BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN
This week, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is expected to plead guilty to the charge of making secret payments to buy the silence of boys he had sexually abused when he was a high school wrestling coach. This plea deal with federal prosecutors would seal his court records, thus hiding from the public the details of the evidence against him.
Ever since 2005 when former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds exposed corruption at the highest levels of the US government, concerned citizens have been waiting impatiently for law enforcement officials to look into her shocking revelations.
Given the regrettably long silence by Washington and the mainstream US media, I believe it is time to expose once again the scandalous cover up of the claims that Turkish groups had bribed Speaker Hastert.
Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, published in The American Conservative last week the sinister details of foreign governments blackmailing Speaker Hastert.
Edmonds was fired from her FBI position after revealing to her superiors the penetration of US government entities by Turkish agents “who were seeking to influence U.S. foreign policy while sometimes engaging in illegal activity,” according to Giraldi. “The scope of the corruption allegedly involved bribery of senior government officials and congressmen, arranging for export licenses to countries that were embargoed, and the exposure of classified information,” Giraldi wrote.
In a 2009 deposition, Edmonds explained that Hastert was “one of the primary U.S. persons involved in operations and activities that are not legal, and they’re not for the interest of the United States but for the interest of foreign governments and foreign entities.” She described Hastert’s wrongdoing as: “The acceptance of large sums of bribery in forms of cash or laundered cash and laundering it to make it look legal for his campaigns, and also for his personal use, in order to do certain favors and call certain — call for certain actions, make certain things happen for foreign entities and foreign governments’ interests, Turkish government’s interest and Turkish business entities’ interests.”
During the deposition, Edmonds was asked: “Did you have reason to believe that Mr. Hastert, for example, killed one of the Armenian genocide resolutions in exchange for money from these Turkish organizations?” She responded: “Yes, I do…. Correct… and not only taking money, but other activities, too, including being blackmailed for various reasons.” After retiring from the House of Representatives, Hastert worked for the Washington firm of Dickstein Shapiro as a registered lobbyist for Turkey.
Edmonds also revealed during her deposition that Hastert “used the townhouse [in Chicago] that was not his residence for certain not very morally accepted activities. Now, whether that was being used as blackmail I don’t know, but the fact that foreign entities knew about this, in fact, they sometimes participated in some of those not maybe morally well activities in that particular townhouse that was supposed to be an office, not a house, residence, at certain hours, certain days, evenings of the week. So I can’t say if that was used as blackmail or not, but certain activities they would share. They were known.”
Edmonds told congressional investigators that on FBI phone recordings Turkish individuals boasted of their secret relationship with Hastert. “They discussed giving him tens of thousands of dollars in clandestine payments in exchange for political favors and information. Many of the transcripts involved a suspect at the city’s Turkish Consulate, as well as several members of the American-Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, business entities that some FBI agents believed served as occasional covers for organized crime. Some calls appeared to be referring to drug shipments and other possible crimes,” Giraldi wrote.
“Edmonds noted that the phone taps contained repeated references to Hastert’s volte face [change of position] in the fall of 2000 over the campaign to have Congress designate the killings of Armenians in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 a genocide. In August 2000, Speaker Hastert declared that he would support the resolution and send it to the full House for a vote. The resolution, vehemently opposed by the Turks, did indeed pass in the International Relations Committee by a large majority. Then, on October 19, shortly before a full House vote, Hastert withdrew it…. A senior official at the Turkish Consulate indicated in one recorded conversation that the “price for convincing Hastert to withdraw the genocide resolution would be at least $500,000,” Giraldi reported in his article.
Fifteen years later, the American public is still waiting for the US government to investigate the serious allegations of Turkish bribery and blackmail of Speaker Hastert!