A Sibel Edmonds Timeline: Can’t Afford to Let Them Spill the Beans

Counte rPunch
January 29, 2008
A Sibel Edmonds Timeline
"We Can’t Afford to Let Them Spill the Beans"


I am not one to easily embrace conspiracy theories, and in particular
have found the idea that 9-11 was somehow an inside job too incredible
for serious consideration. On the other hand, there are some very
fishy aspects to some officials’ behavior pertaining to the attacks.
Justin Raimondo has made a very good case for the fact that Mossad
agents posing as "Israeli art students" were tracking al-Qaeda
operatives in the U.S. before 9/11. Over 120 Israelis were detained
after 9/11, some failing polygraph tests when asked about their
involvement in intelligence gathering. But they were not held or
charged with any illegal activity but rather deported. As former FBI
translator and whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds has revealed, there was a
curious failure of the government before 9/11 to act upon intelligence
pertaining to an al-Qaeda attack. Most importantly Edmonds, defying
the gag order that former Attorney General Ashcroft imposed on her in
2002, is implicating Marc Grossman, formerly the number three man in
the State Department, in efforts to provide U.S. nuclear secrets to
Pakistan and Israel. She suggests this was done through Turkish
contacts and Pakistani contacts, including the former head of
Pakistan’s ISI who funneled funds to Mohamed Atta! Now there’s a
conspiracy for you.

Edmonds claims that during her time at the FBI (September 20, 2001 to
March 22, 2002) she discovered that intelligence material had been
deliberately allowed to accumulate without translation; that inept
translators were retained and promoted; and that evidence for traffic
in nuclear materials was ignored. More shockingly, she charges that
Grossman arranged for Turkish and Israeli Ph.D. students to acquire
security clearances to Los Alamos and other nuclear facilities; and
that nuclear secrets they acquired were transmitted to Pakistan and to
Abdul Qadeer Khan, the "father of the Islamic bomb," who in turn was
selling nuclear technology to Libya and other nations. She links
Grossman to the former Pakistani military intelligence chief Mahmoud
Ahmad, a patron of the Taliban who reportedly arranged for a payment
of $ 100,000 to 9/11 ringleader Atta via Pakistani terrorist Saeed
Sheikh before the attacks. She suggests that he warned Pakistani and
Turkish contacts against dealings with the Brewster Jennings Corp.,
the CIA front company that Valerie Plame was involved in as part of an
effort to infiltrate a nuclear smuggling ring. All very heady stuff,
published this month in the Times of London (and largely ignored by
the U.S. media).

She does not identify Grossman by name in the Times article, but she
has in the past, and former CIA officer Philip Giraldi does so in an
extremely interesting article in the American Conservative. From that
and many other sources, I come up with the timeline that appears
below. But first, some background on Grossman. A graduate of UC-Santa
Barbara and the London School of Economics, he was a career Foreign
Service officer from 1976 when he began to serve at the U.S. embassy
in Pakistan. He continued in that post to 1983, when he became the
Deputy Director of the Private Office of Lord Carrington, the
Secretary General of NATO. From 1989 to 1992 he was Deputy Chief of
Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey, and from 1994 to 1997, U.S.
Ambassador to Turkey. As ambassador he strongly supported massive arms
deals between the U.S. and Ankara.

Thereafter he was Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs,
responsible for over 4,000 State Department employees posted in 50
sites abroad with a program budget of $1.2 billion to 2000. In 1999 he
played a leading role in orchestrating NATO’s 50th anniversary Summit
in Washington, and helped direct U.S. participation in NATO’s military
campaign in Kosovo that same year. As Under Secretary of State for
Political Affairs from the beginning of George W. Bush’s
administration to January 2005, he played a bit role in the Plame
Affair, informing "Scooter" Libby of Plame’s CIA affiliation.

