Bush administration's abuse of FISA warrants linked to Sibel Edmonds case

FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is continuing her fight to expose what she claims is serious corruption within the Bush administration. To date, the Bush administration has used the state-secrets privilege claim to silence Edmonds and prevent her from presenting evidence in the courts or Congress.

However, it now appears Edmonds has found a way to beat the state-secrets gag order.
In the coming weeks, insiders tell Narco News, Edmonds and the group she founded, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, will be coming forward with hard evidence, obtained legally from third-party sources, demonstrating that the Bush administration has used FISA warrants to engage in unauthorized surveillance of members of Congress and their staffs, and allegedly the FISA court was not aware of this misuse of the warrants.

The federal FISA court (set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) issues surveillance warrants (usually to the FBI) that target foreign intelligence agents operating in the United States. However, the warrants are not supposed to be used to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizens who are not acting illegally in the interest of a foreign power, such as members of Congress.

The fact that over the past five years, no known criminal investigations or indictments have resulted from the FISA warrants in question, Narco News sources claim, leads to the possibility that the information gathered through the warrants was being used by the Bush administration for political control and not law enforcement purposes.

These allegations go to the heart of Edmonds claims that she is being silenced for attempting to expose espionage-related activities (intercepted through wiretaps) that would reveal a trail of corruption within the Bush administration that is a threat to the national security of the country.

To date, the Department of Justice has used the broad powers of national security to prevent any public inquiry into Edmonds’ charges.

The new evidence soon to surface promises to expose the DOJ’s charade in the name of national security and also would raise serious questions about whether the Bush administration is improperly using FISA warrants to control members of Congress.

This is the information being provided to Narco News. The evidence itself is supposed to be released publicly in early March. So this represents little more than a heads up at this time. If the sources are correct, within the next few weeks, these new revelations should be the talk of the nation.

In anticipation of this new evidence being made public, behind the scenes an effort is already underway to get Congress to take up the Edmonds case through public hearings. A petition is currently being circulated for that very purpose, Narco News sources say.

So stay tuned to see if this all plays out as Narco News' sources predict -- and, assuming it does, if the mainstream press actually steps up to the plate to do its job in protecting the democracy.

The Petition

Sponsored by NSWBC & Liberty Coalition

To: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

A Petition to require public hearings by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform into confirmed reports by FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds of wrongdoing, criminal activities, cover-ups against the security and interests of the United States and its citizenry, and the erroneous use of the State Secrets Privilege to shut down all court proceedings in her case.

In March 2002 the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-IG) began its investigation of Ms. Edmonds’ reports.

In June 2002, in at least two unclassified Senate briefings, FBI officials confirmed the validity of Ms. Edmonds reports; however, in May 2004 Attorney General Ashcroft retroactively classified information from these briefings and gagged the Congress, preventing further investigation.

In October 2002 Attorney General Ashcroft invoked the ‘State Secrets Privilege’ to block all court proceedings in Edmonds’ case.

In July 2004 the DOJ-IG investigation into Edmonds' dismissal was completed but was entirely classified.

In January 2005 the DOJ-IG released an unclassified summary report on Edmonds’ case which concluded that Edmonds was fired for reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency's translation program, and that many of her allegations were supported by other witnesses and documents.

The issues that were reported by Ms. Edmonds include:

Cases of espionage activities within the FBI, DOD, and the Department of State;

Cases of cover-up of information and leads pre and post 9/11, under the excuse of protecting certain diplomatic relations;

Cases of intentional blocking and mistranslation of crucial intelligence by FBI translators and management;

Cases of foreign entities bribing certain government officials and elected representatives.

Edmonds filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the Department of Justice, but the government successfully argued that the state secrets privilege was an absolute bar to her suit going forward. She was even barred from the courtroom during the argument of her appeal! The Supreme Court declined to review the case. The government's invocation of the state secrets privilege in a motion to dismiss her case contradicts the core idea of judicial review and essentially allows the Executive Branch to dictate to the federal courts what cases they can and can’t hear.

Invoking the State Secrets Privilege is a tactic frequently used by the Executive Branch to stop potentially embarrassing lawsuits against the government. Many of these suits are brought by government employees, such as Ms. Edmonds, who allege fraud, mismanagement, or other unlawful conduct, and the state secrets privilege has successfully been invoked by the government to silence them. The state secrets provision has been used too frequently and with too little public protection.

Given the seriousness of Ms. Edmonds’ reports and in the best interests of the security of the country, it is incumbent upon the Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities and authority as representatives of the people of the United States, therefore:

We, the undersigned, now call upon the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in Congress to hold public hearings into the case of FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, and the erroneous use of the State Secrets Privilege to shut down all court proceedings in her case.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Anthony Romero, National Director

National Coalition against Censorship
Joan E. Bertin, Executive Director

Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC)
Nancy Talanian, Director

National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Bill Weaver, Board Member

Liberty Coalition
Michael Ostrolenk, Co-founder & Director

National Whistleblower Center
Steve Kohn, Chair

Open the Government .Org
Patrice McDermott, Executive Director

U.S.-Armenian Public Affairs Committee (USAPAC)
Ross Vartian, Executive Director

Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington (CREW)
Melanie Sloan, Director

Citizen Outreach
Doug Bandow, Vice President of Policy

Concerned Foreign Service Officers
Daniel Hirsch, Board Member

Fairfax County Privacy Council
Mike Stollenwerk, Director

Federal Hispanic Law Enforcement Officers Association
Sandalio Gonzalez, Director

Government Accountability Project (GAP)
Tom Devine, Legal Director

National Air Disaster Alliance/Foundation
Gail Dunham, President

Ohio Taxpayers Association & OTA Foundation
Scott Pullins, Chairman & CEO

Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
Danielle Brian, Executive Director

September 11th Advocates
Mindy Kleinberg, Director

Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers Coalition (VAWBC)
Dr. Jeffrey Fudin, President

U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation (USBOR)
 Dane Von Breichenruchardt, President

Privacy Activism
Linda Ackerman, Staff Counsel

The Multiracial Activists,
James Landrith, Founder

The New Grady Coalition
Ron Marshall, Director

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