Friday, March 31, 2006

Edmonds Moves to Dismiss Judge Walton

Mar 30, 2006.

Lost in last week's hubbub over the media breakthroughs for 9/11 truth was the latest twist in the Sibel Edmonds saga. The FBI whistleblower last Thursday filed a court motion demanding that the federal judge hearing her First Amendment case be recused for deliberately hiding his financial background.

The judge, Reggie Walton, is also currently hearing the perjury case involving I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former chief of staff to Dick Cheney, for allegations of leaking the name of a CIA operative to the media. Edmonds is seeking to show Judge Walton is in violation of federal law (The Ethics in Government Act) because of his refusal to meet financial disclosure provisions.

The FBI hired Edmonds after September 11th as a translator for Farsi and Turkish. She says she discovered that documents already translated (and suppressed) before 9/11 had contained details of a pending attack on the US with airplanes. In addition, one of her colleagues attempted to recruit her as a spy for a Turkish lobbying group. When she spoke out about these experiences, and other finds suggesting corruption at the top levels of government, she was fired. Attorney General John Ashcroft slapped Edmonds with a gag order under the seldom-used State Secrets Act. In the most bizarre and Orwellian twist, he "retroactively classified" many of the statements she had already made. This included items published in the press.

Edmonds took up a long court battle for her right to speak out, but ran into Judge Walton, who has upheld the "State Secrets" provision over the First Amendment. Adding to the general feel of impropriety about the proceedings, Edmonds originally had a different judge assigned to her case at random, only to see it reassigned to Walton's court without explanation. (The original judge, James Robertson, later resigned his seat on the FISA court in protest over the NSA wiretapping scandal.)

The Justice Department's inspector general ultimately determined that Edmonds' firing was due to her whistleblowing activities. But there have been no consequences for those responsible, and her efforts to get the gag order lifted have been frustrated in court. The 9/11 Commission heard her story in several hours of closed-door testimony - and, typically, completely omitted it from their report.

As a founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, Edmonds has remained active throughout in the fight to achieve greater protection for freedom of speech and for whistleblowers. As a naturalized citizen, she is a powerful and outspoken advocate for the rights that all citizens now see endangered. has provided extensive coverage on the Edmonds case through more than a dozen stories. See the collection of past articles, below. We especially recommend her open letter to the chairman of the 9/11 Commission following the publication of its report.


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