Grossman is close to the American Turkish Council (ATC) founded in
1994 as a sister organization to the American Israel Political Action
Committee (AIPAC). Its founders include neoconservatives involved in
the Israel-Turkey relationship, including Richard Perle and Douglas
Feith, as well as Henry Kissinger, Brent Snowcroft and former
congressman Stephen Solarz. (Perle and Feith had earlier been
registered lobbyists for Turkey through Feith’s company, International
Advisors Inc. Parle was at one point making $ 600,000 per year from
such activity). Edmonds says this is "an association in name and in
charter only, the reality is that it and other affiliated associations
are the U.S. government, lobbyists, foreign agents, and Military
Industrial Complex." (M. Christine Vick of Grossman’s Cohen Group
serves on the Board of Advisors.) Grossman is also close to the
American Turkish Association (ATA), and regularly speaks at its

The both ATA and ATC have been targets of FBI investigations because
of their suspected ties with drug smuggling, but Edmonds claims she
heard wiretaps connecting ATC with other illegal activities, some
related to 9/11. The CIA has investigated it in connection with the
smuggling of nuclear secrets and material. Valerie Plame and the CIA
front group Brewster Jennings were monitoring it when Bush
administration officials leaked her identity in July 2003. Edmonds,
Giraldi, and researchers Christopher Deliso and Luke Ryland accuse him
of suspiciously enriching himself while in government service.
Nevertheless he was awarded the Foreign Service’s highest rank when
President Bush appointed him to the rank of Career Ambassador in 2004,
and received Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award the
following year.

A dual Israeli-American national, Grossman has promoted the neocon
agenda of forcing "regime change" in the Middle East. "[T]he time has
come now," he declared on the eve of the Iraq invasion, "to make a
stand against this kind of connection between weapons of mass
destruction and terrorism. And we think Iraq is a place to make that
stand first the great threat today is the nexus between weapons of
mass destruction and terrorism." But he has not been as conspicuous a
war advocate Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Libby, Bolton, and some others.
(Perle and Feith, one should note, were also deeply involved in
lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey as well as Israel in the late
1980s and early 1990s. Edelman was ambassador to Turkey 2003-05 where,
chagrined by the Turkish failure to enthusiastically support the U.S.
occupation of Iraq, he deeply offended his hosts.) Grossman seems less
an ideologue driven to make the world safer for Israel than a corrupt,
amoral, self-aggrandizing opportunist. Anyway, here is an incomplete
chronology of his alleged wrongdoing, along with other relevant


As newly appointed Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs,
Grossman assists Turkish, Israeli and other moles—mainly Ph.D.
students—godfathering visa and arranging for security clearances to
work in sensitive research facilities, including the Los Alamos
nuclear laboratory in New Mexico. FBI taps his phone 2001-2, finds he
is receiving bribes (one for $15,000). Edmonds states: "I heard at
least three transactions like this over a period of 212 years. There
are almost certainly more."

Between Aug. and Sept: Grossman warns his Turkish associates seeking
to acquire nuclear secrets that Brewster Jennings (for whom CIA agent
Valerie Plame works) is a CIA front.

Sept. 4: Gen. <; Mahmoud
Ahmad, the chief of Pakistan’s intelligence service (ISI) arrives in
U.S., meets with Grossman and other U.S. officials.

Sept. 10: Report by Amir Mateen in Pakistani newspaper Dawn (Karachi):
"[Ahmad] also held long parleys with unspecified officials at the
White House and the Pentagon. But the most important meeting was with
Mark Grossman, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. US
sources would not furnish any details beyond saying that the two
discussed ‘matters of mutual interests.’"

Sept. 11: Gen. Ahmad is having breakfast in Washington with
Congressman Porter Goss (R-Fla.) and Senator Bob Graham (D) when
attacks occur.

(Goss had had10 years in clandestine operations in CIA and later-Sept.
22, 2003-May 5, 2006—heads the organization. Graham and Goss later
are the co-chairs of the joint House-Senate investigation that
proclaimed there was "no smoking gun" as far as President George W.
Bush having any advance knowledge of September 11.)

Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, FBI arrests people suspected of
being involved with the attacks–including four Turkish and Pakistani
associates of key targets of FBI’s counterintelligence operations.
Sibel heard the targets tell Grossman: "We need to get them out of the
U.S. because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans." Grossman
facilitates their release from jail and suspects immediately leave
U.S. without further investigation or interrogation.

Sept. 12-13: Meetings between Ahmad and Deputy Secretary of State
Richard Armitage. Armitage threatens to bomb Pakistan "back to the
Stone Age" unless it cooperates in U.S. attack on Afghanistan. Ahmad
also meets Secretary of State Colin Powell. Agreement on Pakistan’s
collaboration is secured.

Sept. 20: Sibel Edmonds, a 32-year-old Turkish-American, hired as a
translator by the FBI.

