As someone who has worked extensively with translators overseas, I know how important their role is and how critical they are to the mission. When I read Sibel Edmonds’ story I was shocked but not necessarily surprised. I wasn’t surprised at the lack of professionalism that she witnessed among the staff of translators at the FBI’s counter-intelligence office, but I was shocked at how over the top, brazen, and corrupt it was.
One of my Arabic teachers at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School told us that he carried a book full of the names of Palestinian martyrs so I didn’t think I was naive about this subject. He would get a kick out of showing us Special Forces students propaganda clips from Memri TV of a Rabbi making Matzo ball soap with the blood of a young Christian boy.
Sibel Edmonds was a naturalized US citizen who got a call shortly after 9/11 to come work at the FBI and help them translate documents and catch up on their backlog, hopefully to turn up clues that would help unravel the plot behind the attacks.
We don’t know for sure what language Sibel was translating into English, the title of her book isn’t just a gimmick. The courts have ruled that where she was born, when she was born, and the languages she is fluent in are all classified as state secrets. Government officials have said she is the most Classified Woman in US history. However, we can surmise that Sibel is fluent in Turkish and probably Farsi as well having grown up in Turkey and Iran.