FW: [ RadSafe ] Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe
mbower at sprintmail.com
Sun Feb 17 15:12:11 CST 2008
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf
Of Clayton Bradt
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2008 1:14 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe
>From The Sunday Times (UK)
January 27, 2008
Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe
Insight: Chris Gourlay, Jonathan Calvert, Joe Lauria in Washington
AN investigation into the illicit sale of American nuclear secrets was
compromised by a senior official in the State Department, a former FBI
employee has claimed.
The official is said to have tipped off a foreign contact about a
bogus CIA company used to investigate the sale of nuclear secrets.
The firm, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was a front for Valerie
Plame, the former CIA agent. Her public outing two years later in 2003
by White House officials became a cause celèbre.
The claims that a State Department official (This official has been
identified elsewhere as Marc Grossman, former No. 3 at the Dept. of
State who recently resigned to join The Cohen Group, consultants to the
American Turkish Council...cjb) blew the investigation into a nuclear
smuggling ring have been made by Sibel Edmonds, 38, a former Turkish
language translator in the FBIs Washington field office.
Edmonds had been employed to translate hundreds of hours of
intercepted recordings made during a six-year FBI inquiry into the
nuclear smuggling ring.
She has previously told The Sunday Times she heard evidence that
foreign intelligence agents had enlisted US officials to acquire a
network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.
Her latest claims relate to a number of intercepted recordings
believed to have been made between the summer and autumn of 2001. At
that time, foreign agents were actively attempting to acquire the West
s nuclear secrets and technology.
Among the buyers were Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Paki-stans
intelligence agency, which was working with Abdul Qadeer Khan, the
father of the Islamic bomb, who in turn was selling nuclear
technology to rogue states such as Libya.
Plame, then 38, was the glamorous wife of a former US ambassador, Joe
Wilson. Despite recently giving birth to twins, she travelled widely
for her work, often claiming to be an oil consultant. In fact she was a
career CIA agent who was part of a small team investigating the same
procurement network that the State Department official is alleged to
Brewster Jennings was one of a number of covert enterprises set up to
infiltrate the nuclear ring. It is is believed to have been based in
Boston and consisted of little more than a name, a telephone number and
a post office box address.
Plame listed the company as her employer on her 1999 tax forms and
used its name when she made a $1,000 contribution to Al Gores
presidential primary campaign.
The FBI was also running an inquiry into the nuclear network. When
Edmonds joined the agency after the 9/11 attacks she was given the job
of reviewing the evidence.
The FBI was monitoring Turkish diplomatic and political figures based
in Washington who were allegedly working with the Israelis and using
moles in military and academic institutions to acquire nuclear
The creation of this nuclear ring had been assisted, Edmonds says, by
the senior official in the State Department who she heard in one
conversation arranging to pick up a $15,000 bribe.
One group of Turkish agents who had come to America on the pretext of
researching alternative energy sources was introduced to Brewster
Jennings through the Washington-based American Turkish Council (ATC), a
lobby group that aids commercial ties between the countries. Edmonds
says the Turks believed Brewster Jennings to be energy consultants and
were planning to hire them.
But she said: He [the State Department official] found out about the
arrangement . . . and he contacted one of the foreign targets and said
. . . you need to stay away from Brewster Jennings because they are a
cover for the government.
The target . . . immediately followed up by calling several people to
warn them about Brewster Jennings.
At least one of them was at the ATC. This person also called an ISI
person to warn them. If the ISI was made aware of the CIA front
company, then this would almost certainly have damaged the
investigation into the activities of Khan. Plames cover would also
have been compromised, although Edmonds never heard her name mentioned
on the intercepts. Shortly afterwards, Plame was moved to a different
The State Department official said on Friday: It is impossible to
find a strong enough way to deny these allegations which are both false
It would be more than two years before Khan was forced to admit he had
been selling nuclear weapons technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea.
In the meantime, the role of Plame and Brewster Jennings became public
knowledge in 2003. Plames husband, Wilson, wrote a report that
undermined claims by President George W Bush that Saddam Husseins
regime had attempted to buy uranium in Niger a key justification for
the invasion of Iraq.
The following week Robert Novak, a journalist, revealed that Wilsons
wife was a CIA agent. In the scandal that followed, Novaks sources
were revealed to be two senior members of the Bush administration. A
third, Lewis Scooter Libby, was convicted of obstructing the criminal
investigation into the affair.
Phillip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, said: Its pretty clear Plame
was targeting the Turks. If indeed that [State Department] official was
working with the Turks to violate US law on nuclear exports, it would
have been in his interest to alert them to the fact that this womans
company was affiliated to the CIA. I dont know if thats treason
legally but many people would consider it to be.
The FBI denied the existence of a specific case file about any outing
of Brewster Jennings by the State Department official, in a response to
a freedom of information request. However, last week The Sunday Times
obtained a document, signed by an FBI official, showing that the file
did exist in 2002.
Plame declined to comment, saying that she was unable to discuss her
covert work at the CIA.
Clayton J. Bradt
dutchbradt at hughes.net
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