According to Edmonds, she overheard an agent on a 2000 wiretap
discussing with Saudi businessmen in Detroit "nuclear information that
had been stolen from an air force base in Alabama," and stating: "We
have a package and we’re going to sell it for $250,000." She also
claims she listened to recordings of a high official (Grossman)
receiving bribes from Turkish officials.

Early October: Indian intelligence reports that Gen. Ahmad had in
summer of 2001 ordered Saeed Sheikh (convicted of the kidnapping and
killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl) to wire
US$100,000 from Dubai to one of hijacker Mohamed Atta’s two bank
accounts in Florida. FBI confirms story, reported on ABC news.

Oct. 7: U.S.-led Coalition begins air strikes against Taliban.

Oct. 8: Gen. Ahmad, Taliban supporter and an opponent of the U.S.
invasion of Afghanistan, forced to retire from his post as
director-general of ISI.

Late Oct.: Pakistani government arrests three Pakistani nuclear
scientists, all with close ties to Khan, for their suspected
connections with the Taliban.


Early March: Edmonds sends faxes to Sens. Chuck Grassley and Patrick
Leahy on the Judiciary Committee, is called in for polygraph test;
Department of Justice inspector general’s report states "she was not
deceptive in her answers."

March: Grossman keynote speaker at ATC conference.

March 22: Edmunds fired, allegedly for shoddy work, security breaches.

Oct. 27: Edmonds appears on CBS’ "60 Minutes" program.

Dec: Grossman visits Turkey, approves $3 billion U.S. aid to Turkey
for the Iraq Cooperation deal.


March 3: In interview for Dutch television, Grossman says, ""[T]he
time has come now to make a stand against this kind of connection
between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. And we think Iraq
is a place to make that stand first the great threat today is the
nexus between weapons of mass destruction and terrorism."

May 29: Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff "Scooter" Libby asks
Grossman for information about news report about the secret envoy sent
by the CIA to Africa in 2002. Grossman requests a classified memo from
Carl Ford, the director of the State Department’s intelligence bureau,
and later orally briefs Libby on its contents.

Mid-June: Powell and his deputy secretary Richard Armitage may have
received a copy of the Grossman memo.

June 10: Grossman asks the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)
for a briefing on the Niger uranium issue, and specifically the State
Department’s opposition to the continuing White House view that Iraq
had tried to buy yellow cake. The resulting memo is dated the same
day, and drawn from notes on the February 19 meeting at the CIA on the
Wilson mission and other sources. Memo is classified "Top Secret," and
contains in one paragraph, separately marked ‘(S/NF)" for "Secret/No
dissemination to foreign governments or intelligence agencies, " two
sentences describing in passing Valerie "Wilson’s" identity as a CIA
operative and her role in the inception of the Wilson trip to Niger.
This June 10 memo reportedly does not use her maiden name Plame.

June 17-July 9: Senate Judiciary Committee holds unclassified hearings
on Edmunds’ allegations.

June 19: letter from Senior Republican Senator, Charles Grassley, and
Senior Democrat Senator, Patrick Leahy to Inspector General Glenn A.
Fine concerning Edmonds’ allegations.

July 14: Robert Novak reveals Plame’s CIA identity.

July 22: Edmonds files suit against the Department of Justice, the
FBI, and several high-level officials, alleging that she was
wrongfully terminated from the FBI in retaliation for reporting
criminal activities committed by government employees.

Aug. 13: letter from two senators to Attorney General Ashcroft
concerning Sibel Edmonds’ allegations.

Aug. 15: 600 victims of the 9/11 attacks file suit (Burnett v. Al
Baraka Investment & Dev. Corp.), request from Edmonds deposition
providing evidence for U.S. government foreknowledge of 9-11 attacks.

Sept. 22: Goss made CIA Director (resigns May 5, 2006).

Oct. 18, 2002: Attorney General John Ashcroft invokes the State
Secrets Privilege (requested not by Justice Department but by State
department) in order to prevent disclosure of the nature of Edmonds’
work on the grounds that it would endanger national security, and
asked that her wrongful termination suit be dismissed. In effect
places Edmonds under a gag order.

Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) expresses outrage at gag order,
promises that a Democratic majority in Congress would conduct
hearings. (This has not been done.)

Oct. 28: Letter from two senators to FBI Director Robert Mueller
concerning Sibel Edmonds’ allegations.

