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According to letters from her attorney faxed hours ago, Sibel Edmonds, the FBI whistleblower, intends to honor the subpoena for her testimony, issued by the Ohio Elections Commission in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case.

The case arises from charges brought by Republican Congresswoman Jean Indeep Schmidt that electoral opponent David Krikorian made "false statements" in the 2008 congressional campaign. Krikorian, who is vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge Schmidt again in 2010, had accused Schmidt of taking "blood money" from the Turkish lobby in exchange for her opposition to a House resolution recognizing the Turkish slaughter of Armenians following 1915 as genocide.

At issue is whether the Turkish lobby really did fund and influence Schmidt for that purpose. For the basic facts of the Genocide Denial Trial with links to background articles, see my diary at

More below the fold...

The Ohio Elections Commission has subpoenaed Edmonds to testify in the case. She intends to honor that subpoena by appearing at a deposition tomorrow in DC, at which, according to the Krikorian campaign, she will divulge information from her years at the FBI about Turkish government and Turkish lobby attempts to illegally influence members of the US Congress, possibly including Schmidt.

The Department of Justice has attempted to stop her testimony. Two letters asserting the invalidity of the subpoena were delivered from DOJ to Edmonds's attorney yesterday, August 6.

Following is the first reply issued by Michael Kohn, attorney for Sibel Edmonds, today:

202-342-1902 (tel) 202-342-1904 (fax) WWW.WHISTLEBLOWERSBLOG.ORG

VIA FACSIMILE 202 3245366

Valerie Caproni
General Counsel
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington D.C. 20535
Re: Sibel Edmonds

Dear. Ms. Caproni:

This letter responds to your letter of August 6, 2009, and specifically to your assertion that Sibel Edmonds "does not have approval for any disclosure of any information covered by the BOA (Basic Ordering Agreement), the Security Acknowledgment form and the Classified Information Non-disclosure agreement."

In order for Ms. Edmonds' counsel to consider your request it is essential that you provide me with full copies the document(s) you claim to prohibit Ms. Edmonds from testifying under compulsion of a subpoena. We also require that you produce a copy of Ms. Edmond's employment agreement as this document may impact on Ms. Edmonds' ability to testify. I trust that this information wil be promptly provided. However, if the documents are not received by close of business today we will interpret this failure as a release of the government's right to suppress Ms. Edmonds' ability to truthfully answer questions while under oath pursuant to a lawful subpoena.

In any event, consistent with my understanding of the Agency's pre-publication clearance rules, oral disclosure, including oral testimony, is permitted without prior review. Consistent with the Agency's pre-publication rules, Ms. Edmonds will attempt, to the best of her ability, not disclose classified information. However, Ms. Edmonds' recollection and judgement as to what information may be subject to lawful non-disclosure would, at best, be imperfect. As such, the FBI has at least
three avenues available to guard against such inadvertent disclosure: 1) fie a request for a protective order with the body that issued the subpoena; 2) file a motion to quash the deposition; and 3) dispatch legal counsel to the deposition capable of raise appropriate objections.

In the past the Agency denied Ms. Edmonds her right to a day in court by raising the States Secrets Privilege. If the government is still of the opinion that the state secrets privilege stil applies then it is up to you to raise this privilege with the necessary accompanying affidavit to the body that issued the subpoena, the Ohio Election Commission. It is our understanding that the States Secrets Privilege is not portable and, as such, the failure to renew the privilege concerning information Ms.
Edmonds learned while employed would have to be raised in this forum as well.

We hereby place you on notice that the failure to take appropriate action (i.e., seeking to quash the deposition, dispatching legal counsel to the deposition, or raising the States Secrets Privilege before the Commission) may be construed as a waiver of any legitimate basis the FBI may have to keep Ms. Edmonds from testifying about certain matters central to an important legal dispute. Moreover, the failure to send an attorney to the deposition risks the inadvertent disclosure of information as Ms. Edmonds may not be aware whether certain information would qualify as confidentiaL.

Very truly yours,

Michael D. Kohn
Counsel to Sibel Edmonds

Here is the second reply letter:

August 7, 2009

VIA EMAIL: [e-mail address deleted]

Vesper Mei
Senior Counsel
Federal Programs Branch
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division
20 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
Re: Sibel Edmonds

Dear Ms. Mei:

Thank you for your letter of August 6, 2009 concerning your opinion that Sibel Edmonds is under no compulsion to testify pursuant to subpoena issued in the Schmidt v. Krikorian matter before the Ohio Election Commission. With respect to not complying with the FBI's procedures concerning Ms. Edmonds ability to testify in the abovementioned matter, please see my attached letter to Valerie Caproni, General Counsel to the FBI.

In your letter you assert that the subpoena issued to Ms. Edmonds is not valid or enforceable and that Ms. Edmonds is under no compulsion to testify. As you know, the subpoena was served on Ms. Edmonds as we have accepted service on her behalf. The fact that the deposition would commence at Ms. Edmonds' convenience in the District of Columbia - rather than forcing her to travel to Ohio - is not a valid basis to assert that
she is not under compulsion to testify. To suggest otherwise would be inconsistent with American legal concepts of fair play and justice.

It is our position that it is the sole responsibility of the FBI and the Department of Justice to take whatever action deemed necessary to limit or prevent Ms. Edmonds from appearing. Ms. Edmonds plans to honor her obligation to appear in accordance with the subpoena and is grateful for the courtesy of permitting the deposition to commence in Washington, D.C. rather than Ohio.

If you believe that the FBI or the Justice Department has any legal basis to halt the deposition or to prevent Ms. Edmonds from testifying, please take whatever action you deem necessary in that regard. The responsibility for doing so is yours not Ms.Edmonds.

Sincerely yours,

Michael D. Kohn
Counsel to Sibel Edmonds

So, the Department of Justice must act fast, to fulfill its mission of seeing justice denied. Otherwise, we're in for some pretty interesting testimony tomorrow.

Support the Krikorian campaign through ActBlue at  

Originally posted to Ohiobama on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:00 PM PDT.


Should the Department of Justice allow Sibel Edmonds to testify?

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Comment Preferences

  •  As I noted in the previous diary about this... (0+ / 0-)

    ...last night, the whole premise of this Sibel-DOJ battle is nuts.  The OEC has absolutely no business evaluating the truth value (up to and including libel) of one candidate's claims against another.  Only the courts can do that--it's not a power than can be delegated.  I assume Krikorian is contesting the substance of the charges, rather than making the prima facie constitutional case, only because he's working with Edmonds to give her a safe forum to make her claims.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:07:09 PM PDT

    •  You have it wrong (0+ / 0-)

      The nature of the OEC hearing is different from that of a legal proceeding. It is a regulatory hearing and falls under the state executive branch, not a judicial proceeding. It is equivalent to the FCC regulating truth in advertising.

      Even though it is not a judicial proceeding, the OEC is still empowered to issue subpoenas. Technically, one should refer to this as an administrative law proceeding.

      It's totally kosher, even if Ms. Schmidt isn't.

      •  That's completely Orwellian and it wouldn't fly. (0+ / 0-)

        If Krikorian said that he's absolutely entitled to say what he said against Schmidt and that she should sue him for libel if she disagrees, there's not a power on earth that can drag him before the OEC.  It's unconditionally legal to make up shit about your election opponent, unless it's libel and there's only one forum to make that charge.

        It's precisely because "the nature of the OEC hearing is different from that of a legal proceeding [...] It is a regulatory hearing," that it has no power to evaluate political speech.  It would be a challenge to come up with a more manifestly unconstitutional idea than that!

        Put another way, administrative law hearings are to settle issues of administrative (in this case, electoral) law.  The substance of political speech by a candidate (as opposed to what others can say, a la McCain-Feingold) can't be addressed by administrative law, or by any law for that matter...again with the exception of libel, which isn't an issue for an administrative body.

        This is merely a novelty observation, because Krikorian must be in (good) cahoots with Edmonds on the whole thing, and more power to them.

        Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

        by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:35:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are just mixed up, sorry (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          For purposes of determining civil or criminal law violations, you would be correct. This has a different purpose, which is the regulation of the conduct of elections.

          Just as the FCC evaluates truth in advertising claims through administrative law proceedings, the OEC evaluates claims made about false statements from candidates for office.

          The purpose is to ensure that the public is not being misinformed. For example, suppose a candidate distributes flyers saying the election has been cancelled, or giving a wrong date for the election. (Such things have happened, notoriously, in Ohio)

          In those cases, the OEC would render a verdict and sanction the candidate distributing the misinformation, so the public gets an objective ruling. Schmidt has herself been the defendant in OEC proceedings on more than one occasion.

          In this case, Schmidt is wrongly applying the law -- the statements made by Krikorian don't fall under the OEC definition of "false statements." Presumably, that will be how OEC rules.

  •  I Still Say It Won't Happen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But I'll be watching for news.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:12:48 PM PDT

  •  This should be very interesting. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mountain Don, neroden, ColoTim, Ohiobama

    Sibel's after the fact gagging with the states secret cloak certainly looked more like a CYA move by the Bush administration than the protection of properly classified information.  I wonder if Obama's Justice Department will see it the same way.  

    "If you do not read the paper, you are uninformed. If you do read the paper, you are misinformed."--Mark Twain.

    by ovals49 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:15:56 PM PDT

  •  liveblogging? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ohiobama - will you covering events tomorrow?

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