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There's a remarkable article For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets on the front page of the British Times today.

A WHISTLEBLOWER (Sibel Edmonds) has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets.
[...]
Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

IMPORTANT UPDATE- see bottom of post

(Please note that the Times article is long, and I've tried to stay within the parameters of Fair Use. Please go read the whole thing)

From the article:

Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

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 article doesn't name the official, but he is Marc Grossman, former #3 at the State Department, former ambassador to Turkey, and current Vice President at The Cohen Group, the lobbying company run by former Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

(Sibel) claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents.

"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," she said.

Those household names include Richard Perle and Douglas Feith and possibly Paul Wolfowitz. Less familiar names include Eric Edelman, Feith's replacement at the Pentagon, and former Democratic Congressman Stephen Solarz.

(Sibel's) 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.

I'd quibble with this a little, Sibel has repeatedly said that her case involves criminal infiltration, not state-based espionage. As I wrote back in 2006:

"Sibel's case is about the systematic, long-term, for-profit, looting of US nuclear secrets (and who knows what else) by criminal organizations who then sell the nuclear technology to the highest bidder(s) - including terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

To make matters worse, this has been taking place with the full knowledge of the US government."

Back to The Times:

The wider nuclear network has been monitored for many years by a joint Anglo-American intelligence effort. But rather than shut it down, investigations by law enforcement bodies such as the FBI and Britain’s Revenue & Customs have been aborted to preserve diplomatic relations.

Again, I'd quibble with the purported reason for why the investigations were shut down. It may be true that diplomatic relations were at stake, but it's also true that the people at the Pentagon and the State Dept who repeatedly shut down the investigations were also personally profiting from the whole enterprise, which may have (ahem) coloured their decision making process.

Here Sibel describes how investigations were shut down, despite the protestations of FBI agents (she also names Grossman here)

It's also important to note that they haven't specified which 'diplomatic relations' are at stake here. It's not just Pakistan. As Sibel said:

We don’t know what diplomatic relations they are referring to.  They must be ashamed of it! They don’t want to mention it. So we have certain diplomatic relations that prevent criminals being prosecuted here. And I am talking about criminals in the United States of America.

The Times article then describes an FBI investigation into "links between the Turks and Pakistani, Israeli and US targets":

The Turks and Israelis had planted "moles" in military and academic institutions which handled nuclear technology. Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. "The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States," she said.

They were helped, she says, by (Marc Grossman) who provided some of their moles – mainly PhD students – with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the US nuclear deterrent.
[...]
The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, because they were less likely to attract suspicion...

The article goes on to describe how the head of the ISI, General Mahmoud Ahmad, is a supporter of al-Qaeda, including partly financing the 911 terrorist attacks, and is also good friends with AQ Khan. Obviously the nuclear secrets stolen from the US fed directly into Pakistan's nuclear program, and also into Khan's proliferation network. The so-called 'AQ  Khan network' provided the nuclear programs of Iran, North Korea, Libya, and possibly up to a dozen other countries.  Not only that, immediately prior to 911, Osama Bin Laden met with people in Khan's network with the aim of al-Qaeda acquiring nukes.

The article also describes how the ISI 'penetrated' the FBI translation unit in DC where Sibel worked, in much the same way that the Turkish network had placed moles there - enabling them to block important translations, steal incriminating documents, and recruit others to conduct espionage within the translation unit. Remarkably, this 'penetration' was not the result of remarkable sneakiness and superior spy-craft by the ISI and the Turkish networks - all evidence in both cases indicates that the penetration was condoned & enabled by senior people within the US government. Former FBI counterintelligence veteran John Cole (and others, including Sibel) describes the placement, despite his objections, of ISI operatives in the translation unit here.

The Times article then notes something that I reported 18 months ago.  Immediately after 911, the FBI arrested a bunch of people suspected of being involved with the attacks - including four associates of key targets of FBI's counterintelligence operations. Sibel heard the targets tell Marc Grossman: "We need to get them out of the US because we can’t afford for them to spill the beans."  Grossman duly facilitated their release from jail and the suspects immediately left the country without further investigation or interrogation.

Let me repeat that for emphasis: The #3 guy at the State Dept facilitated the immediate release of 911 suspects at the request of targets of the FBI's investigation.

Back to The Times:

Edmonds also claims that a number of senior officials in the Pentagon had helped Israeli and Turkish agents.

"The people provided lists of potential moles from Pentagon-related institutions who had access to databases concerning this information," she said.

"The handlers, who were part of the diplomatic community, would then try to recruit those people to become moles for the network. The lists contained all their ‘hooking points’, which could be financial or sexual pressure points, their exact job in the Pentagon and what stuff they had access to."

The article notes that Larry Franklin was one of those implicated in the scheme. However, Sibel has previously noted that Franklin was essentially a pawn in the system. More significant is the fact that high-level Pentagon officials were maintaining 'dossiers' on the sexual and financial proclivities of their underlings in order to be able to blackmail them.

I know that many of you have been (rightly) concerned about FISA, and many of you have (rightly) been confused by the inexplicable behaviour of Democrats in Congress, and wonder why they behave as though they are being blackmailed.

Now you know.

If any American journalists/media wants to step up, please remember that the nuclear black market story covered by The Times is just one element of Sibel's case.

Bradblog has more

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Sibel has publishedon her site, without comment, photos of 18 people.  This is clearly her way of getting around the gag orders and 'naming names' - the guilty parties - without naming them!  I've posted the names and photos at  Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

I'll try to have more tomorrow when I can post a new diary.

Cross-posted at Let Sibel Edmonds Speak

(Email meif you want to be added to my Sibel email list. Subject: 'Sibel email list')

Originally posted to lukery on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 08:24 AM PST.

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