WASHINGTON – FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who sued the Justice Department, says she translated wiretaps of conversations between Turkish associations and the Turkish Consulate in Chicago mentioning bribes paid to House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
The revelations come in an interview with Edmonds in the September issue of Vanity Fair.
Though the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia dismissed her case on the grounds that it could jeopardize national security, she is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the court erred in dismissing her claims of wrongful termination based on the rarely used “state secrets privilege.”
By invoking the state secrets privilege, the Justice Department prevented Edmonds, a former translator, from airing in court her allegations that the bureau fired her for reporting serious security breaches and possible espionage.
The state secret privilege was created by the high court 52 years ago to be used as “a shield for sensitive evidence, not a sword the government can use at will to cut off argument in a case,” said Ann Beeson, who represents Edmonds as the associate legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is asking the high court to “rein in the government’s misuse of this privilege,” Beeson said.
The ACLU is also asking the Supreme Court to reverse a decision by the court of appeals to ban the media and the public from hearing Edmond’s appeal.
There are at least four other cases now pending where the federal government has asserted the state secrets privilege, which effectively ends the case when a judge approves the use.
Edmonds was hired by the FBI as a contract linguist soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks for her fluency in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani.