead man's hand." Is the story apocryphal, and if it is true, what was the fifth card in Wild Bill's hand? --Larry N., Chicago

Dear Larry:

You've settled on one of the few bits of Western lore that has some basis in fact. Wild Bill was indeed holding black aces and eights when he was plugged by Jack McCall on the fateful day of August 2, 1876, in the charming suburb of Deadwood, deep in the Dakota Territory. Bill's fifth card was the deuce of spades, which must have made for a pretty grim-looking hand. I'm surprised he didn't commit suicide.

When playing poker in a saloon, Wild Bill Hickok always sat with his back to the corner to protect himself from a sneak attack. On the day in question, he entered Nuttal & Mann's Saloon No. 10 in Deadwood, and sat down to play poker; unfortunately, the only seat he could find left his back to the door. Jack McCall shot him in the back of the head with a .45 revolver.

What constitutes a good hand in poker depends on what kind of poker one is playing, whether there is a draw or not, whether the draw has already occurred, whether or not there are wild cards, and so on. Perhaps more than that, however, it depends on the player.

The attacks already perpetrated by narcotrafficking Khawarij terrorists not just on America but on much of the rest of the world as well, and the threat of more to come, are bad enough.

Worse than those attacks, though, is the fact that America now faces this threat with a gun to its back, held there by criminals in the business world and in government who see siding with the terrorists to be more in their interests than siding with their own country. Abusing their power, their priveleges, and even their humanity, these criminals walk the streets, taking everything in through the eyes of a psychotic hunter.

In times past, the law was based on faith, love and Judeo-Christian ethics, and it was about justice; the law was the good person's treasure, and the bad person's refuge. Increasingly, however, the law is no longer a means to an end, justice, but rather has become an end in and of itself.

Even more grotesquely, the law has been perverted into a tool of evil, oppressing the good person, while justifying the bad person; the good people are caught in the middle, with terrorists and narcotraffickers on one side, and criminals in big government and in big business on the other.

The Orwellian irony is that while America is under attack by enemies both foreign and domestic, American law is now used to silence those who would defend her.

It is the hour of the wolf.

Unlike Wild Bill Hickok, who had his back to the door when he wanted to be in the corner, American people who dare to question what our government is doing -- a questioning which is their duty in our system of government -- are being forced into a corner, defensive and persecuted, yet still clinging to the idea that they have rights. More and more, they must feel as if they are hanging on to nothing.

The time has come for decent people to finally break out of that corner, and tell the corrupt elites and their terrorist allies how things will be, which is nothing else than the way things should have been all along.

The connection among the decent people in this country and around the world goes far beyond the wires that carry the signals among computers, now used for communication to bypass the mainstream media, which long ago made itself irrelevant in this battle. The connection goes even beyond the blood of the victims of terrorism, drug-trafficking and the white-collar crime that enables and facilitates it all -- blood which cries out for justice. Decent Americans, and other decent people around the world, are connected by destiny.

Some things seem certain:

1) The terrorists and narcotraffickers are a threat to America and to everyone else;

2) A greater threat to the whole world are the criminals in America's business and government elites who side with the terrorists, because without those criminals, the terrorists and narcotraffickers would have a much weaker hand to play;

3) America is a better player than her enemies think;


4) The game is not over yet.

Lita Ford Aces And Eights lyrics:

We only take what we need
In black and white
The city bleeds
Love cuts you down to the bone
And walks these streets
With the eyes of a hunter
Bad blood flows from
The father to the son
How red the river runs, yeah

Love was the law
For sinners and saints
Dead man's hand holds
Aces & Eights
We're bound by wire, blood and fate
Hanging on to nothing
Aces & Eights

We let each other bleed
And watch our bones
Fall in the dust
You can hear the children howl
It's all they see
In the hour of the wolf
Bad blood flows from
The father to the son
How red the river runs, yeah

Love was the law
For sinners and saints
The dead man's hand holds
Aces & Eights
We're bound by wire, blood and fate
Hanging on to nothing

Love was the law
Sinners and saints
Dead man's hand holds
Aces & Eights
We're bound by wire, blood and fate
Hanging on to nothing
Hey, Aces & Eights

Standing in line
At the border
I wanna lay down the law
I wanna tell 'em how it should be
Bad blood flows from
The father to the son
How red the river runs, yeah

Love was the law
Love was the law
For sinners and saints
The dead man's hand holds
Aces & Eights
We're bound by wire, blood and fate
Hanging on to nothing

Love was the law
For sinners and saints
The dead man's hand holds
Aces & Eights
We're bound by wire, blood and fate
Hanging on to nothing
Aces & Eights
Hey, Aces & Eights
Hey, Aces & Eights
Uw, yeah, Aces & Eights
Aces & Eights

Blog Trek: Cat and Mouse

Originally posted at Blog Trek: Cat and Mouse







Aboard the United Cybership (UCS) Weblog...

Captain's Blog, Cyberdate 20070408

Now over three weeks out of Federation Cyberspace, and more than a week after the realization among the crew that the United Federation of Bloggers is at war, the UCS Weblog is deep in uncharted cyberspace.

Officially assigned a mission of reconnaissance and diplomacy, the consensus among the crew is that our mission is one of scouting and surveilling a newly discovered enemy while disrupting through surprise attacks their hostile preparations against the Federation. Our hope is that as we move from battle to battle we will attract the attention of our sister ships and non-Federation cybervessels to a new enemy that is dangerous even to its de facto ally, the Morg.

The only way this enemy can be a danger to the Federation or anyone else is by hiding inside a cloak of secrecy. If widely enough exposed for what they are, nearly every civilization in the cybergalaxy will take action against them. Ironically, however, the UCS Weblog must herself remain cloaked nearly all the time as we collect intelligence on this most dangerous new foe.

Firmly convinced that nothing less than the fate of the known, inhabited universe is now at stake, the crew of the UCS Weblog is quite determined to defend not just the Federation, but all we hold dear, against the sinister, yet subtle, behind-the-scenes machinations of this shadowy enemy. Our patrol, now undoubtedly being executed under wartime conditions, has become a game of cat-and-mouse. As an added amusing twist to the situation, we are sure that we would disagree with our new enemy on one point, additional, yet critical: our perceptions of who is the cat, and who is the mouse.

A Visitor at Wayne Enterprises

Originally posted at A Visitor at Wayne Enterprises

Mrs. Jones left him alone for a few minutes. This gave him a chance to get ready for the important business meetings he had scheduled for the afternoon. After the sudden phone call from Alfred, though, his mind wasn't really on that business; his mind was on his other business. Unusual for him, he was having trouble concentrating.

Mrs. Jones quietly opened the door and stepped inside, then closed the door again behind her.

He looked up at her, mustering a smile as he controlled his thoughts. "Yes, Mrs. Jones."

"There's a visitor here to see you. He has one of Alfred's cards, and Alfred called a few minutes ago requesting us to inform you when this visitor got here."

"Show him in, please."

Mrs. Jones opened the door again and motioned for the visitor to enter Mr. Wayne's office. "Mr. Nygma here to see you, Mr. Wayne. And just a reminder, that meeting will be starting in twenty minutes."

He was already studying this new visitor as he got up to shake Mr. Nygma's hand. He also appreciated Mrs. Jones' reminder, which wasn't just to remind him of his meeting with the German ambassador and the executives of Wayne Enterprises' German operations, but was also to give him an opportunity to end the meeting with this visitor without offending him.

"Thank you, Mrs. Jones. Welcome, Mr. Nygma. Bruce Wayne," he said, shaking hands. "How do you do?"

"It's a pleasure, Mr. Wayne." The visitor seemed nervous.

"Have a seat."

"Thanks," the visitor said as he followed his host's gesture and moved towards armchairs near the window. They both sat down, and the visitor admired the view of Gotham City.

"So, what can I do for you?" the host asked, sensing his visitor's nervousness.

"I need a job, Mr. Wayne," the visitor blurted out. "An elderly gentleman that I met in Gotham Park a little while ago asked me to show you this. Is he a friend of yours?" The visitor added as he held out Alfred's card, with the words "Curiouser and curiouser" written on the back.

"Yes, he is." He paused. "What kind of work do you do?"

"I'm an investigative reporter."

"Are you working now?"


"May I ask why not?" He tried to soften the question with a smile, but he could sense his visitor's nervousness increase.

"I wish I knew." The visitor looked like he wanted to leave.

"I take it you didn't leave your past job voluntarily." He didn't mean to say that so directly. And, he was wondering what kind of an investigative reporter would be so nervous in a fairly ordinary conversation. Perhaps that was part of the problem, he thought.... "Where were you working and what were you working on at your last job? Maybe that can help us understand why you no longer work there."

