According to one headline, http://current.com/... it's
THE LARGEST POLITICAL ESPIONAGE BLACKMAIL & BRIBERY SCANDAL IN AMERICAN HISTORYThe Anomaly beat me to the punch on the ACM cover story in this recommended diary: http://www.dailykos.com/... But he or she focuses on aspects of the story that were already public. Here I'll provide context and highlight the new revelations from the ACM piece -- namely details on the nuclear allegations and the naming of a Democratic congresswoman targeted for blackmail. I'll also discuss impacts on the now-spotlighted congressional race in OH-02, which accounts for the breaking story.
(More below the fold.)
Leave your left-right preconceptions at the door. The expanding revelations from fired FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds are implicating Republican and Democratic members of Congress alike. Formerly stifled by a "state secrets" gag order from the Bush Department of Justice, Edmonds has earned the title of “the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America” -- and that by the ACLU.
Vanity Fair ran a ground-breaking interview in August. Then Edmonds testified in deposition for Democratic congressional candidate David Krikorian, in his epic legal battle with Pleistocene Republican Jean Schmidt. Now the American Conservative Magazine carries an interview with Edmonds in its October issue, just posted to the Net at: http://www.amconmag.com/...
If that makes you queasy at all, consider this: How the heck is perennial-paranoiac and shock-jock groupie Jean Schmidt going to get reelected when media outlets across the political spectrum are ballyhooing the true sensational allegations of your opponent's expert witness?
For background, please refer to the ACM link above, to my former diaries listed on my blogroll to the right, to DKOS diaries by Lukery, and to continuing coverage at http://www.bradblog.com You can click on the Sibel Edmonds tag below for convenience.
In a nutshell, Edmonds, as a Turkish and Farsi translator for the FBI, was privy to wiretap and other material from investigations of various members of Congress and other Administration officials under Clinton and GW Bush. These public figures were involved in perhaps the most egregious and long-ranging web of illegal influence peddling in American history. Behind the plot was the Turkish government, often acting as surrogate for its allies including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel and militant Islamic groups (i.e. Al Qaeda). Enough to please and piss off just about everyone. Turkish-American PACS and foundations acted as the go-betweens.
The list of names revealed by Edmonds so far, and reffered to as a "Rogue's Gallery," includes (composite sources):
Current and former Pentagon and State Department officials...Richard Perle was a central figure. According to Seymour Hersh, Perle had been caught as early as 1969 by a Nixon-Haldeman wiretap disclosing classified information to an Israeli embassy official. In the 1990s, according to Edmonds, he did the same to Turkish agents, including the provision of personal compromising information about key members of Congress. In 2001, Perle, a civilian, was named chairman of the Defense Policy Board, with broad powers to guide American foreign relations, in constant tension with the State Department.
* Richard Perle
* Douglas Feith
* Eric Edelman
* Marc Grossman
* Brent Scowcroft
* Larry Franklin
Current and former congressmen...
* Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Ex-House Speaker
* Roy Blount (R-MO)
* Dan Burton (R-IN)
* Tom Lantos (D-CA)
* Bob Livingston (R-LA), Ex-House Speaker
* Stephen Solarz (D-NY)
* Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
The 3rd group includes people who all appear to work at think tanks - primarily WINEP, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
* Graham E. Fuller - RAND
* David Makovsky - WINEP
* Alan Makovsky - WINEP
* Yusuf Turani (President-in-exile, East Turkestan)
* Professor Sabri Sayari (Georgetown, WINEP)
* Mehmet Eymur (Former Turkish Spy Chief MIT)
Some of the information pertained to American nuclear secrets from Department of Energy sites, passed to Middle Eastern scholars who had been "seeded" throughout the American nuclear establishment. According to Edmonds:
The seeding operation started before Marc Grossman arrived at the State Department. The Turkish agents had a network of Turkish professors in various universities with access to government information. Their top source was a Turkish-born professor of nuclear physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was useful because MIT would place a bunch of Ph.D. or graduate-level students in various nuclear facilities like Sandia or Los Alamos, and some of them were able to work for the Air Force. He would provide the list of Ph.D. students who should get these positions. In some cases, the Turkish military attaché would ask that certain students be placed in important positions. And they were not necessarily all Turkish, but the ones they selected had struck deals with the Turkish agents to provide information in return for money. If for some reason they had difficulty getting a secuity clearance, Grossman would ensure that the State Department would arrange to clear them.The personal information gleened was used by Turkish agents in blackmail, extortion, and influence-peddling schemes, to accomplish the interests of Turkey and its allies, including the combat of a Congressional resolution that would recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915. According to Edmonds in the ACM interview:
In exchange for the information that these students would provide, they would be paid $4,000 or $5,000. And the information that was sold to the two Saudis in Detroit went for something like $350,000 or $400,000.
