Mouradian: Exclusive Interview with FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds

Sibel Edmonds
Sibel Edmonds

On April 23, 2007, I sat down in Washington, D.C. with FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds for an extensive interview, which was published in the Armenian Weekly and on ZNet and widely circulated. On Aug. 18, 2009, I conducted a follow-up phone interview with Edmonds, who was visiting New Zealand. The interview is an overview of what has transpired in her case since 2007, with emphasis on her deposition in the Schmidt vs. Krikorian case in Ohio earlier this month.

Edmonds, an FBI language specialist, was fired from her job with the FBI’s Washington Field Office in March 2002. Her crime was reporting security breaches, cover-ups, blocking of intelligence, and the bribery of U.S. individuals including high-ranking officials. The “state secrets privilege” has often been invoked to block court proceedings on her case, and the U.S. Congress has even been gagged to prevent further discussion.Edmonds uncovered, for example, a covert relationship between Turkish groups and former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who reportedly received tens of thousands of dollars in bribes in return for withdrawing the Armenian Genocide Resolution from the House floor in 2000.

Born in Iran in 1970, Edmonds received her BA in criminal justice and psychology from George Washington University, and her MA in public policy and international commerce from George Mason University. She is the founder and director of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) and in 2006 received the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award. She speaks Turkish, Farsi, and Azerbaijani.

Below is the full transcript of the follow-up interview.


Khatchig Mouradian—I asked you in 2007 what had changed during the five years since 2002, when you first contacted the Senate Judiciary Committee to reveal the story on Turkish bribery of high-level U.S. officials. You said, “There has been no hearing and nobody has been held accountable. We are basically where we started…” Two more years have passed, we have a new president, and I have to ask the same question again. Has there been any change?

Sibel Edmonds—Nothing has changed. As far as the Congress is concerned, the Democrats have been the majority since November 2006 and I have had zero interest from Congress on having hearings—any hearings—on this issue, whether it’s the states secrets privilege portion of it or the involved corruption cases. The current majority has been at least as bad as the previous one. At least the Republicans were gutsy enough to come and say, We’re not going to touch this. But the new majority is not saying anything!

The Obama Administration is pretty new. For what I see, they are continuing the previous administration’s state secrets privilege policies. As far as the whistleblower protection and related legislations are concerned, the new White House has already made it clear that they do not want to provide any protection for national security whistleblowers—these are the whistleblowers from the FBI, CIA, and all the other intelligence and law enforcement agencies and, of course, the Defense Department.

As far as the mainstream media is concerned, at least from what I have seen, the situation has actually gotten worse. To me that seems to be the major reason behind the Congress’ and the White House’s inaction and lack of desire to pursue accountability. As long as the pressure from the mainstream media is not there, of course they aren’t going to act. They are driven by that pressure, and the mainstream media in the U.S. today does not fulfill its role and responsibility by providing that pressure.

Of the three—Congress, the executive branch, and the media—I would say the biggest culprit here is the mainstream media.

K.M.—The most recent example of the deafening silence of the mainstream media was your deposition during the Schmidt vs. Krikorian case on Aug. 8. There, you spoke, under oath, about how the Turkish government and a network of lobby groups and high-ranking U.S. officials and Congressmen have engaged in treason and blackmail. A big story by any standards, it was only covered by Armenian newspapers and a few blogs. How do you explain this silence?

S.E.—I know field reporters who are so excited and want to chase the story. But when they went to their papers—and I’m talking about mainstream media and very good investigative journalists—their editors are refusing to touch it. When you watch the video or read the transcript, you will see how explosive the deposition was. And remember, I was speaking under oath. If by any standard, if I were to lie or be untruthful in any way, I would go to jail. I am answering these questions under oath, and yet, the mainstream media is refusing to touch it. And this is very similar to what we saw with the AIPAC/Larry Franklin case.