The visitor didn't want to address this. Not now. Not here. It wasn't a way to land a job at the best company in Gotham City. Not talking to the legendary Bruce Wayne. But, then he remembered the advice of the elderly man who had gotten him this far: what, indeed, did he have to lose?

"Corruption in city hall and in the police department. Inside trading at the Gotham City Stock Exchange. The usual stuff," he answered. And, indeed, it did sound like the usual stuff for an investigative reporter.

But his host sensed there was something else.

"That doesn't sound like the kind of stuff they would fire an investigative reporter for."

Damn! the visitor thought. His chance of a lifetime, a job interview with Bruce Wayne, and Wayne just said the "f-word" -- Wayne had picked up on the fact that he had been fired from his previous job. "I was also looking into the collapse of the Gotham Towers."

His host looked out the window at where the towers had been. Despite new construction in the area, the skyline seemed very empty in that direction. He also thought about the riddles he had been receiving, wondering if the visitor he was talking to could possibly be the one sending them.

"What had you found out?"

A thought flashed across the visitor's mind. Mr. Wayne had a reputation for honesty and charity, but what if that was just a facade? What if Bruce Wayne, one of the most powerful people in Gotham City, the man in whose office he now sat looking for a job, was in on it? His nervousness suddenly vanishing, the visitor was no longer a job applicant on the interview of a lifetime; suddenly, he was an investigative reporter again, on the interview of a lifetime.

A Glimpse Under the Rug Part II

Originally posted at A Glimpse Under the Rug
Excerpts from Letter to Thomas Kean from Sibel Edmonds, Aug 5, 2004:


In October 2001, approximately one month after the September 11 attack, an agent from a [city name omitted] field office, re-sent a certain document to the FBI Washington Field Office, so that it could be re-translated. This special agent, in light of the [September 11] terrorist attacks, rightfully believed that, considering his target of investigation (the suspect under surveillance), and the issues involved, the original translation might have missed certain information that could prove to be valuable in the investigation of terrorist activities. After this document was received by the FBI Washington Field Office and re-translated verbatim, the field agent's hunch appeared to be correct. The new translation revealed certain information regarding blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas. It also revealed certain illegal activities in obtaining visas from certain embassies in the Middle East, through network contacts and bribery. However, after the re-translation was completed and the new significant information was revealed, the unit supervisor in charge of certain Middle Eastern languages, Mike Feghali, decided not to send the re-translated information to the special agent who had requested it. Instead, this supervisor decided to send this agent a note stating that the translation was reviewed and that the original translation was accurate. This supervisor stated that sending the accurate translation would hurt the original translator and would cause problems for the FBI language department. The FBI agent requesting the re-translation never received the accurate translation of that document. [...]


Only one month after the catastrophic events of September 11, while many agents were working around the clock to obtain leads and information, and to investigate those responsible for the attacks, those with possible connections to the attack, and those who might be planning possible future attacks, the bureaucratic administrators in the FBI's largest and most important translation unit were covering up their past failures, blocking important leads and information, and jeopardizing on going terrorist investigations. The supervisor involved in this incident, Mike Feghali, was in charge of certain important Middle Eastern languages within the FBI Washington Field Office, and had a record of previous misconducts. After this supervisor's several severe misconducts were reported to the FBI's higher-level management, after his conducts were reported to the Inspector General's Office, to the United States Congress, and to the 9-11 Commission, he was promoted to include the FBI's Arabic-language unit under his supervision. Today [recall this was dated Aug 5, 2004 -- Y.D.] this supervisor, Mike Feghali, remains in the FBI Washington Field Office and is in charge of a language unit receiving those chitchats that our color-coded threat system is based upon. Yet your report contains zero information regarding these systemic problems that led us to our failure in preventing the [September 11] terrorist attacks. In your report, there are no references to individuals responsible for hindering past and current investigations, or those who are willing to compromise our security and our lives for their career advancement and security. This issue, as with others, is systemic and departmental. [...]

Espionage, sabotage, corruption....

The latest buzz topic regarding intelligence is the problem of sharing information/intelligence within intelligence agencies and between intelligence agencies. To this date the public has not been told of intentional blocking of intelligence, and has not been told that certain information, despite its direct links, impacts and ties to terrorist related activities, is not given to or shared with counter-terrorism units, their investigations, and countering terrorism related activities. This was the case prior to [September 11], and remains in effect after [September 11]. If counter-intelligence receives information that contains money laundering, illegal arms sale, and illegal drug activities, directly linked to terrorist activities, and if that information involves certain nations, certain semi-legit organizations, and ties to certain lucrative or political relations in this country, then that information is not shared with counter-terrorism, regardless of the possible severe consequences. In certain cases, frustrated FBI agents cited "direct pressure by the State Department", and in other cases "sensitive diplomatic relations" is cited. [...]

"Sensitive diplomatic relations"?

After almost three years the American people still do not know that thousands of lives can be jeopardized under the unspoken policy of "protecting certain foreign business relations".

"Foreign business relations."

This last remark is interesting in light of what we have learned about the defense industry. See my posts at a separate location: Stop Islamic Conquest: Counterjihad, Inc.

The victims' family members still do not realize that information and answers they have sought relentlessly for over two years has been blocked due to the unspoken decisions made and disguised under "safeguarding certain diplomatic relations".

Safeguarding diplomatic relations?

President George W. Bush, Thursday, September 20, 2001:
"Every nation, in every region, now has a
decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

In other words, every nation needs to make a decision as to whose side it is on in the War on Terror. Then, we will make a decision as to what our business interests in that nation are, and manage our diplomatic relations accordingly. Certain, special nations, like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey, that are deep into supporting the intimately related industries of terrorism and narcotrafficking (see Stop Islamic Conquest: Jihad, Inc. and related posts linked from there), get a free pass to do whatever they want. But Iraq, in violation of a UN ceasefire that was signed on Hussein's behalf, gets invaded.

Why? Why is no action taken against Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey for their sponsoring of terrorism and/or role in heroin trafficking?

Follow the money.

Your report did not even attempt to address these unspoken practices, although, unlike me, you were not placed under any gag. Your hearings did not include questions regarding these unspoken and unwritten policies and practices. Despite your full awareness and understanding of certain criminal conduct that connects to certain terrorist related activities, committed by certain US officials and high-level government employees, you have not proposed criminal investigations into this conduct, although under the laws of this country you are required to do so.

Stupidity and incompetence? Dereliction of duty? Corruption? Accessory to murder and terrorism?

Naturally, when caught, these people will all plead stupidity and incompetence.

What's really stupid is them thinking they won't get caught.

I know for a fact that problems regarding intelligence translation cannot be brushed off as minor problems among many significant problems. Translation units are the front line in gathering, translating, and disseminating intelligence. A warning in advance of the next terrorist attack may, and probably will, come in the form of a message or document in foreign language that will have to be translated.


That message may be given to the translation unit headed and supervised by someone like Mike Feghali, who slows down, even stops, translations for the purpose of receiving budget increases for his department, who has participated in certain criminal activities and security breaches, and who has been engaged in covering up failures and criminal conducts within the department, so it may never be translated in time if ever. That message may go to Kevin Taskesen, or another unqualified translator; so it may never be translated correctly and be acted upon. That message may go to a sympathizer within the language department; so it may never be translated fully, if at all. That message may come to the attention of an agent of a foreign organization who works as a translator in the FBI translation department, who may choose to block it; so it may never get translated. If then an attack occurs, which could have been prevented by acting on information in that message, who will tell family members of the new terrorist attack victims that nothing more could have been done? There will be no excuse that we did not know, because we do know.

No, what will happen is that the official story will be given out by talking heads, and in a world where "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists", anyone who questions the official story is "with the terrorists".

I am writing this letter in light of my direct experience within the FBI's translation unit during the most crucial times after the [September 11] terrorist attacks, in light of my first hand knowledge of certain problems and cases within the bureau's language units, and in light of what has already been established as facts. As you are fully aware, the facts, incidents, and problems cited in this letter are by no means based upon personal opinion or un-verified allegations. As you are fully aware, these issues and incidents were found confirmed by a senior Republican senator, Charles Grassley, and a senior Democrat senator, Patrick Leahy. As you know, according to officials with direct knowledge of the Department of Justice inspector general's report on my allegations, "none of my allegations were disproved". As you are fully aware, even FBI officials "confirmed all my allegations and denied none" during their unclassified meetings with the Senate Judiciary staff over two years ago. However, neither your commission's hearings, nor your commission's 567-page report, nor your recommendations include these serious issues, major incidents, and systemic problems. Your report's coverage of FBI translation problems consists of a brief microscopic footnote (Footnote 25). Yet your commission is geared to start aggressively pressuring our government to hastily implement your measures and recommendations based upon your incomplete and deficient report.

