Coalition Petition to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform re: Sibel Edmonds

Liberty Coalition & National Security Whistleblowers Coalition

To: The U.S. 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 John 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.

 

Signatories:

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

OMB Watch
Sean Moulton, Director

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Marc Rotenberg, Executive 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.-Armenia 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

People for the American Way
Ralph Neas, President

Fairfax County Privacy Council
Mike Stollenwerk, Director

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

Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)
Aram Hamparian, Executive Director

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

Center for Financial Privacy & Human Rights
J. Bradley, Jansen, Director

Consumer Action
Linda Sherry, Director

Privacy Activism
Linda Ackerman, Staff Counsel

The Multiracial Activists,
James Landrith, Founder

The New Grady Coalition
Ron Marshall, Director

Doctors for Open Government
Dr. Jim Murtagh, Director

Georgian for Open Government
Gwen Marshall, Director

Ethics in Government Group (EGG)
George Anderson, Director

DemocracyRising.US
Kevin Zeese, Executive Director

Velvet Revolution
Brad Friedman, Director

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