As someone who has worked extensively with translators overseas, I know how important their role is and how critical they are to the mission. When I read Sibel Edmonds’ story I was shocked but not necessarily surprised. I wasn’t surprised at the lack of professionalism that she witnessed among the staff of translators at the FBI’s counter-intelligence office, but I was shocked at how over the top, brazen, and corrupt it was. One of my Arabic teachers at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School told us that he carried a book full of the names of Palestinian martyrs so I didn’t think I was naive about this subject. He would get a kick out of showing us Special Forces students propaganda clips from Memri TV of a Rabbi making Matzo ball soap with the blood of a young Christian boy.
Sibel Edmonds was a naturalized US citizen who got a call shortly after 9/11 to come work at the FBI and help them translate documents and catch up on their backlog, hopefully to turn up clues that would help unravel the plot behind the attacks. We don’t know for sure what language Sibel was translating into English, the title of her book isn’t just a gimmick. The courts have ruled that where she was born, when she was born, and the languages she is fluent in are all classified as state secrets. Government officials have said she is the most Classified Woman in US history. However, we can surmise that Sibel is fluent in Turkish and probably Farsi as well having grown up in Turkey and Iran.
While simultaneously working towards a college degree, Sibel begins working as a translator at the FBI `s counter-intelligence office. Her hard work is quickly recognized and she gets picked up for multiple field assignments, helping exhausted FBI agents in their investigations in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
It is back at the FBI headquarters building in Washington, DC that she begins to realize that something is amiss. Classified documents are mishandled, some translators are not qualified and can barely speak English, and documents of critical importance are non-nonchalantly being stamped as being not relevant to FBI investigations.
It gets much worse when a co-worker and her husband (a Major at the Pentagon) come to visit Sibel and her husband Matthew at their home. They then proceed to “pitch” them. They want Sibel to join several Turkish-American Associations. These are the same organizations that Sibel and her co-worker are targeting everyday at their job as translators for FBI counter-intelligence. The FBI has been investigating a dangerous group that is involved in drug trafficking and nuclear espionage with connections to Israel and worse connections to US politicians on both sides of the aisle.
It sounds very much like the plot of a dime store novel, but these are events that bring down the whole house of cards for Sibel, as they would for any honest American. A criminal network has penetrated the FBI and is actively sabotaging investigations that could threaten their operations.
Read the rest at SOFREP.com
One response to “Book Review: Classified Woman, The Sibel Edmonds Story”
In her book “No Backup,” Rosemary Drew pointed out similar issues in the FBI. Anybody who read the 9/11 Commission Report, or any of the books that in detail dig into the history of our so called “security” agencies will find that they are far from competent when it comes to complex, long-term, multi-national investigations or operations.
One could argue that they have gotten better since 9/11, but it also might be that they have simply gotten bigger and more resourced, so they succeed at certain things, and like always, we will have to wait a couple of years to learn of their failure.
It does once again make clear that failures of leadership, ability, and public trust know no creed, no age, and no fatigue.