Petition with strong left-right support headed to Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON, DC - The Liberty Coalition, a transpartisan public policy group dedicated to preserving the Bill of Rights, personal autonomy and individual privacy today sent a petition signed by 30 liberal, libertarian and conservative groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Citizen Outreach, OMB Watch, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Government Accountability Project, Electronic Freedom Foundation, and the National Coalition Against the Censorship to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform urging prompt hearings on the case of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.
Edmonds, a former FBI Language Specialist, brought charges of wrongdoing, criminal activity, cover-ups and national security threats inside the agency following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Edmonds was promptly fired, which she asserts was an act of retaliation.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) then used the State Secrets Privilege to shut down court proceedings in her case and prevent Congress from exploring the matter. Civil Liberties advocates argue that Edmonds's case in an example of other instances where whistleblowers who tried to inform Congress and taxpayers about national security threats were intimidated silenced and retaliated against.
"Mrs. Edmonds is not a national security threat but a national hero and the American public deserves to hear the truth of her case. Congress must act and act now by having public hearings. Without them, the cover-ups and criminal activities will just continue." Said Michael Ostrolenk, National Director of the Liberty Coalition.
Mr Ostrolenk was supported in his contentions by Liberty Coalition partner Stephen Kohn, President of the National Whistleblower Center who said "Congress must hear from Mrs. Edmonds and others who corroborated her case - we cannot wait until after another attack to learn about threats to our security."
This popular position is echoed by Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight, a watchdog group that signed the appeal brief in Mrs. Edmonds case who said "The issues surrounding the Edmonds case are so significant that Congress must hold hearings to investigate the government's actions."
The issues reported by Ms. Edmonds include:
· Espionage activities within the FBI, DOD, and the Department of State.
· Cover-up of information and leads pre and post 9/11, under the excuse of protecting certain diplomatic relations.
· Deliberate mistranslation of crucial intelligence by FBI translators and management.
· Foreign entities bribing government officials and elected representatives.
Civil Liberty advocates assert that these issues point to an abuse of power, a criminal conspiracy and attempts to cover -up wrong doing by using the coercive power of the state.
In regards to abuse of power, Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director, ACLU National Office, and Lead Counsel in Mrs. Edmonds case said. "The government abused the state secrets privilege to deny Sibel Edmonds her day in court, and to prevent accountability in other cases for illegal spying and rendition. It is high time for Congress to intervene."
Dr. William Weaver, Senior advisor and Board Member of the National Security Whistleblower's Coalition, who is an expert on the state secret privilege agreed with Mrs. Beeson when he said, "In Edmonds' case tyranny comes in the form of the state secrets privilege, a foolproof mechanism of the federal government to hide executive branch corruption, incompetence, and illegal activity. This is a practice more at home with Czars and nabobs, and should have no place in the United States."
Ostrolenk continued by saying "This is worse than Watergate in that American lives have been lost and our national security has been compromised. Mrs. Edmonds case has been vindicated by the Justice Department office of Inspector General, and several congressional offices. The public has a right to know. The excuse of protecting national security is fallacious. They are protecting their own power and not the American people. Mrs. Edmonds must be heard."