"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

Too many people in too many places in Washington are "with the terrorists", yet they use that Orwellian expression to silence those who question what's going on.

From Whistleblower explodes 9-11 Commission Report, Aug 5, 2004:

Sibel Edmonds, an FBI translator who has in effect been silenced by the bureau and the US Justice Department, said in an open letter to commission chairman Thomas Kean that the FBI had suffered from a litany of errors and cover-ups of those errors, which had been reported to the 9-11 Commission by Edmonds and others, yet the commission report "contains zero information regarding these systemic problems that led us to our failure in preventing the [September 11, 2001] terrorist attacks".


Edmonds' open letter, while skirting around certain issues that she is prohibited by gag orders from revealing, is chilling in its revelations that, contrary to public claims by the administration of President George W Bush, the FBI was in possession months before September 2001 of intelligence that Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization was planning a major attack on the United States, using airplanes as a weapon.


These revelations are not new, though the open letter is remarkable in its specificity and naming of names. Previously, while being careful not to violate the legal silencing measures imposed on her by the FBI, the courts and the Justice Department, she has leveled damning criticisms in the media of her former employers and what she has termed the Bush administration's "anti-transparency, anti-accountability and their corrupt attitudes".

"But that aside," she told radio interviewer Jim Hogue in April, "we are not made of only one branch of government. We are supposed to have a system of checks and balances. And I am saying, how about the other two branches? And putting the pressure on our representatives in the Senate and the Congress, and the court system? They should be counteracting this corruption, but they are sitting there silent. And they are just an audience, just watching it happen."


In what critics of the Bush administration have long seen as a contrast, a March 22 Washington Post op-ed piece by Condoleezza Rice stated: "Despite what some have suggested, we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated that terrorists might hijack planes to try and free US-held terrorists." And according to an April interview Edmonds gave to the United Kingdom's Independent newspaper, she termed Rice's claim "an outrageous lie", saying, "I saw papers that show the US knew al-Qaeda would attack cities with airplanes," referring to the April information she has now written of.

"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

Those are not Yankee Doodle's words; those are President George W. Bush's words.

Maybe it's time he got judged by them.

A Glimpse Under the Rug Part I

Originally posted at A Glimpse Under the Rug

Excerpts from Letter to Thomas Kean from Sibel Edmonds, Aug 5, 2004:

Dear Chairman Kean:

It has been almost three years since the terrorist attacks on September 11 [2001], during which time we, the people, have been placed under a constant threat of terror and asked to exercise vigilance in our daily lives. Your commission, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, was created by law to investigate "facts and circumstances related to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001" and to "provide recommendations to safeguard against future acts of terrorism", and has now issued its "9-11 Commission Report". You are now asking us to pledge our support for this report, its recommendations, and implementation of these recommendations, with our trust and backing, our tax money, our security, and our lives. Unfortunately, I find your report seriously flawed in its failure to address serious intelligence issues that I am aware of, which have been confirmed, and which as a witness to the commission, I made you aware of. Thus I must assume that other serious issues that I am not aware of were in the same manner omitted from your report. These omissions cast doubt on the validity of your report and therefore on its conclusions and recommendations. [...]

The report is a farce. A great deal of information that the commission had presented to it was left out of the report. There is no indication in the unclassified version that was released as to how much was in the classified version, or how much never made it into either version. The mouse was in charge of the cheese.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11 we, the translators at the FBI's largest and most important translation unit, were told to slow down, even stop, translation of critical information related to terrorist activities so that the FBI could present the United States Congress with a record of "extensive backlog of untranslated documents", and justify its request for budget and staff increases. While FBI agents from various field offices were desperately seeking leads and suspects, and completely depending on FBI HQ and its language units to provide them with needed translated information, hundreds of translators were being told by their administrative supervisors not to translate and to let the work pile up (please refer to the CBS 60 Minutes transcript dated October 2002, and provided to your investigators in January-February 2004). This issue has been confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee (please refer to Senator [Charles] Grassley's and Senator [Patrick] Leahy's letters during the summer of 2002, provided to your investigators in January-February 2004). This confirmed report has been reported to be substantiated by the Department of Justice Inspector General Report (please refer to DOJ-IG report Re: Sibel Edmonds and FBI Translation, provided to you prior to the completion of your report). [...]

The defense of America against terror took second place behind bureaucratic

Today, almost three years after [September 11], and more than two years since this information has been confirmed and made available to our government, the administrators in charge of language departments of the FBI remain in their positions and in charge of the information front lines of the FBI's counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence efforts. Your report has omitted any reference to this most serious issue, has forgone any accountability whatsoever, and your recommendations have refrained from addressing this issue, which when left unaddressed will have even more serious consequences. This issue is systemic and departmental. [...]

It was brought up and subsequently buried again.

Melek Can Dickerson, a Turkish translator, was hired by the FBI after September 11, and was placed in charge of translating the most sensitive information related to terrorists and criminals under the bureau's investigation. Melek Can Dickerson was granted Top Secret Clearance, which can be granted only after conducting a thorough background investigation. Melek Can Dickerson used to work for a semi-legit organizations that were the FBI's targets of investigation. Melek Can Dickerson had on going relationships with two individuals who were FBI's targets of investigation. For months Melek Can Dickerson blocked all-important information related to these semi-legit organizations and the individuals she and her husband associated with. She stamped hundreds, if not thousands, of documents related to these targets as "Not Pertinent". Melek Can Dickerson attempted to prevent others from translating these documents important to the FBI's investigations and our fight against terrorism. Melek Can Dickerson, with the assistance of her direct supervisor, Mike Feghali, took hundreds of pages of top-secret sensitive intelligence documents outside the FBI to unknown recipients. Melek Can Dickerson, with the assistance of her direct supervisor, forged signatures on top-secret documents related to certain [September 11-related] detainees. After all these incidents were confirmed and reported to FBI management, Melek Can Dickerson was allowed to remain in her position, to continue the translation of sensitive intelligence received by the FBI, and to maintain her Top Secret Clearance.

Obstruction of justice, espionage, corruption....

Apparently bureaucratic mid-level FBI management and administrators decided that it would not look good for the bureau if this security breach and espionage case was investigated and made public, especially after going through Robert Hanssen's case (FBI spy scandal). This case (Melek Can Dickerson) was confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee (please refer to Senator Leahy's and Grassley's letters dated June 19 and August 13, 2002, and Senator Grassley's statement on CBS 60 Minutes in October 2002, provided to your investigators in January-February 2004). This Dickerson incident received major coverage by the press (please refer to media background provided to your investigators in January-February 2004). According to [FBI] director [Robert] Mueller, the inspector general criticized the FBI for failing to adequately pursue this espionage report regarding Melek Can Dickerson (please refer to DOJ-IG report Re: Sibel Edmonds and FBI Translation, provided to you prior to the completion of your report). [...]

Cover up....

Today, more than two years since the Dickerson incident was reported to the FBI, and more than two years since this information was confirmed by the United States Congress and reported by the press, these administrators in charge of FBI personnel security and language departments in the FBI remain in their positions and in charge of translation quality and translation departments' security. Melek Can Dickerson and several FBI targets of investigation hastily left the United States in 2002, and the case still remains uninvestigated criminally. Not only does the supervisor facilitating these criminal conducts remain in a supervisory position, he has been promoted to supervising Arabic-language units of the FBI's counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence investigations.

The mice are still in charge of the cheese....

Your report has omitted these significant incidents, has forgone any accountability whatsoever, and your recommendations have refrained from addressing this serious information security breach and highly likely espionage issue. This issue needs to be investigated and criminally prosecuted. The translation of our intelligence is being entrusted to individuals with loyalties to our enemies. Important "chit-chats" and "chatters" are being intentionally blocked. [...]

Cover up, espionage, sabotage....

Over three years ago, more than four months prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama bin Laden. This asset/informant was previously a high-level intelligence officer in Iran in charge of intelligence from Afghanistan. Through his contacts in Afghanistan he received information that: 1) Osama Bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting four to five major cities, 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes, 3) some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States, 4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months. The agents who received this information reported it to their superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counter-terrorism Thomas Frields, at the FBI Washington Field Office, by filing "302" forms, and the translator translated and documented this information. No action was taken by the special agent in charge, and after [September 11] the agents and the translators were told to "keep quiet" regarding this issue.

Dereliction of duty and cover up....

