National Whistleblowers Legal Defense and Education Fund Contests FBI and Department of Justice Attempts to Silence Whistleblower
Washington, D.C. August 7, 2009. Today the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund fought efforts by the FBI and the Department of Justice to prevent Sibel D. Edmonds from testifying in a case of alleged election fraud. Sibel Edmonds is scheduled to testify before the Ohio Elections Commission in response to a subpoena in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case. Both the Department of Justice and the FBI are attempting to halt her from testifying.
On behalf or Ms. Edmonds, the Fund sent a letter earlier this week requesting that Attorney General Holder independently review the basis upon which the State Secrets privilege was initially invoked against Ms. Edmonds.
Yesterday, Valerie Caproni, General Counsel of the FBI, and Vesper Mei, Senior Counsel with the Department of Justice responded by claiming that the subpoena to testify served on Edmonds was invalid and sought to bar her from appearing. The DOJ claimed that Edmonds is under “no compulsion” to testify in the Krikorian case and the FBI asserted that she, “does not have approval for any disclosure of any information.”
Neither the Justice Department nor the FBI has stated why testimony in a case of alleged election fraud would involve State Secrets and/or involve national security.
According to Sibel Edmonds’ counsel, Michael D. Kohn (President of the National Whistleblowers Center), “The thrust of the government’s action is aimed at self-censorship of a witness. As far as we are concerned, if the government wants censorship then it must do it itself as Ms. Edmonds will have no part in censorship.” To this end, Edmonds’ counsel responded to the FBI and DOJ stating: “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” and “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.”
According to Mr. Kohn: “The First Amendment protects Sibel Edmonds’ right to testify truthfully without government intervention and we are disheartened that the Justice Department’s actions evidence a different approach.”