ANCA Joins Coalition Pushing for Hearings in Whistleblower Case Urges House Oversight Committee to lift gag order on Sibel Edmonds; Investigate abuse of State Secret Privilege

WASHINGTON, DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) joined a broad cross-section of civil liberties, public policy and human rights groups today in calling on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in Congress to hold public hearings on the case of FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Edmonds, a former FBI Language Specialist, was fired from the FBI after reporting concerns about inferior translations relating to the 9-11 attacks and possible espionage within the agency. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Inspector General would later confirm many of Edmonds’ assertions. However, the DOJ used the State Secrets Privilege to deny her legal recourse and prevent Congress from exploring the matter. Civil Liberties advocates argue that Edmonds’ case is an example of other instances where whistleblowers, who tried to inform Congress and taxpayers about national security threats, were intimidated, silenced, and retaliated against. A petition to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, signed by thirty prominent groups, including OMB Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Concerned Foreign Service Officers, Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington (CREW), Government Accountability Project (GAP), U.S.-Armenian Public Affairs Committee (USAPAC), Project on Government Oversight (POGO), and the ANCA, was delivered earlier today. The full text of the petition is provided below. The Sibel Edmonds Whistleblower case has received broad media attention, including a 10-page expose in the September 2005, issue of "Vanity Fair". According to the article by contributing editor David Rose, Edmonds claimed that FBI wiretaps reveal that the Turkish government and its allies boasted of bribing–with as much as $500,000 the former Speaker of the House of Representatives as part of an alleged deal to stop consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. The article cites accounts by Edmonds regarding FBI wiretaps of the Turkish Embassy and Turkish groups such as the American Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), including conversations concerning former Speaker Hastert’s dramatic reversal on legislation concerning the Armenian Genocide. In October 2000, despite overwhelming Congressional support, Speaker Hastert reversed his initial support and removed the Armenian Genocide resolution (H.Res.596) from the House docket just minutes before the resolution was scheduled for a vote, citing national security concerns by President Clinton. The American Turkish Council and the ATAA have already registered their opposition to pending Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.106), which was introduced by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and currently has 179 cosponsors. In an interview published in "Today’s Zaman" newspaper on February 2, 2007, ATC President James H. Holmes stated that, "Our interest is seeing this resolution defeated, derailed, delayed. I don’t care what the formula is. We want it to fail."

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