The translator who was present during the session with the FBI informant, Mr Behrooz Sarshar, reported this incident to director Mueller in writing, and later to the Department of Justice inspector general. The press reported this incident, and in fact the report in the Chicago Tribune on July 21, 2004, stated that FBI officials had confirmed that this information was received in April 2001, and further, the Chicago Tribune quoted an aide to director Mueller that he (Mueller) was surprised that the commission never raised this particular issue with him during the hearing (please refer to Chicago Tribune article, dated July 21, 2004).

It's not that nobody knew about this:

Mr Sarshar reported this issue to your investigators on February 12, 2004, and provided them with specific dates, location, witness names, and the contact information for that particular Iranian asset and the two special agents who received the information (please refer to the tape-recorded testimony provided to your investigators during a 2.5 hours' testimony by Mr Sarshar on February 12, 2004). I provided your investigators with a detailed and specific account of this issue, the names of other witnesses, and documents I had seen (please refer to tape-recorded 3.5 hours' testimony by Sibel Edmonds, provided to your investigators on February 11, 2004). Mr Sarshar also provided the Department of Justice inspector general with specific information regarding this issue (please refer to DOJ-IG report Re: Sibel Edmonds and FBI Translation, provided to you prior to the completion of your report).

They just chose not to do anything.

After almost three years since September 11, many officials still refuse to admit to having specific information regarding the terrorists' plans to attack the United States. The Phoenix Memo, received months prior to the [September 11] attacks, specifically warned FBI HQ of pilot training and their possible link to terrorist activities against the United States. Four months prior to the terrorist attacks the Iranian asset provided the FBI with specific information regarding the "use of airplanes", "major US cities as targets", and "Osama bin Laden issuing the order". Coleen Rowley likewise reported that specific information had been provided to FBI HQ. All this information went to the same place: FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC, and the FBI Washington Field Office, in Washington DC. Yet your report claims that not having a central place where all intelligence could be gathered as one of the main factors in our intelligence failure. [...]

The result: thousands of people dead.

Over two years ago, and after two "unclassified" sessions with FBI officials, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent letters to director Mueller, Attorney General Ashcroft, and Inspector General Glenn Fine regarding the existence of unqualified translators in charge of translating high level sensitive intelligence. The FBI confirmed at least one case: Kevin Taskesen, a Turkish translator, had been given a job as an FBI translator, despite the fact that he had failed all FBI language proficiency tests. In fact, Kevin could not understand or speak even elementary-level English. He had failed English-proficiency tests and did not even score sufficiently in the target language. Still, Kevin Taskesen was hired, not due to lack of other qualified translator candidates, but because his wife worked in FBI Headquarters as a language proficiency exam administrator. Almost everybody in FBI Headquarters and the FBI Washington Field Office knew about Kevin. Yet Kevin was given the task of translating the most sensitive terrorist-related information, and he was sent to Guantanamo Bay to translate the interrogation of and information for all Turkic-language detainees (Turkish, Uzbek, Turkmen, etc). The FBI was supposed to be trying to obtain information regarding possible future attack plans from these detainees, and yet the FBI knowingly sent unqualified translators to gather and translate this information. Further, these detainees were either released or detained or prosecuted based on information received and translated by unqualified translators knowingly sent there by the FBI.

Incompetence, influence-peddling, corruption, cronyism....

Again, it's not like nobody knew. It's not like the 9/11 Commission hadn't been told about this.

Senator Grassley and Senator Leahy publicly confirmed Kevin Taskesen's case (please refer to Senate letters and documents provided to your investigators in January-February 2004). CBS 60 Minutes showed Kevin's picture and stated his name as one of the unqualified translators sent to Guantanamo Bay, and as a case confirmed by the FBI (please refer to CBS 60 Minutes transcript provided to your investigators). Department of Justice inspector general had a detailed account of these problems (please refer to DOJ-IG report Re: Sibel Edmonds and FBI Translation, provided to you prior to the completion of your report). I provided your investigators with a detailed and specific account of this issue and the names of other witnesses willing to corroborate this (please refer to tape-recorded 3.5 hours' testimony by Sibel Edmonds, provided to your investigators on February 11, 2004).

Letters from the Senators and the 60 Minutes transcript are posted elsewhere at this blog.

After more than two years since Kevin Taskesen's case was publicly confirmed, and after almost two years since CBS 60 Minutes broadcast Taskesen's case, Kevin Taskesen remains in his position, as a sole Turkish-and Turkic-language translator for the FBI Washington Field Office. After admitting that Kevin Taskesen was not qualified to perform the task of translating sensitive intelligence and investigation of terrorist activities, the FBI still keeps him in charge of translating highly sensitive documents and leads. Those individuals in the FBI's hiring department and those who facilitated the hiring of unqualified translators due to nepotism/cronyism are still in those departments and remain in their positions. Yet your report does not mention this case, or these chronic problems within the FBI translation departments, and within the FBI's hiring and screening departments. The issue of accountability for those responsible for these practices that endangers our national security is not brought up even once in your report. This issue, as with others, is systemic and departmental. [...]

Cover up....


"... or you are with the terrorists." Part III

Originally posted at "...or you are with the terrorists." Part III

For the first two articles in this series, see "...or you are with the terrorists." Part I and "...or you are with the terrorists." Part II.

For further information about Sibel Edmonds, see also Stop Islamic Conquest: Gag Me.

From the 9/11 Commission Report (the numbers, which I have placed into brackets, are footnotes to the report; see the link for references):

Having issued directives to guide his administration's preparations for war, on Thursday, September 20, President Bush addressed the nation before a joint session of Congress. "Tonight," he said, "we are a country awakened to danger." [80] The President blamed al Qaeda for 9/11 and the 1998 embassy bombings and, for the first time, declared that al Qaeda was "responsible for bombing the USS Cole." [81] He reiterated the ultimatum that had already been conveyed privately. "The Taliban must act, and act immediately," he said. "They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate." [82] The President added that America's quarrel was not with Islam: "The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them." Other regimes faced hard choices, he pointed out: "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

President George W. Bush, Thursday, September 20, 2001:
"Every nation, in every region, now has a
decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

The Highjacking of a Nation Part 2: The Auctioning of Former Statesmen & Dime a Dozen Generals, by Sibel Edmonds, November 29, 2006

Moreover, as we all know, those subject to criticism in these articles [referring to Sibel Edmonds series; see source link above - Y.D.] have mastered the art of spinning when it comes to the media and propaganda. The Israeli lobby is quick to stamp all factually backed criticism as ‘anti-Semitic’ and attack it as such. The Turkish lobby, in this regard, as with everything else, follows its Israeli mentors; they label all dissent and criticism as anti-Turkey, or, Kurdish or Armenian propaganda; while the Saudi lobby goes around kicking and screaming ‘anti-Muslim propaganda.’

Some of those screams can be heard here:

Islamophobia Watch -- Islamophobia: A Definition

Runnymede Trust: The Runnymede Trust has identified eight components that they say define Islamophobia. This definition, from the 1997 document 'Islamophobia: A Challenge For Us All' is widely accepted, including by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia. The eight components are:

1) Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
2) Islam is seen as separate and 'other'. It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.
3) Islam is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.
4) Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a 'clash of civilisations'.
5) Islam is seen as a political ideology and is used for political or military advantage.
6) Criticisms made of the West by Islam are rejected out of hand.
7) Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
8) Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or normal.

Salaam website: An excellent definition also appears on the
Salaam website written by "al-Maktabi":

"the term 'Islamophobia' does not adequately express the full range and depth of antipathy towards Islam and Muslims in the West today. It is an inadequate term."

"A more accurate expression would be 'anti-Islamic racism' for it combines the elements of dislike of a religion and active discrimination against the people belonging to that religion."

Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid: One of the members of the Runnymede Trust's Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia which published the famous 1997 report argues that:

"Hostility towards Islam and Muslims has been a feature of European societies since the eighth century of the Common Era. It has taken different forms, however, at different times and has fulfilled a variety of functions. For example, the hostility in Spain in the fifteenth century was not the same as the hostility that had been expressed and mobilised in the Crusades. Nor was the hostility during the time of the
Ottoman Empire or that which was prevalent throughout the age of empires and colonialism. It may be more apt to speak of 'Islamophobias' rather than of a single phenomenon. Each version of Islamophobia has its own features as well as similarities with, and borrowings from, other versions."

Islamophobia: An Irrational Fear or Prejudice Towards Islam and Muslims (See source for notes corresponding to numbers in brackets.)

Islamophobia defined...
Islamophobia is a neologism used to refer to an irrational fear or prejudice towards Muslims and the religion of Islam.

