Update [2005-4-20 16:16:19 by BooMan]:The Washington Post, The New York Times, Daily News, CNN, Reuters America, Bloomberg News, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and several other media organizations also filed an emergency motion appealing the court’s decision. They noted that, “the public has a strong interest in observing this oral argument, as it involves numerous issues of high public importance.”
ACLU Files Emergency Motion to Open Hearing
April 20, 2005
WASHINGTON, DC — The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals this afternoon ordered the courtroom closed to the public during oral arguments tomorrow in Sibel Edmonds’ hearing. The American Civil Liberties Union is filing an emergency motion to open the hearing on the grounds that the move violates the First Amendment.
Although the court has not issued a written order, it did orally instruct the clerk that the hearing would be open only to the attorneys involved in the case and Edmonds. The hearing is listed as closed on the court’s calendar.
The ACLU said the decision does not appear to be based on state secrets concerns as it allows those without security clearance to be present for the arguments. Furthermore, the briefs being argued have been public since they were first filed in early 2005.
Edmonds, a former Middle Eastern language specialist hired by the FBI shortly after 9/11, was fired in 2002 after repeatedly reporting serious security breaches and misconduct.
Edmonds challenged her retaliatory dismissal by filing a lawsuit in federal court, but her case was dismissed last July after Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the so-called “state secrets privilege,” and retroactively classified briefings to Congress related to her case.
The government has argued that every aspect of Edmonds’ case involves state secrets — including where she was born and what languages she speaks. Edmonds is appealing to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to reinstate her case. Several 9/11 family member advocacy groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief in her support. Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU National Office, will argue on behalf of Edmonds.
Immediately following the hearing tomorrow, Beeson and Edmonds, along with 9/11 family members and other national security whistleblowers, will make public comments on the steps at E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse at 333 Constitution Avenue, NW.
There is a good reason that the Justice Dept. is continuing to muzzle former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds.
Chris Deliso: Hmm, well I know you can’t name names, but can you tell me if any specific officials will suffer if your testimony comes out?
Sibel Edmonds: Yes. Certain elected officials will stand trial and go to prison
Edmonds has made several damaging accusations. She has questioned many facets of the Translations Department operation at the FBI. She has questioned the hiring practices, the qualifications of employees, the accountability procedures and much more. She also claims that the FBI had a lot of advance warning that 9/11 was coming and should have issued major FAA warnings no later than spring of 2001.
Of course, now we now that 52 separate FAA warnings were issued, to no effect.
You can read one of my more tin-foilish conjectures on just what Sibel might have stumbled across here.
The more the justice department attempts to stifle Sibel Edmonds, the more credible her claims of high level corruption become. It is truly the first duty of the American citizenry to hold the government accountable. It you are in DC, and you have the time, make sure to be at E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse at 333 Constitution Avenue, NW tomorrow afternoon. All Americans need to support Sibel Edmonds, and we all need to hear her story.
Here are several important Sibel Edmonds’ links.
If you are interested in more information:
CONTACT: Paul Silva, ACLU Nat’l, 917-406-4688 or 212-549-2666; firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracy Zimmerman or Crystal Streuber, 202-518-8047; tracy@PublicInterestPR.com