I have emphasized the fact that the American Turkish Council [ATC], the Turkish lobby, and these Turkish networks, they work together, in partnership with AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and JINSA [Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs]. So not only is there pressure on media outlets from the Turkish lobby and the corrupt U.S. persons involved, but they also have this pressure placed on the media via their partners from the Israel lobby—and the latter’s influence on the mainstream media in the U.S. is undeniable.

The irony is that my deposition has made it to the front page of Turkish newspapers—and Turkey doesn’t even pride itself with freedom of the media—yet the mainstream media has not written a single word about it.

K.M.—In an article you wrote about the 4th of July titled, “It Ain’t about Hot Dogs and Fireworks,” you say: “Recall the words of the Constitution Oath that all federal employees, all federal judges, all military personnel, all new citizens are required to take, step back, and pay special attention to these lines: ‘support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies—foreign and domestic.’ Now ask yourself who is meant by ‘domestic’ enemies.”

Talk about these “domestic enemies.”

S.E.—The domestic enemies I refer to are the U.S. officials, whether elected or appointed, who do not represent the interest of the American people—whether they are national security or foreign policy-related interests—and instead, they represent their own greed, their own financial benefit and/or foreign interests. A good example here is Dennis Hastert.

Less than three years after Vanity Fair ran a story about Hastert’s covert relationship with Turkish groups, Hastert’s group announced that it’s the registered lobbyist for the government of Turkey receiving, $35,000 a month from the Turkish interests. How much more vindication does the American mainstream media want? This man, for years, cashed in while he was under oath to be loyal and represent American interests and the Constitution. While in Congress, this man was not only representing foreign governments, but also foreign criminal entities. As soon as this man got out of Congress, he came out of the closet and officially became a representative of foreign interests. Bob Livingston [a former Republican Congressman from Louisiana] is another example. As soon as he got out of Congress, he registered under FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] to represent foreign interests. Steven Solarz [a former Democratic Congressman from New York] is yet another example.

Another prominent example is Mark Grossman at the State Department. For years, he has been representing foreign entities. In fact, he’s been violating criminal laws in the U.S. And guess what? He leaves the State Department in 2005 and he’s immediately placed on the payroll by a company in Turkey called Ihlas Holding, and he goes and joins a lobby and starts representing Turkish entities’ interests.

These opportunities do not come when these people leave their offices. In order for these people to secure these jobs and lucrative payments, they have to serve these foreign entities while they are in office. And they have done just that!

The victims here are the American people, their national security, and the integrity of this government. And in many cases that I know about, it is about our national security-related, intelligence-related information that is being easily provided to foreign entities by these individuals. Based on the laws we have since the beginning of this nation, these people should be prosecuted criminally.

K.M.—I am reminded of the saying, “God protect me from my friends, and I’ll take care of my enemies.” Isn’t Turkey supposed to be an ally of the U.S.?

S.E.—If you were to go and see our government’s own latest report, under the espionage section, the top countries are Israel, China, with Turkey coming third or fourth. You are looking at two ally countries here, Israel and Turkey, penetrating and stealing our intelligence, military, and classified technology information. Why would your allies penetrate your State Department, Department of Defense, and get away with it? Why would your allies want to steal from you?

K.M.—Let’s talk about the Krikorian vs. Schmidt case. Specifically, why did you decide to testify and what can you say about the efforts to block your testimony?

S.E.—I was contacted by Mr. Krikorian’s attorneys, who said they wanted to receive my sworn testimony and also depose me as a witness on the case they had in court. I went and checked out their case, and I saw that it involves the Turkish lobby and certain Turkish interest groups, and also, a Representative, Jean Schmidt [R-Ohio], who was receiving campaign donations from these groups. I saw, based on the publicly available information from their case that there was a pattern, and decided that my testimony would be directly relevant and extremely important to this case, despite the fact that I did not have any information specifically about Schmidt (I left the FBI in 2002). So I said yes, if they were to subpoena me and officially ask for my deposition under oath, I would provide it for them.

