January 22, 2004

Whistleblower Coming In Cold From the FBI. Sibel Edmonds was a translator with the FBI's counterterrorism squad. "In papers filed with the FBI's internal investigative office, the Department of Justice, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and most recently with the 9/11 Commission, [Edmonds] has reported serious ongoing failures in the language division of the FBI Washington Field Office. They include security lapses in hiring and monitoring of translators, investigations that have been compromised by incorrect or misleading translations sent to field agents; and thousands of pages of translations falsely labeled "not pertinent" by Middle Eastern linguists who were either not qualified in the target language or English, or, worse, protecting targets of investigation. Nothing happened. Undaunted, Ms. Edmonds took her concerns to upper management. Soon afterward she was fired. The only cause given was "for the convenience of the government." The FBI has not refuted any of Ms. Edmonds' allegations, yet they have accounted for none of them." ... Edmonds suspects a Turkish spy ring has inflitrated the translation department of the FBI, US State Department and the Pentagon (and there is some connection to 9/11), yet no one seems to care. A Democratic member of the 9/11 Commission brushed Edmonds's concerns aside, saying it seemed "too deep in the weeds for us to consider."

CBS reported on Edmonds last July: "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. ... 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. 'The next day I would come to work, turn on my computer and the work would be gone. The translation would be gone,' she says. '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.'"

Joe Conason: "What's Bush Hiding From 9/11 Commission?" ... "CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war ... starkly contradicting the upbeat assessment that President Bush gave in his State of the Union address." ... I thought Howard Dean's Iowa speech more rousing than scary and am flabbergasted at the coverage it's getting, but I did find this funny. Also: Dean, The Remix. ... Is Wesley Clark electable? Of course, but shouldn't this disqualify him?

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