by Luke Ryland
Luke’s blog post
January 26, 2008
The UK’s Sunday Times has another article today, Tip-off thwarted nuclear spy ring probe, in their series about the penetration of US agencies by a criminal network of Turkish, Israeli and US government officials stealing nuclear secrets and selling them on the black market to the highest bidder.
The focus of this new Times article is the original outing of Brewster Jennings, the CIA cover company that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for. The article confirms that Marc Grossman, former # 3 State Dept official, and former Ambassador to Turkey, warned his Turkish associates to be wary of Brewster Jennings because it was a CIA front operation. This disclosure occurred in the summer of 2001, two years prior to the outing of Valerie Plame.
The FBI warned the CIA about Grossman’s activities and Brewster Jennings was dismantled shortly thereafter.
Given the libel laws in the UK, the Times has not published Marc Grossman’s name again in this piece, but long-time observers of this case all recognize that Grossman is the unnamed official in this article, as well as the previous two articles.
From the Times:
The claims that a State Department official [Marc Grossman] blew the investigation into a nuclear smuggling ring have been made by Sibel Edmonds, 38, a former Turkish language translator in the FBI’s Washington field office.
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.
More from the Times:
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.
We know that the FBI was running a counter-intelligence operation against the Turkish diplomatic community, the American Turkish Council (ATC) and other groups such as the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (A.T.A.A.)
But [Sibel] said: “[Grossman] found out about the [proposed Brewster Jennings] 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 [Brewster Jennings], then this would almost certainly have damaged the investigation into the activities of Khan. Plame’s cover would also have been compromised, although Edmonds never heard her name mentioned on the intercepts. Shortly afterwards, Plame was moved to a different operation.
Plame was moved because Brewster Jennings was dismantled due to the FBI discovering that Grossman had blown the cover. Plame has been forbidden by the CIA to refer to her work, or even the fact that she worked at CIA, prior to 2002.
In Joe Wilson’s book, The Politics of Truth, he says that he met his future wife, Valerie Plame, at an American Turkish Council (ATC) event at the residence of the Turkish ambassador in Washington DC in 1997. At the time, both the ATC and the Turkish diplomatic community were targets of FBI investigations.
Incidentally Wilson was on the Defense subcommittee of the board of the ATC, and he was personally and professionally close to ATC Chairman and former National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft. Scowcroft recently appeared in a Rogue’s Gallery, apparently indicating that he is one of the guilty parties in Sibel Edmonds’ case.
Wilson’s consulting company, JC Wilson International Ventures, appears to have some Turkish clients, some of which may have come through his involvement at the ATC.
Clearly there are a number of potential conflicts of interest here. I don’t have any theory as to what was going on here, there are more questions than answers. Wilson had business interests with the ATC, and he was friendly with ATC Chair Brent Scowcroft, who was apparently a target of these investigations. The idea of a CIA agent dating, then marrying, someone so closely aligned with a target also gives the appearance of a conflict of interest.
An anonymous letter, apparently written by an FBI official, obtained by the Times and others outlining many of the facts in this case, states that much of this information was given to the Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald who was investigating the 2003 outing of Plame, and the information was also given to the Scooter Libby defense team but apparently neither side decided to use this information for their own purposes.
“Phillip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, said: “It’s pretty clear Plame was targeting the Turks. If indeed [Grossman] 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 woman’s company was affiliated to the CIA. I don’t know if that’s treason legally but many people would consider it to be.””
Marc Grossman has again (anonymously) denied the charges against him, however in an interview this week, Phil Giraldi wondered why neither Grossman nor any of the others were actively working to exonerate themselves:
“Quite honestly, if I were Marc Grossman, who allegedly is now making $3 million a year working for the Cohen Group, I would be kind of concerned about my personal reputation where people are saying that I was taking money, and I would want to straighten out the record and I would want to the FBI to produce a definitive statement about me, and (Grossman) hasn’t demanded that. He hasn’t gone after that, and none of the other people in this case have gone after that, so I’m wondering why, if these people are innocent, they aren’t making a more serious effort to demonstrate that they are.”
I wonder too.
Significantly, since the Times began this series three weeks ago, the White House has quietly moved to legalize the sale of nuclear technonlogy to Turkey in an apparent attempt to ‘Exonerate Neocon Criminals’ who have been illegally selling this technology for a decade. Congress has 90 days to block this legislation, otherwise it becomes law. If Turkey wants and deserves nuclear technology, this decision should be made openly and transparently, not the result of stealth decisions made by this administration to hide crimes of senior US officials.
We need public open hearings to determine which officials have been supplying the nuclear black market before this becomes law.
CIA Leak/Plame Case (posts prior to end of June 2007)
CIA Leak Case (posts since June 2007)