And then I fulfilled my obligation, as a former FBI contractor who has signed various non-disclosure agreements, to inform the FBI and the Department of Justice that I have been requested to provide my testimony and I am supposed to let you know. They had a day or so to respond. They passed the deadline. And after the deadline, they came back with some whimsical unconstitutional warning saying that under the non-disclose agreement, the FBI and the Department of Justice needed 30 days to review what I was about to testify. I had the attorneys check that and it turned out this is not legal, because oral testimony cannot be submitted—you don’t know what is going to be asked in court. Therefore, the warning they gave me was unconstitutional and not legal. They didn’t have any legal grounds to stop me from testifying, so I went and, under oath, during this five-hour long deposition, answered all the questions, and talked about everything I knew that had to do with Congressional corruption cases that involved various Turkish entities.

K.M.—For years now, this has been a very frustrating issue for you. Have you given up at this point? Is there any hope for change?

S.E.—On the micro level, I have given up. I have done everything anybody could possibly think of, whether it’s approaching the Congress, the court, the Inspector General’s office, the mainstream media, or providing testimony under oath. There’s nothing left to do. It is what it is. It’s being blocked.

On the macro level, I am a U.S. citizen and I am a mother. I have the obligation, the responsibility, to defend the Constitution when it’s my part, my role, to make a difference. And for that, I will never give up. In the U.S., we are witnessing many elements of what we consider a police state. I expect that in countries like Iran, Turkey, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia. But we’re looking at these elements in the U.S., a nation that prides itself at being at the forefront of freedom, democracy, and civil liberties. What happened to that nation?

As a mother, I want to raise my daughter in a place where she feels free to express her opinion. She is right now in a country where her mother has been silenced with gag orders and state secrets privilege.

I grew up with these and I don’t want my daughter to grow up with these.


Khatchig Mouradian

Khatchig Mouradian is a lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University, where he also heads the Armenian studies program. Mouradian’s first book, The Armenian Genocide and Resistance in Ottoman Syria during WWI, is forthcoming. Mouradian is also the author of articles on genocide, mass violence, unarmed resistance, and approaches to teaching history; the co-editor of a forthcoming book on late-Ottoman history; and the editor of the peer-reviewed journal The Armenian Review. His most recent publications include: “The Very Limit of our Endurance: Unarmed Resistance in Ottoman Syria during WWI,” in End of the Ottomans: The Genocide of 1915 and the Politics of Turkish Nationalism (London: I.B Tauris, 2019); and “Internment and Destruction: Concentration Camps during the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1916,” Internment during the First World War: A Mass Global Phenomenon (London: Routledge Studies in First World War History, 2018). Previously, Mouradian has taught courses on imperialism, mass violence, concentration camps, urban space and conflict in the Middle East, the aftermaths of war and mass violence, and human rights at Worcester State University, Clark University, Stockton University, Rutgers University, and California State University – Fresno.


  1. Of course, has anyone in our wonderful Congressional Armenian Caucus bothered to look into the Sibel Edmonds case, call hearings, bring it to the nation’s attention, rallied their colleagues around the issue, and speak about it on the floor of Congress?  

    If they have, to any significant extent, we have yet to hear about it. 

    Congress is not, after all, bound by the Federal gag order on Sibel.

    The Armenian Caucus does not want to rock the boat, it seems.  

    Sibel has alleged for several years now – yes, several years – that Turkish spies have been operating in the US.  And no, this issue did not suddenly make an appearance during Sibel’s Krikorian case deposition.

    It’s pretty easy to fool Armenians.  A Congressman has to merely join the Armenian Caucus, and we swoon over him or her.  We’re cheap dates.

    This is the state of the Armenian American community today.  This is the state of our political organizations today.

  2. I agree with David, we are cheap dates.   Congressman promise to give some lip service to a Genocide Resolution that they know has a long shot of passing and in turn we do  fundraisers for them.  Heck we don’t even demand results just that they sign on as a co-sponsor.  And when the DEMOCRATIC leadership shelves the vote…what do we do ?  We go right back to supporting them as if they were not the ones who killed the vote.   I thought things would change when the democratics took over the House but nothing has changed.
    Just what exactly is the purpose of the Armenian Caucus if its not going to look into the allegations that are being made here?  Why not hold a hearing.  Congressman hold hearings about all sorts of topics that frankly they have minimal influence over (Steroids in baseball comes to mind).  Why not a hearing over this topic, at least it would be something meaningful.