Some believe that prejudice against Muslims has increased since the September 11, 2001 attacks. Dr Abduljalil Sajid, an adviser to the Commission on British Muslims, an anti-racism group, has said he believes many organizations are "institutionally Islamophobic". He has said that "since the 11 September attacks the single most important concern has been police harassment of Muslims. Even one of (Britain's) Muslim peers... has been stopped twice by police." [1]

Many human rights organizations have documented this recent increase in Islamophobic events and hate crimes against Muslims [2] and Islamic organizations have done the same [3]. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a December 7, 2004 UN conference on the emergence of Islamophobia that "(when) the world is compelled to coin a new term to take account of increasingly widespread bigotry — that is a sad and troubling development. Such is the case with 'Islamophobia'." [4]

American journalist Stephen Schwartz has defined Islamophobia as the condemnation of the entirety of Islam and its history as extremist, denying the existence of a moderate Muslim majority, regarding Islam as a problem for the world, treating conflicts involving Muslims as necessarily their own fault, insisting that Muslims make changes to their religion, and inciting war against Islam as a whole.

Islamophobia: Muslim
organisations slam SA terror fears

Muslims in South Africa could wrongly be suspected of being involved in terrorism due to comments by intelligence officials that the country has become a haven for terrorists, Muslim organisations warned.

The Media Review Network and the Muslim Judicial Council said they were "deeply perturbed" at the remarks by Barry Gilder, the coordinator of the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee (Nicoc) [NICOC from South Africa; see links below -- Y.D.], in which he implied that South Africa was a "haven for terrorists".

Nicoc is an inter-agency body. "We are outraged by these accusations which lack evidence and have the potential to raise a cloud of suspicion over the entire Muslim community of South Africa," the organisations said in statement.


The Intelligence

National Intelligence
Coordinating Committee

Again from Islamophobia: Muslim organisations slam SA terror fears

Fear of harassment

They said such hints could unjustifiably set up Muslim organisations for scrutiny and harassment by law-enforcement agencies. Yesterday, Gilder said that agents were watching certain individuals and organisations, including foreign visitors, who might be involved in international terrorism.

"We are concerned that terrorists are spending time here... It is something we are taking very seriously," Gilder said.

He said South Africa was not a staging area for terrorism, but rather a place where those involved come to lay low and that the country was not likely to be a terrorist target.

Muslims integrity ‘blemished'

The organisations said such comments were liable to "fuel Islamophobia", especially because Gilder said most people on the watch list originated from Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh and Jordan.

The organisations called on government to refrain from "resorting to such wild allegations" which they said unfairly blemished the integrity of Muslims and their organisations.

President George W. Bush, Thursday, September 20, 2001:
"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

What I find interesting is the effect the President's statement has on domestic American politics. People who question any of the President's policies -- the Democrats, for example -- are "with the terrorists"; domestic disagreement is effectively pigeonholed.

"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

Bush presents himself and the terrorists as enemies, and anybody who isn't with him is with them.

That's a convenient rule to be able to make when you have friends who are making one hell of killing by doing business with corrupt regimes that traffic narcotics and sponsor terrorism.

Sibel Edmonds on 60 Minutes

Originally posted at Letters from Senators; this has received minor editting.

Here is the complete transcript [I editted out small parts not related to Sibel Edmonds' story -- Y.D.] of the CBS 60 Minutes story from Sunday evening, Oct. 27, 2002:

Copyright 2002 Burrelle's Information Services
CBS News Transcripts
SHOW: 60 Minutes (7:00 PM ET) - CBS
October 27, 2002
TYPE: Leads LENGTH: 384 words
HEADLINE: 60 Minutes


CO-HOSTS: Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Ed Bradley, Steve Kroft, Lesley Stahl


(Footage of Sibel Edmonds sitting at desk; Edmonds walking with
Ed Bradley; Senator Charles Grassley and Bradley)

ED BRADLEY: (Voiceover) She lost her job at the FBI when she charged that people she worked with were more interested in budget concerns than in capturing terrorists. Before telling us the details, she told them to, among others, Senator Charles Grassley, who sits on the Judiciary Committee that oversees the FBI.

Did she seem credible to you? Did her story seem credible? Senator CHARLES GRASSLEY (Republican, Iowa): Absolutely, she's credible. And the reason I feel she's very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story.

(Footage of Edmonds)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) And her story is our lead story tonight.

[ ...]

WALLACE: I'm Mike Wallace.

MORLEY SAFER: I'm Morley Safer.

BRADLEY: I'm Ed Bradley.

STEVE KROFT: I'm Steve Kroft.

STAHL: I'm Lesley Stahl. Those stories and Andy Rooney, tonight on 60 MINUTES.


Copyright 2002 Burrelle's Information Services

CBS News Transcripts

SHOW: 60 Minutes (7:00 PM ET) - CBS

October 27, 2002 Sunday

TYPE: Profile

LENGTH: 2328 words

HEADLINE: Lost in translation; former FBI translator accuses bureau of intentionally not doing its work in translating documents





Lost in Translation is the story of hundreds, if not thousands, of foreign language documents that the FBI neglected to translate before and after September 11th because of problems in its language department, documents that detailed what the FBI heard on wiretaps and learned during interrogations of suspected terrorists. Sibel Edmonds, a translator who worked at the FBI's language division, says the documents weren't translated because the division is riddled with incompetence and corruption. Edmonds was fired after reporting her concerns to FBI officials. She recently told her story behind closed doors to investigators in Congress and to the Justice Department. Tonight she tells her story to us.

(Footage of Edmonds and Bradley; FBI agents carrying boxes out of house; Edmonds and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Because she is fluent in Turkish and other Middle Eastern languages, Edmonds, a 32-year-old Turkish-American, was hired by the FBI soon after September 11th and given top-secret security clearance to translate some of the reams of documents seized by FBI agents who, for the past year, have been rounding up suspected terrorists across the United States and abroad.

Ms. SIBEL EDMONDS: The first two months after the September 11 event, we--the agents out there in--in--in New York, LA, other field offices, they were working around the clock. And I would receive calls from these people saying, 'Would you please prioritize this and--and translate it?'

(Footage of Edmonds sitting at desk; Edmonds and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) But Edmonds says that to her amazement, from the day she started the job, she was told repeatedly by one of her supervisors that there was no urgency; that she should take longer to translate documents so that the department would appear overworked and understaffed. That way, it would receive a larger budget for the next year.

Ms. EDMONDS: We were told by our supervisors that this was the great opportunity for asking for increased budget and asking for more translators. And in order to do that, don't do the work and let the documents pile up so we can show it and say that we need more translators and expand the department.

BRADLEY: So you--you have FBI agents who are in the field relying on your translation work in order to move their cases forward, and your supervisor is saying, 'Slow down. Let the cases pile up'?

Ms. EDMONDS: Correct.

BRADLEY: I mean, how is it possible that the focus wasn't on terrorism, particularly after 9/11?

Ms. EDMONDS: It was not. At least in that department, it was not.

(Footage of Bradley and Edmonds)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Edmonds says that the supervisor, in an effort to slow her down, went so far as to erase completed translations from her FBI computer after she'd left work for the day.

Ms. EDMONDS: The next day, I would come to work, turn on my computer and the work would be gone. The translation would be gone. Then I had to start all over again and retranslate the same document. And I went to my supervisor and he said, 'Consider it a lesson and don't talk about it to anybody else and don't mention it.'

BRADLEY: What's the lesson?

Ms. EDMONDS: The lesson was don't work, don't do the translations. Go out and spend two hours lunch breaks, you know. Go and--don't go and get coffee downstairs. Go eight blocks away. Just chat with your friends. But don't do the work because--and this is our chance to increase the number of people here in this department.

(Footage of Edmonds sitting at desk; Grassley speaking at podium; Grassley and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Sibel Edmonds put her concerns about the FBI's language department in writing to her immediate superiors and to a top official at the FBI. Edmonds says for months, she got no response. She then turned for help to the Justice Department's inspector general, which is investigating her claims, and to Senator Charles Grassley because his committee, the Judiciary Committee, has direct oversight of the FBI.

Did she seem credible to you? Did her story seem credible?

Senator CHARLES GRASSLEY (Republican, Iowa): Absolutely, she's credible. And the reason I feel she's very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story.

(Footage of woman working at computer; Kevin Taskasen speaking with woman; prisoners at Guantanamo Bay; Taskasen; Edmonds and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) The FBI has conceded that some people in the language department are unable to adequately speak English or the language they're supposed to be translating. Kevin Taskasen was assigned to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to translate interrogations of Turkish-speaking al-Qaida members who had been captured
after September 11th. The FBI admits that he was not fully qualified to do the job.

