UQ Wire: F.B.I. Rebuked Over Sibel Edmonds Firing
Inspector General Rebukes F.B.I. over
Espionage Case and Firing of Whistle-Blower
By Eric Lichtblau
The New York Times
Saturday 15 January 2005
Washington - The F.B.I. has failed to aggressively investigate accusations of espionage against a translator at the bureau and fired the translator's co-worker in large part for bringing the accusations, the Justice Department's inspector general concluded on Friday.
In a long-awaited report that the Justice Department sought for months to keep classified, the inspector general issued a sharp rebuke to the F.B.I. over its handling of claims of espionage and ineptitude made by Sibel Edmonds, a bureau translator who was fired in 2002 after superiors deemed her conduct "disruptive."
Ms. Edmonds, who translated material in Turkish, Persian and Azerbaijani, had complained about slipshod translations and management problems in the bureau's translation section and raised accusations of possible espionage against a fellow linguist.
The report from the office of Glenn A. Fine, the Justice Department's inspector general, reached no conclusions about whether Ms. Edmonds's co-worker had actually engaged in espionage, and it did not give details about the espionage accusations because they remain classified. But officials have said Ms. Edmonds said the co-worker, a fellow Turkish linguist, had blocked the translation of material involving foreign acquaintances of hers who had come under suspicion.
In general, Mr. Fine's investigation found that many of Ms. Edmonds's accusations "were supported, that the F.B.I. did not take them seriously enough and that her allegations were, in fact, the most significant factor in the F.B.I.'s decision to terminate her services."
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