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September 5, 2009

The (Attempted) Blackmailing of Jan Schakowsky

By Mike Mejia

Was Congresswoman Schakowsky a victim of blackmail?


Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill) is one of the most consistently liberal members of the U.S. House of Representatives. A champion for universal health care, human rights and a whole host of left-of-center causes, she is a stalwart member of the House's Progressive Caucus. Schakowsky, a native of Chicago, was rated the fourth most liberal member of Congress by National Journal in 2005, well ahead of Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who placed 20th.

Unfortunately, Schakowsky, who has been somewhat hawkish on Middle East issues, may have been a victim of sexual blackmail perpetrated by foreign agents. Such is the grim picture that can be gleaned from combining the recent sworn deposition of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds with a report from independent journalist Wayne Madsen entitled "The congresswoman and the Turkish Lobby sexual blackmail ring".

Edmonds testified on August 8, 2009, in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case, that Turkish agents were attempting to blackmail an unnamed Congresswoman in year 2000, whom they knew to be secretly bisexual, by arranging a tryst with a "Turkish female agent" in this Congresswoman's own townhouse. Edmonds said the townhouse was 'bugged' and the whole affair was captured on film by the foreign agents. According to the former FBI translator, the "Turkish entities" wanted both "Congressional related favoritism from her" as well as favors from her husband, "who was in a high position in the state she was elected from." Edmonds did not name the Congresswoman because of gag orders that do not permit her to do so.

Within a few days of this part of Edmonds' deposition having been reported on Brad Blog, Madsen reported that Representative Jan Schakowsky is the blackmailed Congresswoman that the ex-FBI translator could not name. Madsen also claimed his sources told him that the blackmail of Schakowsky had apparently caused her to back off many issues, including the role of private military companies, and that then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (who apparently was a recipient of Turkish bribery) knew of and approved of the blackmail.

Before jumping to conclusions about Schakowsky, it is important to ask who Wayne Madsen is and does he have credible sources? Madsen is a former Naval Intelligence officer turned Jack Anderson-style journalist, who is sometimes derided by fellow journalists (according to his Wikipedia entry) "as a conspiracy-minded blogger." Some of his reporting that has been criticized by others include a claim in early 2009 that Israel was attempting to colonize Iraq and a 2005 report that Enron was used to pay for the rigging of the 2004 Presidential Election. It is clear that some of what Madsen has published is questionable.

Whatever one thinks of his overall record as a journalist, though, it is also clear Madsen has at least one good source on the Edmonds case: He accurately scooped a key part of the whistleblower's tale three years ago.

On September 28, 2006, Madsen broke the story that in 2001:

Brewster Jennings & Associates, the counter-proliferation front company that Valerie Plame Wilson and her CIA counter-proliferation non-official cover (NOC) colleagues used as a front for their operations, was blown in two phone calls placed in June 2001 to two foreign intelligence agents in Washington, DC by then-Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman.

Because of Wayne Madsen's perceived "tin foil hat" persona, his report on Grossman's role in bowing Brewster Jennings cover was ignored by the mainstream press even though, at the time, the outing of Valerie Plame, who worked under the Brewster Jennings cover, was a hot topic in the news media.

However, more than a year later, the Times of London unveiled a series of articles on the Edmonds case. The third article in the series reported the same basic story as Madsen had:

"an investigation into the illicit sale of American nuclear secrets was compromised by a senior official in the State Department [who] ...tipped off a foreign contact about a bogus CIA company used to investigate the sale of nuclear secrets.

Although Grossman is not named in the Times report, from the description of the senior State Department official, it is clearly the same person named in the earlier Madsen article. This is further solidified by the recent Edmonds deposition, in which the whistleblower goes into more detail about Grossman's alleged misdeed in blowing the Brewster Jennings cover two years before Scooter Libby and Richard Armitage "outed" Plame in order to punish her husband Joe Wilson.

Adding even more weight to the Madsen story on Turkish blackmail is the fact that Schakowsky precisely fits the profile of the legislator Edmonds describes in her deposition. Edmonds described a Congresswoman that has several children; Schakowsky has four. And according to Edmonds, as reported in a 2005 Vanity Fair article, the location of much of the illegal Turkish bribery schemes was in the geographic area Jan Schakowsky represents:

"It [Turkish bribery] began in D.C.," says an F.B.I. counter-intelligence official who is familiar with the case file. "It became apparent that Chicago was actually the center of what was going on."

Also, Edmonds claimed in her August 8 deposition that the blackmailed Congresswoman's husband is very influential in local politics in the state in question. Schakowsky's spouse is a very prominent Democratic lobbyist in Illinois,

Robert Creamer, who recently served time for bouncing checks. Creamer is well-connected in his state, having acted as a political consultant for many prominent politicians, including former Governor Rod Blagejovich, Mayor Richard Daley and the only man ever to defeat President Obama in an election, Congressman Bobby Rush.

It is difficult to think of another Congresswoman from the Chicago-area who is married to a man that is so influential in state politics that Turkish agents would want favors from him; thus, there is much evidence that supports Madsen's contention that Schakowski is the unnamed Congresswoman.

Unfortunately, with all the government classification and cover-up of this matter, there is no way confirm the Schakowsky story with 100% accuracy unless, of course, the Congresswoman admits she was a target of such extortion. An admission from Schakowsky seems highly unlikely given the very personal nature of the situation of the situation. But the evidence certainly points to her, which brings several thoughts to mind.

One thought is that it her alleged blackmailing, if it happened, does not tarnish Schakowsky's reputation as a person of integrity and a fighter for liberal causes. Sibel Edmonds admits in her deposition that she never had any evidence the Congresswoman caved in to the sexual blackmail. Particularly encouraging is that Schakowsky has joined the Armenian Caucus in Congress and has come out in favor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H. Res 252. However, to the extent that Schakowsky becomes more of a hawk on foreign policy relating to Israel and less of a strident anti-war voice, there is some cause for concern and it was probably not a good idea for Nancy Pelosi to put Schakowsky on the House Select Intelligence Committee, if indeed Schakowsky has been subjected to blackmail by foreign spies.

Secondly, the extortion of one of Congress's most liberal members should be a wake up call to progressives and all Americans. What other progressive Congressperson or Senators have been subjected to blackmail and extortion in order to turn them from 'doves' into 'hawks'? If Turkish agents are conducting this type of arm twisting, what are other lobby groups doing behind the scense? And is there anyway for citizen lobbyists, working ethically and morally, to be able to compete with multinational corporations and foreign entities in the face of such dirty tricks?

Third, it is quite disturbing that Attorney General Eric Holder, who was appointed by 'agent of change' Barack Obama, has not declassified the documents related to Edmonds' case. There is now strong evidence of foreign penetration of U.S. intelligence agencies, nuclear facilities and legislative bodies and allegations of money laundering, nuclear proliferation and public corruption from a whistleblower deemed credible by, among others, Senator Charles Grassley.

Yet Obama and Holder still apparently believe evidence in the Inspector General's report on the Edmonds case constitutes classified information the American public should not have access to.

The inaction on part of this Administration in this case is disturbing (as it has been in many other instances, from stopping illegal wiretapping to prosecuting torture). Instead of ‘change', the look and feel of the Obama government resembles, more and more, the one that preceded it. If the President does not start delivering on the open government and increased accountability he promised during the 2008 presidential election campaign, progressives may have no choice but to go shopping for a new candidate, and perhaps even a new Party.

Authors Bio:
Mike Mejia is a freelance writer specializing in foreign policy and national security.