FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Testifies Before Congress for First Time Today
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Edmonds Speaks at House Hearing on “Excessive Classification”
WASHINGTON – Sibel Edmonds, who was fired after exposing national security concerns at the FBI, will testify before Congress for the first time today. The American Civil Liberties Union is representing Edmonds in her appeal to reinstate her case against the government.
“Sibel Edmonds’ case shows how the government has abused secrecy to shield itself from embarrassment and accountability,” said Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU. “Preventing these serious allegations from coming to light will make us less safe, not more.”
Edmonds, a former Middle Eastern language specialist for the FBI, will share her story with members of the House Committee on Government Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. The hearing will focus on the emerging threats of over-classification and pseudo-classification. Edmonds will testify about the government’s excessive use of classification to cover up its own misconduct in her case. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat and the ranking minority member on the House Committee on Government Reform, asked Edmonds to testify at today’s hearing.
The hearing comes on the heels of a Justice Department decision last week to make public information about Edmonds’ case that it had previously retroactively classified. The information has gone through a series of classification flip-flops that started in May 2004, when the department retroactively classified information about Edmonds’ case that the FBI had provided to Congress in public briefings.
Edmonds, hired by the FBI shortly after 9/11, was fired after reporting shoddy translation work and national security breaches within the agency. She challenged her retaliatory dismissal by filing a law suit in federal court, but her case was dismissed last July after Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the so-called “state secrets privilege.” The Justice Department apparently decided to retroactively classify the Congressional briefings not to protect national security but to bolster its “state secrets” claim.
An executive summary of the Justice Department’s Inspector General report into her termination concluded that Edmonds was fired for reporting the misconduct, and that such treatment would discourage federal employees from speaking up about potential security risks.
The ACLU said that the Edmonds case is part of a larger pattern by the government to silence employees who expose national security blunders. Coleen Rowley, Manny Johnson, Robert Woo, Ray McGovern, Mel Goodman, Bogdan Dzakovic, and Mike German are just a few of the other national security whistleblowers who were vilified and retaliated against.
Edmonds’ testimony is online at /node/21307.
For a web feature on the Edmonds case and more information on national security whistleblowers, go to /whistleblower.
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