EDITOR & PUBLISHER: “For the second time in two weeks, the entire U.S. press has let itself be scooped by Rupert Murdoch’s London Sunday Times on a dynamite story of criminal activities by corrupt U.S. officials promoting nuclear proliferation,” declares Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers some 35 years ago. “But there is a worse journalistic sin than being scooped, and that is participating in a cover-up of information that demands urgent attention from the public, the U.S. Congress and the courts.”
So begins a column by Ellsberg at Brad Friedman’s “Brad Blog.” Edmonds is the former FBI staffer, who translated wiretaps for the bureau, and whistleblower. Ellsberg repeated the “cover-up” charge in a phone call to E&P today, raising the possibility that some in the media have been asked by the U.S. government to refrain from pursuing the story due to national security concerns. MORE
SUNDAY TIMES OF LONDON: THE FBI has been accused of covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt government officials and their dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets. The assertion follows allegations made in The Sunday Times two weeks ago by Sibel Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower, who worked on the agency’s investigation of the network.
Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office. She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
One of the documents relating to the case was marked 203A-WF-210023. Last week, however, the FBI responded to a freedom of information request for a file of exactly the same number by claiming that it did not exist. But The Sunday Times has obtained a document signed by an FBI official showing the existence of the file. Edmonds believes the crucial file is being deliberately covered up by the FBI because its contents are explosive. She accuses the agency of an “outright lie.” MORE
WHO IS SIBEL EDMONDS: Sibel Edmonds began working for the FBI shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, translating top-secret documents pertaining to suspected terrorists. She was fired in the spring of 2002 after reporting her concerns about sabotage, intimidation, corruption and incompetence to superiors. She first gained wide public attention in October of that year when she appeared on 60 Minutes on CBS and charged that the FBI, State Department, and Pentagon had been infiltrated by Turkish individuals suspected of ties to terrorism. On October 18, 2002, at the request of FBI Director Robert Mueller, Attorney General Ashcroft imposed a gag order on Ms. Edmonds, citing possible damage to diplomatic relations or national security. [via ANTIWAR.COM]
HARRY SHEARER: The theft of US nuclear secrets, the diverting of them to Pakistan (and, according to Edmonds, Saudi Arabia), the involvement of Israel in the scheme — all of these would justify as jaw-droppingly newsworthy in a rational journalistic universe. Clearly, that’s not where we live.
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[Illustration courtesy of TOM TOMORROW]