  3. Did you guys even read the article?  It is clearly stated in the second paragraph that “the U.S. Congress has even been gagged to prevent further discussion”.  Also, NEVER talk down on the ANCA.  Words cannot express what they have done for the Armenian Cause against all odds and with the smallest staff (only a van full).  They have helped Armenians FAR MORE than the Armenian government.

  4. I deeply suspect Ms. Edmond’s loyalty to the US. She has abandoned her previous loyalties (Iran, Turkey) with ease, she can do it again. As they say in the army, never trust a betrayer, even if they betrayed your enemies…
    On the other front, it is clear she is desperate trying to get attention, and her motives should be questioned…to me , it seems like she is managing a PR campaign to settle for a lucrative book deal or something. 

  5. Levent must have just discovered Sibel Edmonds because he obviously doesn’t know (or didn’t read the article?) that she has been whistle blowing for 7 YEARS now and has got nothing for it except threats of imprisonment from the US government. She will never get a “book deal” because every publisher is owned by the same a-holes who own the Mainstream Media which has not whispered ONE WORD about her or her evidence…it’s a blackout.
    How can a person be so stupid as to question a person’s loyalty to America when that person is trying to fulfill her (and ALL of our) obligation to defend the constitution against “Domestic enemies”? I would call government officials who sell state secrets to foreign governments and take bribes to run congress for the benefit of foreign entities “domestic enemies”.

  6. Mr levant
    You are obviously one of those Israeli paid surfers; paid to attack anything or anyone that is harmful to “the Fatherland and “Bibi”. Yes Sibel was a traitor to Iran at about the age of 2 (two) She took her pacifier and a few diapers and left. She has never been a big fan of Turkey or Iran for that matter. She is instead a big fan of human rights and justice no matter what country. Do not forget: you are a human first. your first loyalty is to humanity, your second is to you family, your third is to your country. If you don’t believe that you would have done well in Nazi Germany or the up-and-comming New USA (which Sibel is afraid of). YOU CAN BE A LOYAL AMERICAN WITHOUT BEING LOYAL TO THE GOVERNMENT. She has been a loyal US citizen for 2/3 of here life, so loyal that she will stand up for the Constitution.  Do you find Obama and Bush or most of Congress  more loyal? Do they honor thier oath to the Constitution?
    If Sibel does write a book it is only more insurance for her life and the life of her family. If she shuts up and says nothing she is probably more likely to face an unexpected early death as many that “knew too much” have had happen to them.

  7. levant is obviously one of those megaphonies, no one that has even 1/100th shred of loyalty to America would ever question Sibels loyalty to this country. the people who really run this country don’t take kindly to dissent and whistleblowers, and it isn’t above them to suicide people who threaten their power grid (DC Madame for instance?) How much is Bibi (what an awful nickname for a supposed ADULT) paying you to be a megaphony and traiotr against your own country (i assume you are an american if you have any care on commenting on loyalty to this country)? levant just because you don’t spout the knee jerk “anti-semite” do you think your motivations are any more opaque?

  8. It gives some hope that there are yet a few honest and courageous people willing to stand up for liberty and resurrect some of the honor that this country let die. “Thank you,” Sibel.

  9. “It gives some hope that there are yet a few honest and courageous people willing to stand up for liberty and resurrect some of the honor that this country let die. “Thank you,” Sibel.”
    It is always great to see someone do the right thing

  10. Now you know why the NWO, illuminati, corporate gangsters and the corrupt legions of authority wish to silence the internet and free speech whether it be on the tv, street or your computer screen. Thugs in power are like cock roaches when stories like this are brought out to the light of day. Our world today is ruled by corruption and the more who join, the stronger it gets. 

