..............................Following the 9/11 attacks, Melek Can applied for a translator job at the FBI’s Washington Field Office. In a Justice Department Inspector General report, it is stated that Melek Can failed to list on her application her prior jobs with ATC, ATAA, and the German-Turkish Business and Cultural Association. When FBI translator Sibel Edmonds (a Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani translator who worked with Melek Can) complained publicly about MIT’s penetration of the FBI, Senators Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley pointedly asked the FBI why no Special Background Investigation (SBI) was conducted on Melek Can.
“Edmonds’ charges against the Dickersons were highlighted in a June 2002 Washington Post article. On September 9, 2002, the Dickersons left Washington for Belgium, where Major Dickerson was assigned to the U.S. Air Force NATO office. Soon, there were three separate investigations of Edmonds’ espionage charges against the Dickersons: the Justice Department IG probe, a similar probe by the Department of Defense IG led by Joseph Schmitz, and a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee investigation led by Leahy and Grassley.
“Two weeks after the Dickersons arrived in Belgium, Schmitz sent a letter stating that Major Dickerson’s relationship with the ATC while at DIA was ‘within the scope of his duties.’ The DOD IG terminated the investigation.”
Attorney General John Ashcroft then “invoked the State Secrets Privilege and imposed a ‘gag order’ on Edmonds’ making any further comments to the media about her wrongful termination suit against the FBI, which was prompted by her raising concerns about the Dickersons. The invocation of the State Secrets Privilege by Ashcroft was specifically requested by the Defense and State Departments.
“Upon publication of a Vanity Fair article in August 2005 about the Edmonds case and those of other national security whistleblowers, the Department of Defense and U.S. Air Force opened a joint IG investigation of Major Dickerson and Edmonds’ charges, who was still safely ensconced at the NATO office in Belgium.
“When the DoD/USAF IG investigators asked Major Dickerson once again about the allegations that had re-surfaced against him, U.S. intelligence sources report he told them that he would ‘start talking’ if the investigation proceeded. The DoD/USAF IG investigation of Dickerson was once again quickly terminated. In January 2006, Dickerson was promoted in rank to Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to the U.S. Air Force base in Yokota, Japan, where he was assigned as the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s acting commander.
“U.S. intelligence sources stated that the ‘same people’ who have continually protected Perle and Feith since the 1980s were also protecting Dickerson and Grossman. CIA sources, including those who served in Istanbul tracking nuclear smuggling in the late 1980s, also confirm that the Turkish-U.S. nuclear black marketeering ring was directly tied to the Abdul Qadeer Khan nuclear smuggling ring in Pakistan, an operation that sold sensitive nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea, and Libya.
AN INCONVENIENT PATRIOT
In Washington, D.C., and its suburbs, December 2, 2001, was fine but cool, the start of the slide into winter after a spell of unseasonable warmth. At 10 o’clock that morning, Sibel and Matthew Edmonds were still in their pajamas, sipping coffee in the kitchen of their waterfront town house in Alexandria, Virginia, and looking forward to a well-deserved lazy Sunday.
Since mid-September, nine days after the 9/11 attacks, Sibel had been exploiting her fluency in Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani as a translator at the F.B.I. It was arduous, demanding work, and Edmonds—who had two bachelor’s degrees, was about to begin studying for a master’s, and had plans for a doctorate—could have been considered overqualified. But as a naturalized Turkish-American, she saw the job as her patriotic duty.
The Edmondses’ thoughts were turning to brunch when Matthew answered the telephone. The caller was a woman he barely knew—Melek Can Dickerson, who worked with Sibel at the F.B.I. “I’m in the area with my husband and I’d love you to meet him,” Dickerson said. “Is it O.K. if we come by?” Taken by surprise, Sibel and Matthew hurried to shower and dress. Their guests arrived 30 minutes later. Matthew, a big man with a fuzz of gray beard, who at 60 was nearly twice the age of his petite, vivacious wife, showed them into the kitchen. They sat at a round, faux-marble table while Sibel brewed tea.
Melek’s husband, Douglas, a U.S. Air Force major who had spent several years as a military attaché in the Turkish capital of Ankara, did most of the talking, Matthew recalls. “He was pretty outspoken, pretty outgoing—about meeting his wife in Turkey, and about his job. He was in weapons procurement.” Like Matthew, he was older than his wife, who had been born about a year before Sibel.
According to Sibel, Douglas asked if she and Matthew were involved with the local Turkish community, and whether they were members of two of its organized groups—the American-Turkish Council (A.T.C.) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (A.T.A.A.). “He said the A.T.C. was a good organization to belong to,” Matthew says. “It could help to ensure that we could retire early and live well, which was just what he and his wife planned to do. I said I was aware of the organization, but I thought you had to be in a relevant business in order to join.
“Then he pointed at Sibel and said, ‘All you have to do is tell them who you work for and what you do and you will get in very quickly.’” Matthew could see that his wife was far from comfortable: “She tried to change the conversation to the weather and suchlike.” But the Dickersons, says Matthew, steered it back to what they called their “network of high-level friends.” Some, they said, worked at the Turkish Embassy in Washington. “They said they even went shopping weekly for [one of them] at a Mediterranean market,” Matthew says. “They used to take him special Turkish bread.”
Before long, the Dickersons left. At the time, Matthew says, he found it “a strange conversation for the first time you meet a couple. Why would someone I’d never met say such things?”
Only Sibel knew just how strange. A large part of her work at the F.B.I. involved listening to the wiretapped conversations of people who were targets of counter-intelligence investigations. As she would later tell investigators from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (O.I.G.) and the U.S. Congress, some of those targets were Turkish officials the Dickersons had described as high-level friends. In Sibel’s view, the Dickersons had asked the Edmondses to befriend F.B.I. suspects. (In August 2002, Melek Can Dickerson called Sibel’s allegations “preposterous, ludicrous and slanderous.”)
Sibel also recalled hearing wiretaps indicating that Turkish Embassy targets frequently spoke to staff members at the A.T.C., one of the organizations the Dickersons allegedly wanted her and her husband to join. Sibel later told the O.I.G. she assumed that the A.T.C.’s board—which is chaired by Brent Scowcroft, President George H. W. Bush’s national-security adviser—knew nothing of the use to which it was being put. But the wiretaps suggested to her that the Washington office of the A.T.C. was being used as a front for criminal activity.
Sibel and Matthew stood at the window of their oak-paneled hallway and watched the Dickersons leave. Sibel’s Sunday had been ruined.
Immediately and in the weeks that followed, Sibel Edmonds tried to persuade her bosses to investigate the Dickersons. There was more to her suspicions than their peculiar Sunday visit. According to documents filed by Edmonds’s lawyers, Sibel believed Melek Can Dickerson had leaked information to one or more targets of an F.B.I. investigation, and had tried to prevent Edmonds from listening to wiretaps of F.B.I. targets herself. But instead of carrying out a thorough investigation of her allegations, at the end of March 2002 the F.B.I. fired Edmonds..........................