Dec. 11, Attorney General Ashcroft again invoking the State Secrets
Privilege, files a motion calling for Edmonds’ deposition in Burnett
v. Al Baraka case be suppressed and for the entire case to be
dismissed. The judge, seeking more information, orders government to
produce any unclassified material relating to the case. In response,
Ashcroft submits further statements to justify the use of the State
Secrets Privilege.

Dec: Gross back in Turkey to approve Turkey’s eligibility to
participate in tenders for Iraq’s reconstruction.


Grossman achieves Foreign Service’s highest rank when President Bush
appoints him to rank of Career Ambassador.

Patrick Leahy calls for investigation; Sen. Orrin Hatch, Republican
Chairman of the Senate, blocks it.

May 13: Ashcroft retroactively classifies all material that had been
provided to Senate Judiciary Committee in 2000 relating to Edmond’s
lawsuit, as well as the senators’ letters that had already been posted
on line by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

June 23: POGO files lawsuit against Justice Department for classifying
material it had published; Justice Department fails to get the case

July 6: Edmonds suit dismissed on state secrets grounds.

July : Edmonds files appeal. On same day, Inspector General releases
unclassified summary of a highly classified report on an investigation
that had concluded "that many of her allegations were supported, that
the FBI did not take them seriously enough, and that her allegations
were, in fact, the most significant factor in the FBI’s decision to
terminate her services. Rather than investigate Edmonds’ allegations
vigorously and thoroughly, the FBI concluded that she was a disruption
and terminated her contract."

August: Edmonds founds the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
(NSWBC) to address U.S. security weaknesses.

December: Grossman the key speaker at an ATC Conference held at the
Omni Shoreham Hotel.


Grossman receives Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award.

January: Grossman quits his government job. Eric Edelman, another
former ambassador to Turkey, takes job of Under Secretary of Defence
for Policy.

January: Pakistani nuclear engineer A. Q. Khan confesses to having
been involved in a clandestine international network of nuclear
weapons technology proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran and
North Korea.

Feb. 5: Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf announces he has
pardoned Khan. U.S. response is mild.

March: Grossman made vice-chairman of Cohen Group.

Feb. 18: Justice Department under new attorney general backs away from
claim that documents posted by POGO were classified.

April 21: In the hours before the hearing of her appeal, three judges
issued a ruling that barred all reporters and the public from the
courtroom. During the proceedings, Edmonds was not allowed into the
courtroom for the hearing.

May 6: Edmonds’ case dismissed, no reason provided, no opinion cited.

May 14: In open letter, Edmonds states the governments wants to
silence here to "protect certain diplomatic relations" and to "protect
certain U.S. foreign business relations." Says the "foreign relations"
mentioned in the gag order "are not in the interest of, or of benefit
to, the majority of Americans, but instead serve and protect a small

June 20: Edmonds writes: "(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. For almost four years since September 11, officials refused to
admit to having specific information regarding the terrorists’ plans
to attack the United States. The Phoenix Memo, received months prior
to the 9/11 attacks, specifically warned FBI HQ of pilot training and
their possible link to terrorist activities against the US. 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."

July 20: Unidentified as a "retired state department official"
Grossman tells AP that a classified State Department memo disputed the
legitimacy of administration claims that Iraq sought to acquire
uranium from Niger, also contained a few lines about Plame Wilson’s
CIA employment, marked as secret.

August 5: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) petitioned for the
Supreme Court of the United States to review the lower courts’
application of the State Secret Privilege in both lawsuits. The ACLU
claims that the courts conflated the State Secrets Privilege and the
Totten rule.

Sept. 28: Washington Post cites unnamed former administration source
(Grossman) as stating that the outing of Plame was "Clearly..meant
purely and simply for revenge.

Oct. 28: In Patrick Fitzgerald’s indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter"
Libby, Grossman is the Under Secretary of State mentioned as giving
information about Plame to Libby.

Nov.: Grossman attends lavish Turkish Ottoman Dinner Gala, receives
award from Turkish lobby group, the Assembly of American Turkish
Association (ATAA) in Chicago.

Nov. 28: the Supreme Court declined to review the decisions made in
the Edmonds case.


March: Grossman the key speaker at the ATC annual conference.

June: Grossman key speaker at MERIA Conference, discussing Turkey’s
importance to U.S. and Israel.

Sept. 2006: a documentary about Sibel Edmonds’ case called Kill The
Messenger ("Une Femme à Abattre") premiers in France


January 24: Grossman first to testify in Libby trial. Says he informed
Libby of Plame’s involvement "in about 30 seconds of conversation" in
June 2003.

Nov: Grossman subpoenaed by defense in AIPAC trial.

Nov. 26: Grossman, now Vice Chairman of the consulting firm the Cohen
Group, attends a major Security Conference in Riga, Latvia.


January: Edmonds posts, without comment, photos of current and former
officials and Turkish associates on website: Richard Perle, Eric
Edelman, Marc Grossman, Brent Snowcroft, Larry Franklin, Ex-House
Speaker Dennis Hastert, Roy Blunt (R-Mo), Dan Burton (R-Ind.), Tom
Lantos (D-Ca.), Bob Livingston (ex-House Speaker, R-La.), Stephen
Solarz (D-NY), Graham Fulle (RAND), David Makovsky (WINEP), Martin
Markovsky (WINEP), Yusuf Turani (president in exile of Turkmenistan),
Prof. Sabri Sayari (Columbia University, WINEP), Mehmet Eymur (former
head of Turkish counter-terrorism).

Jan. 6: Times of London carries story, "For sale: West’s deadly
nuclear secrets." States that a high official "was aiding foreign
operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified
information, not only from the State Department but also from the
Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives."
Claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior
Pentagon officials–including household names–who were aiding foreign

"If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this
case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal

Jan. 22: White House issues statement declaring its intention to
approve sale of nuclear secrets to Turkey; Joshua Franks writes, "It
appears the White House has been spooked by Edmonds and hopes to
absolve the U.S. officials allegedly involved in the illegal sale of
nuclear technology to private Turkish ‘entities’." Frank identifies
Grossman as one of these officials.

* * * * *

Edmonds is tirelessly and fearlessly campaigning for Congressman
Waxman, now chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee, to hold hearings. She says that FBI agents and even former
Turkish intelligence officials are willing and able to validate her
charges. But the congressman hesitates, perhaps fearing the storm of
indignation that explosive evidence will produce in a country sick of
its politicians, the lying neocons, and the war. Should they discover
that, while disseminating disinformation about foreign nukes in order
to fearmonger and build support for aggressive war, some of these
officials were actually peddling nuclear secrets-committing treason
while receiving honors for their patriotic service—the response
could be explosive.

The Office of Special Plans under Abram Shulsky and Douglas Feith
cherry-picked the intelligence vetted through the New York Times to
terrify people into supporting an attack on Iraq. Democratic leaders
have in the past urged an investigation of that spooky office, but
furnished the opportunity since November 2006, they have declined to
hold hearings. The Italian parliament conducted a study of the Niger
uranium hoax, fingering neocon Michael Ledeen as a key suspect in
forging documents designed to provide a casus belli before the Iran
attack. Congress does nothing to follow up. In effect they are saying
that the administration has a right to lie to the people. The
presidential pardon granted Libby is a clear statement that it’s okay
to punish whistle-blowers like Joseph Wilson. The Supreme Court
refuses to hear Edmonds’ appeal. It seems that all three branches of
government compete to coddle the most unscrupulous and lawless
officials, while marginalizing or punishing honest citizens who expose
the rot.

The publication of the National Intelligence Estimate undercutting the
administration’s case for attacking Iran indicates that there are in
the U.S. intelligence community persons alarmed by the
administration’s lies and efforts to justify more aggression based on
lies. It enrages the neocons, who with Norman Podhoretz in the lead
have been praying for Bush to bomb Iran. The arrest and conviction of
Feith subordinate Larry Franklin shows that within the FBI there are
forces disturbed at the close connections between the neocons, Israeli
intelligence, and the Israel lobby and willing to take action against
lawbreaking. But Feith and Perle have both been investigated before,
Perle for discussing classified information with Israeli Embassy staff
in an FBI-monitored phone call in Washington in 1970. But the cases
dropped for apparent political reasons. Perhaps the Grossman story
will gain some traction. Maybe it will prove egregious enough that the
tide will turn. Maybe Bush’s last year of office will see the neocons’
thorough exposure, humiliation and defeat.

Or maybe Waxman, Rep. Conyers and others in positions to honestly
confront this most mendacious of administrations will continue to
dither, feeding the assumption of the most vicious, cynical and
corrupt that they are indeed above the law. And earning the contempt
of those naïve enough to expect serious congressional oversight of a
rogue regime.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct
Professor of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Servants,
Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male
Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and
Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women,
1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s merciless
chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial

He can be reached at: [email protected]