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Ex-FBI translator's case may reveal Plame's crucial CIA role

Mike Mejia, Online Journal Contributing Writer

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December 16, 2005

For over a year, speculation has run rampant in the U.S. media and in the blogosphere about the CIA leak investigation being conducted by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

The thought-provoking questions asked by journalists and bloggers alike are many and varied: Who, in addition to Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, was involved in leaking the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media in order to punish her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, for his refutation of President Bush's Niger uranium claim? What was the role of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) in peddling Plame's name to the media? Who forged the Niger uranium documents? What secrets lay inside the eight redacted pages of material in Circuit Judge David Tatel's decision to overide his finding of a reporters' federal shield privilege "[w]ere the leak at issue in this case less harmful to national security"? Was Plame's role at the CIA as a weapons of mass destruction expert critical, as old CIA hands like Larry Johnson contend, or was she just a paper pusher, as the pro-Bush crowd proclaims?

Although many of these questions about the Fitzgerald investigation have yet to be answered, a pair of little noticed but explosive articles authored by Christopher Deliso of antiwar.com, "Plame, Pakistan a Nuclear Turkey and the Necons" and "Lesser Neocons of L'Affaire Plame", go a long way to solving the mystery of Valerie Plame's mission at the agency and may henceforth reveal what likely lies in those mysterious eight redacted pages of Tatel's.

According to Deliso's two sources, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, the outing of Valerie Plame may have severely damaged a CIA operation to monitor a nuclear black market faciliated by the shadowy but well-connected Washington lobby group, the American Turkish Council (ATC). (Those familiar with the Sibel Edmonds case will know the ATC is the very same organization that the former FBI translator heard on wiretaps in connection with various alleged illegal activities, some connected to 9/11.) From Edmonds, Deliso obtained the following admission: "Plame's undercover job involved the organizations [the FBI had been investigating], the ATC (American-Turkish Council) and the ATA (American-Turkish Association) . . . the Brewster Jennings network was very active in Turkey and with the Turkish community in the U.S. during the late 1990s, 2000, and 2001 . . . in places like Chicago, Boston, and Paterson, N.J."

Such a stunning statement by the former FBI contract linguist could be dismissed by those not familiar with the whistleblower's well-established credibility were it not for the fact that Edmonds is, at least in part, corroborated by Ambassador Joseph Wilson himself. In his book the Politics of Truth, Wilson recounts on page 240 that he first met Valerie Plame in 1997, at a reception at the home of the Turkish ambassador which Wilson attended to receive an award from -- you guessed it -- the American Turkish Council. Wilson, of course, never explains in his book what brought Valerie Plame to attend this ATC-sponsored event, but since it is public information that Plame was an undercover CIA operative at the time, the simplest explanation is the most likely one: she was there as part of her Brewster Jennings & Associates cover. Although U.S. law prohibits the CIA from conducting espionage operations against U.S. citizens on American soil, nothing would have prohibited Plame from attending such an event in Washington.

These revelations about Plame's surveillance of the American Turkish Council are significant because the ATC is connected to powerful neocons like Richard Perle and Douglas Feith (and, to be fair, to powerful anti-Iraq War activists like Brent Scowcroft and Joe Wilson.) And Edmonds implies that at least some on the ATC neocon side of this scandal are heavily involved in the nuclear black market: Feith and Perle, along with former Ambassador to Turkey Marc Grossman, are fingered by Edmonds as figures of interest.

One only has to recall that Perle and Feith are close allies of Scooter Libby, one of the original leakers of Plame's identity to the media, to conclude that Libby may have had more than one motive in seeing Plame's career and the whole Brewster Jennings operation destroyed. While several Beltway journalists, including the liberal Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, have tried to virtually chase Patrick Fitzgerald out of town by peddling the GOP storyline that going after the Plame leaker(s) amounts to "criminalizing politics," this new evidence suggests that the leak may not have been done in the spirit of good, old fashioned Washington hardball after all: A good case could now be made that outing Plame was an intentional act pepetrated to protect real criminal activity. Casting the investigation in such a light may show that a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act could still be in play.

However much antiwar advocates might wish it, though, we should not expect any of these links between the Sibel Edmonds and Valerie Plame cases to come out in Fitzgerald's court filings any time soon. Ms. Edmonds testimony in her own civil lawsuits has been quashed by the Supreme Court, effectively making anything Edmonds knows a "state secret". And Fitzgerald, as an employee of the U.S. Justice Department, is unlikely to reveal the trail of nuclear secrets that leads from the U.S. through Turkey to Pakistan.

However, there is still hope in getting the truth of the Plame-Edmonds matter out to the public at-large and that hope lies with the alternative media outlets. Besides, Deliso, a recent interview of Raw Story's Larisa Alexandrovna may indicate at least one other journalist is following the same Brewster Jennings trail. Alexandrovna appears to be looking closely at Plamegate figure Marc Grossman, whom Edmonds claims is "very important" in her own case.

Regardless of what transpires over the next few months in the twin sagas of the CIA agent and the FBI translator, it now appears that those who have called the Plame affair "Treasongate" may have been more right then they knew. While U.S. troops are bogged down in Iraq, a country that had no weapons of mass destruction and no ties to terrorism, some of the very architects of that same illegal war may be implicated in the leaking of U.S. nuclear technology for personal profit. If such shenanigans do not qualify as treason what does?

Copyright ę 1998-2005 Online Journal


:: Article nr. 18759 sent on 17-dec-2005 04:21 ECT

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