Ms. EDMONDS: He neither passed the English nor the Turkish side of this language proficiency test.

BRADLEY: So that means if, for example, you had a--a terrorist detained at--at Guantanamo who had information about an attack being planned in the future against the United States, that person would not have been in a position to translate that?

Ms. EDMONDS: Correct. He wouldn't.

BRADLEY: I mean, that's hard to imagine.

Ms. EDMONDS: But that's the case.

(Footage of exterior of J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building; recovery effort at World Trade Center bombing in 1993; exterior of FBI Building; recovery effort at World Trade Center bombing in 2001; GAO documents on foreign languages; Grassley and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Critical shortages of experienced Middle Eastern language translators have plagued the FBI and the rest of the US intelligence community for years. Months before the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, one of the plotters of the attack was heard on tape having a discussion in Arabic that no one at the time knew was about how to make explosives, and he had a manual that no one at the time knew was about how to blow up buildings. None of it was translated until well after the bombing, and while the FBI has hired more translators since then, officials concede that problems in the language division have hampered the country's efforts to battle terrorism, and according to congressional investigators, may have played a role in the inability to prevent the September 11th attacks. Earlier this year, the General Accounting Office reported that the FBI had expressed concern over the thousands of hours of audiotapes and pages of written material that have not been reviewed or translated because of a lack of qualified linguists.

Sen. GRASSLEY: If--If they got word today that within--in a little while, the Hoover Dam was going to be blown up, and it takes a week or two to get it translated, as was one of the problems in this department, you know, you couldn't intervene to prevent that from happening.

BRADLEY: So you think that this place does need an overhaul essentially?

Sen. GRASSLEY: It needs to be turned upside down.

(Footage of exterior of FBI Building; FBI agent; foreign flags; Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) In its rush to hire more foreign language translators after September 11th, the FBI admits it has had difficulty performing background checks to detect translators who may have loyalties to other governments, which could pose a threat to US national security.

Take the case of Jan Dickerson, a Turkish translator who worked with Sibel Edmonds. The FBI has admitted that when Dickerson was hired last November, the bureau didn't know that she had worked for a Turkish organization being investigated by the FBI's own counterintelligence unit, and they didn't know...

(Footage of Turkish Embassy; Edmonds and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) ...she'd had a relationship with a Turkish intelligence officer stationed in Washington who was the target of that investigation. According to Sibel Edmonds, Jan Dickerson tried to recruit her into that organization, and insisted that Dickerson be the only one to translate the FBI's wiretaps of that Turkish official.

What was her reaction when you didn't go along with--with her plan?

Ms. EDMONDS: She got very angry, and later she threatened me and my family's life.

BRADLEY: Threatened you?

Ms. EDMONDS: Correct.

BRADLEY: Did--did you take her threat seriously?

Ms. EDMONDS: Oh, yes. She said, 'Why would you want to place your life and your family's life in danger by translating these tapes?'

(Footage of Edmonds working at desk; State Department building; aerial view of the Pentagon; Edmonds and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Edmonds says that when she reviewed Dickerson's translations of those tapes, she found that Dickerson had left out information crucial to the FBI's investigation; information that Edmonds says would have revealed that the Turkish intelligence officer had spies working for him inside the US State Department and at the Pentagon.

Ms. EDMONDS: We came across at least 17, 18 translations, communications that were extremely important for--for the ongoing investigations of these indivi--individuals.

BRADLEY: And she had not translated these--these--this information?

Ms. EDMONDS: No, she had marked it as 'not important to be translated.'

BRADLEY: Specifically, what kind of information did she leave out of her translation?

Ms. EDMONDS: Activities to obtain the United States military and intelligence secrets.

(Edmonds working; Edmonds and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Edmonds says she complained repeatedly to her bosses about what she'd found on the wiretaps and about Jan Dickerson's conduct, but that nobody at the FBI wanted to hear about it. She says not even the assistant special agent in charge.

Ms. EDMONDS: He said, 'Do you realize what you are saying here in your allegations? Are you telling me that our security people are not doing their jobs? Is that what you're telling me? If you insist on this investigation, I'll make sure in no time it will turn around and become an investigation about you.' These were his exact words.

(Footage of FBI letter to Edmonds; Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Sibel Edmonds was fired this past March. The FBI offered no explanation, saying in the letter only that her contract was terminated completely for the government's convenience.

But three months later, the FBI conceded that on at least two occasions, Jan Dickerson had, in fact, left out significant information from her translations. They say it was due to a lack of experience and was not malicious.

(Footage of exterior of home; Chicago Tribune article; Grassley and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Dickerson recently quit the FBI and now lives in Belgium. She declined to be interviewed, but two months ago, she told the Chicago Tribune that the allegations against her are preposterous and ludicrous. Senator Charles Grassley says he's disturbed by what the Dickerson incident says about internal security at the FBI.

Sen. GRASSLEY: You shouldn't have somebody in your organization that's compromising our national security by not doing the job right, whether it's a lack of skills or whether it's intentional.

BRADLEY: Based on your experience, does the Sibel Edmonds case fall into any pattern of behavior, pattern of conduct on--on the part of the FBI?

Sen. GRASSLEY: The usual pattern. Let me tell you, first of all, the embarrassing information comes out, the FBI reaction is to sweep it under the rug, and then eventually they shoot the messenger.

(Footage of John Roberts leaving building; Roberts and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Special agent John Roberts, a chief of the FBI's Internal Affairs Department, agrees. And while he is not permitted to discuss the Sibel Edmonds case, for the last 10 years, he has been investigating misconduct by FBI employees and says he is outraged by how little is ever done about it.

Mr. JOHN ROBERTS: I don't know of another person in the FBI who has done the internal investigations that I have and has seen what I have and that knows what has occurred and what has been glossed over and what has, frankly, just disappeared, just vaporized, and no one disciplined for it.

(Footage of Robert Mueller speaking at podium; Roberts; Edmonds working; Roberts and Bradley)

BRADLEY: (Voiceover) Despite a pledge from FBI director Robert Mueller to overhaul the culture of the FBI in light of 9/11, and encourage bureau employees to come forward to report wrongdoing, Roberts says that in the rare instances when employees are disciplined, it's usually low-level employees like Sibel Edmonds who get punished and not their bosses.

Mr. ROBERTS: I think the double standard of discipline will continue no matter who comes in, no matter who tries to change. You--you have a certain--certain group that--that will continue to protect itself. That's just how it is.

BRADLEY: No matter what happens?

Mr. ROBERTS: I would say no matter what happens.

BRADLEY: Have you found cases since 9/11 where people were involved in misconduct and were not, let alone reprimanded, but were even promoted?

Mr. ROBERTS: Oh, yes. Absolutely.

BRADLEY: That's astonishing.


BRADLEY: Because you--you would think that after 9/11, that's a big slap on the face. 'Hello! This is a wake-up call here.'

Mr. ROBERTS: Depends on who you are. If you're in the senior executive level, it may not hurt you. You will be promoted.

BRADLEY: In fact, the supervisor who Sibel Edmonds says told her to slow down her translations was recently promoted. Edmonds has filed a whistle-blower suit to get her job back, but last week, US Attorney General Ashcroft asked the court to dismiss it on grounds it would compromise national security. And also on the grounds of national security, the FBI declined to discuss the specifics of her charges, but it says it takes all such charges seriously and investigates them.


LOAD-DATE: October 28, 2002


Letters from Senators

Originally posted at Letters from Senators; this has received minor editting.

As you learn about Sibel Edmonds' case, many of the strangest things jump out at you. Among those is the fact that much of the information regarding her case was retroactively classified. In other words, it was out there for the public, then the government stepped in and decided it should be classified.

Other things include the fact that Sibel Edmonds is not allowed to testify; she has a gag order placed on her. The gag order references something called "state secrets privelege". In one bizarre episode, she and her attorney were required to leave a courtroom while a judge talked to attorneys for the U.S. Government. Ms. Edmonds and her attorney were allowed back in, and informed that the judge had ruled in favor of the Government.

Basically, what this amounts to is somebody is trying to sweep something under the rug.

That something is very big.

Consequently, the rug doesn't cover it all that well.

So, when the rug is pulled a little one way to cover one thing up better, something else is uncovered somewhere else.