We [the FBI] were looking at Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. They had a list of individuals in the Pentagon broken down by access to certain types of information. Some of them would be policy related, some of them would be weapons-technology related, some of them would be nuclear-related. Perle and Feith would provide the names of those Americans, officials in the Pentagon, to Grossman, together with highly sensitive personal information: this person is a closet gay; this person has a chronic gambling issue; this person is an alcoholic. The files on the American targets would contain things like the size of their mortgages or whether they were going through divorces. One Air Force major I remember was going through a really nasty divorce and a child custody fight. They detailed all different kinds of vulnerabilities.The "closet gay" is a reference to a previously unnamed Democratic congresswoman, identified to Turkish agents as bisexual. Speculation about the woman's identity had run rampant on the Internet, but now Edmonds has ended the mystery:
in 2000, another representative was added to the list, Jan Schakowsky, the Democratic congresswoman from Illinois. Turkish agents started gathering information on her, and they found out that she was bisexual. So a Turkish agent struck up a relationship with her. When Jan Schakowsky’s mother died, the Turkish woman went to the funeral, hoping to exploit her vulnerability. They later were intimate in Schakowsky’s townhouse, which had been set up with recording devices and hidden cameras. They needed Schakowsky and her husband Robert Creamer to perform certain illegal operational facilitations for them in Illinois. They already had Hastert, the mayor, and several other Illinois state senators involved. I don’t know if Congresswoman Schakowsky ever was actually blackmailed or did anything for the Turkish woman.I include this passage only because the information is now "out there." The various other names that had been bandied about deserve to be cleared of any potential implication.
Edmonds's firing from the FBI came early in the first G.W. Bush Admistration, after the various investigations were not resulting in any prosecutions, and Edmonds began to complain. After her firing she started to blow the whistle publicly, but then was hit by the DOJ gag order.
The muzzle was removed thanks to the OH-02 congresswoman, affectionately known to us constituents as Mean Jean Schmidt. Schmidt had become co-chair of the Turkish-American Congressional Caucus, and the darling of the Turkish lobby, after she entered Congress in 2005. Two Turkish-American fundraisers for Schmidt brought her $25,000 for her 2008 campaign. Schmidt isn't Turkish and there's no Turkish community in OH-02.
But she does have a site considered a "defense nuclear site" in her district, at Piketon. That site has been controlled by USEC Inc., a company that placed Richard Perle on its "Strategic Advisory Committee" in 2002. Schmidt proceeded to lead opposition to a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, after her election to Congress. Simultaneously, she supported a USEC-backed plan to turn the Piketon site into a massive storage dump for high-level nuclear waste.
Can you spell quid pro quo?
Smelling more than one rat, opponent David Krikorian, who happens to be Armenian (both grandparents were survivors of the 1915 genocide), wrote a letter to voters during the 2008 campaign, accusing Schmidt of "taking blood money" from the Turkish lobby and Turkish government. Schmidt then sued him for alleged "false statements" before the Ohio Elections Commission.
Jean, that was mistake number 537,821,042.
Krikorian hired Mark Geragos as his attorney and named Sibel Edmonds as the witness who would verify the truth of allegations made against the Turkish lobby. The OEC issued a subpoena to Edmonds in the case, and Edmonds announced her intention to honor the subpoena. The Obama Department of Justice did not actively intervene to enforce a gag order, so the deposition happened in August.
The Schmidt v. Krikorian case was heard before the OEC all day on Sptember 3, and will continue on October 1, on the 6th Floor of the Wyandotte Building on West Broad Street in Columbus. Edmonds should be there to testify. It looks to be the best political theater in Ohio since Governor Lucas sent the militia to invade Michigan.
Get there early for a seat. I'll be live-blogging the proceedings.
Ok, I confess that wasn't a nutshell. So sue me.
If the scandal revealed by Sibel Edmonds makes you so frickin mad, you feel you need to DO SOMETHING to save this republic, I have the answer. Go here: http://www.krikorian2010.com/ Join the Krikorian campaign and make a contribution.
The change we need is the change that's happening in southern Ohio.