  11. Ha Ha Ha. That was amusing. See the Zionist megaphony propagandist busted by everyone the moment it shoved its pointy little nose in. Nice work Levant, lucky you’re not paid on results, just efforts. Say hi to the old war criminal Bibi won’t you.

  12. Interestingly enough, Sibel’s recent testimony has not been released.  We should be asking why.  Anyone know the names & addresses of the people holding her testimony?

  13. Even if 5% of what Sibel Edmonds testified in her deposition in the Krikorian case is true, it is alarming as well as frightening.

  14. Hello America,
    We all had been brainwashed for years to “TRUST OUR GOVERNMENT” .TRUST IN GOD ONLY !!!
    TRUTH CAN NOT BE ALTERED TO CREATE HISTORY, IT EITHER IS TRUTH OR BS> BLANANT LIES. Knowing the status of the “Corporate Takeover of Congress ” and Special Interest control of these puppet’s with money leaves one to believe that “THE REAL ENEMY ” IS Not in a foreign country. “BUT WITHIN ” IE>>CONGRESS & WASHINGTON.
    Just think these ROYAL SERVANTS PUT A SKULL & BONES(GWB.) DIMWIT IN OVAL OFFICE.NEOCON BASTARDS ARE DESTROYING AMERICA.. The SOCIAL Cancer started from GREED. The end will be the demise of America.
    America has had a spiral into A DICTATORSHIP > Socialism with Domestic/& Foreign Interest pulling the strings. NWO BULLSHIT
    The “people see but do not believe ” their DEMISE . The Constitution is now just a ancient document because the protectors of constitution are all bought traitors. Founding Fathers are rising out of ground in Horror..

  15. Someone above was offended that ANCA was possibly criticized. It is this kind of childish feelings that hampers fruitful work. If Sibel Edmonds fight is about politics and cover-up then why indeed we haven’t seen ANCA or AAA demand those representatives who immeasurably benefit from grass-roots Armenian campaigs (unlike the illicit Turkish activities, unmasked by Ms. Edmonds) to deliver on their promises to help the Armenian communities in the US ?
    This is a criminal issue implicating highest levels of US officialdom working not just against Armenians but against  American interests as well, for heavens sake !!
    Why not criticize ANCA for sleeping on the job? that would be a very healthy exercise.

  16. Hye, appears Sibel Edmonds issue is ‘omitted’ from the media of the United States of America (in the United States of America)!  When/how did we lose our freedoms of our American press?  Which leads me to also think, what more have Americans been losing?   To whom? Howsomever, now Edmonds material appears in languages of world’s press in various languages…  and for inclusion in the internet…  Manooshag
    Please don’t include the convoluted Turkish version… Historically, a Turkey agrees to agreements – then the agreement is not the agreement that was agreed to, as Turks then change the rules after the agreement is agreed to – ploy after ploy , time and time again, for these 100 years. When shall the civilized nations of the world stop accepting any of the dishonesty put forth by all the Turkish leaderships – who, sadly, are still functioning in the Ottoman mode.  Manooshag
    mentalityl in their relations with the world…

  17. I truly agree with you…I have been a member of ANCA- we do a lot of work to support the Armenian cause whether at a state level or Federal level.

  18. Someone also failed to ask her of what parentage she is.
    In all such cases usually the author or anyone else comes up …¨was born in X country from an Armenian or else Azeri,persian, turkish,kurdish,Assyrian ,arab,whatever father and mother was russian or seb, or some such ..
    Why do I mention this point?
    Simple, it will be more facile to judge as to leniency(at least a bit) to this to that nation/state or just people,like say a half Assyrian and half jewish or Azeri, Armenian by birth and educated …etc., etc., etc.
    Just curious…

  19. Hey, ”Duke”. I liked the following that you wrote :

    ”Do not forget: you are a human first. your first loyalty is to humanity, your second is to you family, your third is to your country.”

    Actually, as a humanist and anti-nationalist, I wouldn’t put ‘country loyalty’ at even third place. It should be way down in the list.

    Greetings and peace wishes from Istanbul.

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