From Classified Letters Regarding FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds:

19 June 2002 Letter from Sens. Leahy and Grassley to DOJ Inspector General Fine

June 19, 2002

The Honorable Glenn A. Fine
Inspector General
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Mr. Fine:

The Senate Judiciary Committee has received unclassified information from the FBI regarding allegations made by Ms. Sibel D. Edmonds, a former FBI contract linguist, that your office is currently investigating. We request that, as this investigation progresses, you consider the following questions on this matter:

(1) Ms. Edmonds has alleged, and the FBI has confirmed, that the FBI assigned a contract language "monitor" to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, contrary to clear FBI policy that only more qualified "linguists" be assigned to Guantanamo Bay. What circumstances led to the contract language monitor being considered qualified for this assignment, and what were the consequences, if any, for the effectiveness of the interrogation of those being detained at Guantanamo?

(2) Ms. Edmonds has alleged, and the FBI has confirmed, that another contract linguist in the FBI unit to which Ms. Edmonds was assigned failed to translate at least two communications reflecting a foreign official's handling of intelligence matters. The FBI has confirmed that the contract linguist had "unreported contacts" with that foreign official. To what extent did that contract linguist have any additional unreported or reported contacts with that foreign official? What counterintelligence inquiries or assessments, if any, were made with respect to those contacts? Do you plan to interview field office and headquarters counterintelligence personnel regarding this matter?

(3) The FBI has said that, to review the other contract linguist's work that Ms. Edmonds questioned, it used three linguists in its language division, a supervisory special agent, and special agents who worked on the case that generated the communications under review. Was this a "blind" review by the linguists, or did they know the person whose work was under review? Were the linguists sufficiently independent to make objective judgments about the translations in question? Would it have been appropriate to use linguists from outside the FBI?

(4) The FBI has said a determination was made by the supervisory special agent that the contract linguist whose work was reviewed made a mistake and that the matter was a training issue. Did this agent's position affect his ability to render an objective judgment? What input did the other special agents provide? Did their involvement in the case that generated the communications affect their ability to make an objective judgement about a person with whom they had worked on the case? Would it have been better to ask other counterintelligence agents to assess the importance of the untranslated information and the reason it was not translated?

(5) To what extent is the credibility of witnesses regarding Ms. Edmonds' allegations affected by their continuing employment in the same translation unit and under the same supervisor where the contract linguist discussed in question (2) is employed.

(6) The FBI has said that Ms. Edmonds prepared two classified documents with respect to her allegations on her home computer without authorization and that one witness reported Ms. Edmunds discussed classified information regarding her allegations in the presence of three uncleared members of her family without authorization. Would these actions disqualify her from a security clearance, given the circumstances of her concern about a foreign attempt to penetrate or influence FBI operations at her workplace?

(7) What guidance is provided to FBI contract linguists as to the steps they should take if they are concerned about a possible foreign attempt to penetrate or influence FBI operations? How well is this guidance understood by contract linguists in the FBI translation centers and other FBI personnel who would handle such matters?

(8) What improvements, if any, are needed to encourage FBI contract linguists and other FBI contract personnel to come forward with such counterintelligence concerns and to ensure that they are not adversely affected as a result of seeking to assist FBI counterintelligence efforts? Was Ms. Edmunds' case handled in a manner that would encourage such reporting in the future?

Please let us know the timetable for your investigation and advise us of the results.


Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary

United States

13 Aug 2002 Letter from Sens. Leahy and Grassley to Attorney General Ashcroft

August 13, 2002

Hon. John Ashcroft
Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear General Ashcroft:

We are writing jointly in order that you might allay our concern about the status of the investigation into allegations made by Sibel Edmonds, a former contract linguist in the Washington Field Office of the FBI. Although we understand that the matter is currently under investigation by the Inspector General, we are troubled that the Department of Justice, including the FBI, may not be acting quickly enough to address the issues raised by Ms. Edmonds' complaints or cooperating fully with the Inspector General's office.

By way of background, Ms. Edmonds first raised concerns about security problems and the integrity of important translations earlier this year. Unfortunately, nearly every person at the FBI who was notified of the situation reacted by questioning why Ms. Edmonds was "causing trouble." Indeed, the FBI's first internal security action in this case focused on Ms. Edmonds, instead of the allegations that she raised in good faith as a whistleblower and which bore on national security and the war against terrorism.

Ms. Edmonds has made a number of serious allegations, some of which the FBI verified during an unclassified briefing for Judiciary Committee staff on June 17. First, Ms. Edmonds has alleged that a contract monitor in her unit ("monitor") chose not to translate important, intelligence-related information, instead limiting her translation to unimportant and innocuous information. The FBI has verified that this monitor indeed failed to translate intelligence-related information, but has attributed the failure to a lack of training as opposed to a malicious act.

That conclusion is directly related to Ms. Edmond's second allegation. Ms. Edmonds alleged that the same contract monitor once worked for an organization associated with the target of a counter-intelligence investigation and that the monitor had unreported contacts with a foreign national who was a member of the target institution. Additionally, Ms. Edmonds states that some of the mistranslated recordings on which the monitor actually worked contained conversations by this same foreign national with whom the monitor had such contacts. Finally, the foreign national disclosed in recorded conversations that he handled intelligence matters. This fact was among the information that was not translated or summarized by the monitor.

Even after verifying these allegations, the FBI downplayed the importance of this matter and seemed to imply that it had ceased looking into the complaints as a security matter until after the Inspector General Office finishes its investigation. Anyone who remembers the long-time treachery of former FBI Agent Robert Hanssen would be concerned at this reaction. For years, Hanssen's bizarre actions were also written off as minor security breaches and unworthy of serious consideration. If even routine diligence had been exercised earlier, Hanssen could have been stopped from doing untold damage. The FBI needs to learn from its mistakes.

In addition to general concerns raised by this case, we have several specific concerns we wish to raise for your review. First, we have learned that a person central to the investigation -- the monitor referred to earlier -- will be leaving the country in early September, which most likely will be before the investigation is resolved. If you or your staff would like to know the identity of the monitor, please contact Inspector General Fine's office, with whom Senator Grassley's staff has been in touch. The monitor may hold dual citizenship with the United States and a foreign country and may possess a valid passport issued by that foreign country. Thus, there will be little or no assurance that the monitor will return or cooperate with an investigation in the future. Based on these facts, we would like your assurance that you are satisfied that there has been and will be no delay that will prejudice, in any way, the outcome of this investigation.

Furthermore, we would like your assurance that the Department of Justice, including the FBI, will fully cooperate in all aspects of the inquiry. For instance, we draw your attention to the fact that the FBI currently opposes depositions of the monitor and her husband as part of the investigation into this case. The FBI takes this position despite the fact that the monitor is no longer employed by the FBI, that the monitor's husband never worked at the FBI and even though the military agency that employs the monitor's husband does not oppose a deposition. Moreover, we understand that the monitor and her husband have signed a letter stating they will make themselves available for depositions. It is unclear, then, why the FBI is taking this position in the wake of such important allegations bearing on national security. We hope that you will ensure that the FBI is fully compliant with the Inspector General's inquiry as it proceeds.

Finally, we are concerned about the most crucial evidence in the case -- the recordings that were allegedly improperly translated. Because these bear directly on the veracity of Ms. Edmonds' allegations, we seek your assurance that the recordings will be properly maintained, turned over to the Inspector General's Office and promptly translated by a competent and independent authority. That way the validity of the complaint can be quickly evaluated.

We know that you share our concern that the FBI address issues bearing on national security in a prompt manner, regardless of whether or not they cast the FBI in a positive light. Only by honest evaluation can the FBI learn from its past mistakes. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter. We request a reply in writing by Wednesday, August 28, 2002.


Sen. Patrick J. Leahy

Sen. Chuck Grassley
Chairman, Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs

28 Oct 2002 Press Release and Letter from Sen. Grassley to FBI Director Mueller

For Immediate Release
Monday, October 28, 2002

Grassley Seeks Overhaul of FBI's Translation Unit
Iowa Senator Cites High Stakes in War on Terrorism

WASHINGTON — Sen. Chuck Grassley has asked the FBI Director to conduct a top-to-bottom review and to arrange an independent examination of the FBI's translation capabilities given the importance of accurate and timely translations to homeland security and the war on terrorism.

Grassley made his request following a story broadcast last night on CBS' 60 Minutes featuring the testimony of Sibel Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower who lost her job as a translator after raising questions about problems within the translation unit at FBI headquarters in Washington.

Grassley is the ranking member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs. He is an outspoken watchdog of the FBI, where he has pushed for numerous reforms since 1996. Here is a copy of Grassley's letter to Mueller.

October 28, 2002
The Honorable Robert Mueller
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535

Dear Director Mueller:

I am writing to you about my concern with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's translation capabilities.

I believe it would be prudent for you to arrange for an independent audit and general review of the FBI's translation units, particularly at the Washington Field Office.

