Sassounian: Turkey Pays CIA Director and Lobbyists to Misrepresent Attacks on Kurds and ISIS

Thousands of articles have been published worldwide in recent weeks exposing Turkey’s strategic trickery—using the pretext of fighting ISIS to carry out a genocidal bombing campaign against the Kurds who have courageously countered ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 12 that a senior U.S. military official accused Turkey of deceiving the American government by allowing its use of Incirlik Airbase to attack ISIS as a cover for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s war on Kurdish fighters (PKK) in northern Iraq. So far, Turkey has carried out 300 air strikes against the PKK, and only 3 against ISIS! Erdogan’s intent in punishing the Kurds is to gain the sympathy of Turkish voters in the next parliamentary elections, enabling his party to win an outright majority and establish an autocratic presidential theocracy.

A Turkish plane takes off from the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey in August 2013. PHOTO: VADIM GHIRDA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
A Turkish plane takes off from the Incirlik Airbase in southern Turkey in August 2013 (Photo: Vadim Ghirda)

To conceal its deception and mislead the American public, within days of starting its war on the Kurds, Ankara hired Squire Patton Boggs for $32,000 a month as a subcontractor to the powerful lobbying firm, the Gephardt Group. Squire Patton Boggs includes former Senators Trent Lott and John Breaux, and retired White House official Robert Kapla. The Gephardt lobbying team for Turkey consists of subcontractors Greenberg Traurig, Brian Forni, Lydia Borland, and Dickstein Shapiro LLP; the latter recently added to its lobbying staff former CIA Director Porter Goss. Other lobbying firms hired by Turkey are Goldin Solutions, Alpaytac, Finn Partners, Ferah Ozbek, and Golin/Harris International. According to U.S. Justice Department records, Turkey pays these lobbying/public relations firms around $5 million a year. Furthermore, several U.S. non-profit organizations serve as fronts for the Turkish government to promote its interests in the United States and take members of Congress and journalists on all-expenses-paid junkets to Turkey.

Among the U.S. lobbyists for Turkey, perhaps the most questionable is Porter Goss, the CIA director from 2004 to 2006, who has agreed to sell his soul and possibly U.S. national secrets for a fistful of Turkish liras.

It is noteworthy that in a report that Goss filed with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, he avoided answering the question regarding his compensation from the Turkish government. He simply wrote: “Salary not based solely on services rendered to the foreign principal [Turkey]”!

In the same form, filed on April 23, 2015, Goss described his services for Turkey as follows:

1) provide counsel in connection with the extension and strengthening of the Turkish-American relationship in a number of key areas that are the subject of debate in Congress, including trade, energy security, counter-terrorism efforts, and efforts to build regional stability in the broader Middle East and Europe;

2) educating members of Congress and the administration on issues of importance to Turkey;

3) notifying Turkey of any action in Congress or the Executive Branch on issues of importance to Turkey;

4) preparing analyses of developments in Congress and the Executive Branch on issues of importance to Turkey.

It is significant that Dickstein Shapiro LLP, Goss’s employer, misled the Justice Department by reporting–two days prior to the start of his employment and three days before the Armenian Genocide Centennial–that the former CIA director had already met on behalf of his lobbying firm with nine members of Congress to discuss “U.S.-Turkish relations.”

Most probably, hiring Porter Goss as a lobbyist for Turkey was a reward for his staunch support of Turkish issues while serving as a Republican Congressman from Florida from 1989 to 2004. During the October 2000 debate on the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the House International Relations Committee, Goss, then the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, testified against the adoption of the resolution, using the excuse that it would harm U.S.-Turkey relations. Nevertheless, the genocide resolution was adopted by a vote of 24 to 11.

It is bad enough that former members of Congress are selling themselves to anyone who is willing to pay them. But, the director of the CIA? This is more than unethical; it is a grave risk to U.S. national security. The American government must not allow the sale of its top spymaster to the highest bidder! What if North Korea offered him a higher price? Would Goss jump ship and lobby for an enemy state just to make a few more dollars?

Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh one billion dollars of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. Harut jan, money per se has little bearing on the matter because Americans and Turks, despite their occasional disagreements, are strategic partners.

  2. For better or worse, lobbyists are a part of the U.S. political system. Sadly ethical considerations, political considerations and money are not usually aligned. Being unethical is a personal shortcoming but it is not illegal. Should any of the mentioned individuals violate U.S. law I hope legal action would be commenced against such people.
    The comment about North Korea is an exaggeration. There are major differences on the world stage between Turkey and North Korea.
    Just as Turkey uses lobbyists to push their causes, it is available to Armenia to do the same.

  3. There are probably five Armenian columnists [in the world], who could write a piece like this one. Harut Sassounian has been doing it [every week], without fail, for 30 years. I hope people appreciate his sacrifice. His education, experience, and wisdom have guided him toward a significant & unparalleled contribution: Three decades of columns…informing the world of relevant facts & figures, unethical behavior, illegal behavior, and hypocrisy.

  4. So the murder of dozens of Turkish policemen and soldiers by PKK is not enough reason for Turks to pound the strongholds of Kurdish terrorists, and they need a cover? Ah, yes, I forgot, these are Turkish losses, not that important…

  5. America is full of high priced traitors and crooks most of which are running our government. Welcome to the fundamental change of amerrica.

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