West’s deadly N-secrets for sale
* Former FBI official says she heard evidence that a US official was being paid by Turkish agents to get information
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: A whistleblower has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets, according to a Sunday Times article.
Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator for the FBI, who had listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office, approached The Sunday Times last month after reading about an Al Qaeda terrorist who had revealed his role in training some of the 9/11 hijackers while he was in Turkey.
The newspaper quoted Edmonds as describing how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.
Selling information: “Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan,” the Times said.
The name of the official – who has held a series of top government posts – is known to The Sunday Times. He strongly denies the claims, the paper said.
However, the article reported Edmonds as saying: “He was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives.”
“She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents,” the article read.
“If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials,” the Times reported Edmonds as saying.
“Her story shows just how much the West was infiltrated by foreign states seeking nuclear secrets. It illustrates how western government officials turned a blind eye to, or were even helping countries such as Pakistan acquire bomb technology,” the Times said.
“A backlog of tapes had built up, dating back to 1997, which were needed for an FBI investigation into links between the Turks and Pakistani, Israeli and US targets. Before she left the FBI in 2002 she heard evidence that pointed to money laundering, drug imports and attempts to acquire nuclear and conventional weapons technology,” the Times said.
“What I found was damning. While the FBI was investigating, several arms of the government were shielding what was going on,” Edmonds was reported as saying.
“The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the ISI, because they were less likely to attract suspicion. Venues such as the American Turkish Council in Washington were used to drop off the cash, which was picked up by the official,” the paper said.
“I heard at least three transactions like this over a period of 2½ years. There are almost certainly more,” the Times quoted Edmonds as saying.