A review team with members from the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, State Department and military branches should conduct a top-to-bottom examination of the FBI's translation units for performance issues such as timeliness, efficiency, accuracy and management.

I make this request for several reasons.

First, the FBI's translation capabilities are crucial to the war on terrorism, particularly preventing attacks. Translations provide essential intelligence to agents investigating suspected terrorists.

Second, numerous reports have documented problems with the FBI's translation capabilities. These reports, by organizations such as the General Accounting Office and the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, highlight shortages in qualified and proficient translators.

Third, I am not entirely confident in information that FBI officials have provided to the Judiciary Committee to the effect that translation issues are no longer a problem. At a June 17, 2002 briefing regarding the case of Sibel Edmonds, FBI officials stated that the bureau was nearly finished with translating existing documents. Am I to believe that the FBI has translated all existing foreign language documents and conducted analysis of the information?

I am also concerned about how long it takes to translate documents and recordings. The FBI in most cases does not know what it's listening to and thus cannot prioritize the translation. So if agents have a recording of terrorists planning an impending attack, the translation may come too late.

I understand that Ms. Edmonds' case remains under investigation by the Justice Department Inspector General. Regardless of that specific case, however, it is clear not only from her information but from other government agencies that the FBI's translation capabilities need improvement.

Translation capabilities depend on more than just sheer numbers. Operating rules, guidelines and protocols for translation practices and accuracy are just as important, if not more so, for the FBI to conduct a successful war on terrorism and to protect the nation from future attacks.

I would appreciate a reply with a statement of your intentions to this regard by Monday, November 25, 2002. Thank you.

Chuck Grassley
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs

[The original post had the 60 Minutes transcript; here, that is in a second post.]

Falling Down

Originally posted at Falling Down

Information from previous posts:

Something Heavy Going Down, Part I

Frank Dimartini, on-site construction manager for the World Trade Center:

"The building was designed to have a fully loaded 707 crash into it. That was the largest plane at the time. I believe that the building probably could sustain multiple impacts of jetliners because this structure is like the mosquito netting on your screen door -- this intense grid -- and the jet plane is just a pencil puncturing that screen netting. It really does nothing to the screen netting."

Other quotes at were from an article about the February, 1993, bombing of the World Trade Center in which the WTC's head structural engineer, John Skilling, was interviewed, Twin Towers Engineered To Withstand Jet Collision; this quote includes some material from that article, which was not in my previous Stop Islamic Conquest posting:

"We looked at every possible thing we could think of that could happen to the buildings, even to the extent of an airplane hitting the side," said John Skilling, head structural engineer. "However, back in those days people didn't think about terrorists very much."

Skilling, based in Seattle, is among the world's top structural engineers. He is responsible for much of Seattle's downtown skyline and for several of the world's tallest structures, including the Trade Center.

Concerned because of a case where an airplane hit the Empire State Building, Skilling's people did an analysis that showed the towers would withstand the impact of a Boeing 707.

"Our analysis indicated the biggest problem would be the fact that all the fuel (from the airplane) would dump into the building. There would be a horrendous fire. A lot of people would be killed," he said. "The building structure would still be there."

Skilling - a recognized expert in tall buildings - doesn't think a single 200-pound car bomb would topple or do major structural damage to a Trade Center tower. The supporting columns are closely spaced and even if several were disabled, the others would carry the load.

"However," he added, "I'm not saying that properly applied explosives - shaped explosives - of that magnitude could not do a tremendous amount of damage."

[ ... ]

Although Skilling is not an explosives expert, he says there are people who do know enough about building demolition to bring a structure like the Trade Center down.

"I would imagine that if you took the top expert in that type of work and gave him the assignment of bringing these buildings down with explosives, I would bet that
he could do it."

It is in this context that the following comments from emergency personnel who responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 are interesting. Note the ranks and titles of the personnel being quoted. (I originally posted this at Something Heavy Going Down, Part II; see that posting for further references.)

Battalion Chief Brian Dixon

it actually looked -- the lowest floor of fire in the south tower actually looked like someone had planted explosives around it because the whole bottom I could see -- I could see two sides of it and the other side -- it just looked like that floor blew out.

Firefighter Christopher Fenyo

At that point a debate began to rage because the perception was that the building looked like it had been taken out with charges.

Battalion Chief Dominick DeRubbio

It was weird how it started to come down. It looked like it was a timed explosion

Paramedic Daniel Rivera

At first thought it was -- do you ever see professional demolition where they set the charges on certain floors and then you hear "Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop"? That's exactly what -- because I thought it was that.

Firefighter Edward Cachia

It actually gave at a lower floor, not the floor where the plane hit, because we originally had thought there was like an internal detonation explosives because it went in succession, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then the tower came down.

Chief Frank Cruthers

there was what appeared to be at first an explosion. It appeared at the very top, simultaneously from all four sides, materials shot out horizontally. And then there seemed to be a momentary delay before you could see the beginning of the collapse.

Firefighter James Curran

everything was getting blown out of the floors before it actually collapsed

Captain Karin Deshore

Somewhere around the middle of the World Trade Center, there was this orange and red flash coming out. Initially it was just one flash. Then this flash just kept popping all the way around the building and that building had started to explode. The popping sound, and with each popping sound it was initially an orange and then a red flash came out of the building and then it would just go all around the building on both sides as far as I could see. These popping sounds and the explosions were getting bigger, going both up and down and then all around the building.

Firefighter Kenneth Rogers

One floor under another after another and when it hit about the fifth floor, I figured it was a bomb, because it looked like a synchronized deliberate kind of thing. I was there in '93.

Firefighter Richard Banaciski

It seemed like on television they blow up these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt, all these explosions.

Assistant Commissioner Stephen Gregory

You know like when they demolish a building, how when they blow up a building, when it falls down? That's what I thought I saw.

Deputy Commissioner Thomas Fitzpatrick

My initial reaction was that this was exactly the way it looks when they show you those implosions on TV.

It seems that after their first failed attempt to bring down the Twin Towers in 1993, the terrorists did their homework. From a Letter to Thomas Kean from Sibel Edmonds, Aug 5, 2004:

In October 2001, approximately one month after the September 11 attack, an agent from a [city name omitted] field office, re-sent a certain document to the FBI Washington Field Office, so that it could be re-translated. This special agent, in light of the [September 11] terrorist attacks, rightfully believed that, considering his target of investigation (the suspect under surveillance), and the issues involved, the original translation might have missed certain information that could prove to be valuable in the investigation of terrorist activities. After this document was received by the FBI Washington Field Office and re-translated verbatim, the field agent's hunch appeared to be correct. The new translation revealed certain information regarding blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas.

The terrorists acquired the blueprints and other information from some of our skyscrapers, presumably including those of the Twin Towers. They had read the 1993 news reports about their own failed attack. For their next attempt, they knew what they had to do and what it would take to bring the buildings down, and, in particular, they knew that crashing planes into the buildings wouldn't do the trick by itself.

Here, again, are the words of Frank Dimartini, on-site construction manager for the World Trade Center:

"The building was designed to have a fully loaded 707 crash into it. That was the largest plane at the time. I believe that the building probably could sustain multiple impacts of jetliners because this structure is like the mosquito netting on your screen door -- this intense grid -- and the jet plane is just a pencil puncturing that screen netting. It really does nothing to the screen netting."

The terrorists needed something else; just what could be found in the comments of the WTC's head structural engineer, John Skilling:

"However," he added, "I'm not saying that properly applied explosives - shaped explosives - of that magnitude could not do a tremendous amount of damage."

[ ... ]

Although Skilling is not an explosives expert, he says there are people who do know enough about building demolition to bring a structure like the Trade Center down.

"I would imagine that if you took the top expert in that type of work and gave him the assignment of bringing these buildings down with explosives, I would bet that
he could do it."

The terrorists needed the right explosives placed the right way in the right places to destroy those buildings. But, still, why not just blow the Twin Towers up? Why implode them, minimizing damage to the surrounding buildings? Wouldn't their terrorist act be more terr-ific if they maximized collateral damage? And, while many of the terrorists are highly-trained, highly-motivated, highly-experienced Mujahideen, who among them knows how to implode a building -- especially one that size?

The hijackings were a terr-ific diversion, intended to terrorize, intended to distract everyone from a crime that was more important to Bin Laden & Co., and intended to cover that crime up. The actual destruction of the buildings, however, was outsourced to consultants and contractors. It was during the outsourcing that the plan to profit by and during the attacks was perfected. And, the demands of the terrorists' partners in crime had to include minimizing collateral damage to surrounding structures, structures that perhaps contained things valuable to those with whom the terrorists were doing business.