Truth to Power

Whistleblower: FBI spied on government officials

The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) has obtained a copy of an official complaint filed by a veteran FBI Special Agent, Gilbert Graham, with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG). SA Graham’s protected disclosures report the violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in conducting electronic surveillance of high-profile U.S. public officials.

Before his retirement in 2002, SA Gilbert Graham worked for the FBI Washington Field Office (WFO) Squad NS-24. One of the main areas of Mr. Graham’s counterintelligence investigations involved espionage activities by Turkish officials and agents in the United States. On April 2, 2002, Graham filed with the DOJ-OIG a classified protected disclosure, which provided a detailed account of FISA violations involving misuse of FISA warrants to engage in domestic surveillance. In his unclassified report SA Graham states: “It is the complainant’s reasonable belief that the request for ELSUR [electronic surveillance] coverage was a subterfuge to collect evidentiary information concerning public corruption matters.” Graham blew the whistle on this illegal behavior, but the actions were covered up by the Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s office.

The report filed by SA Graham bolsters another FBI whistleblower’s case that became public several months after Graham’s official filing with the Justice Department in 2002. Sibel Edmonds, former FBI Language Specialist, also worked for the FBI Washington Field Office (WFO), and her assignments included the translations of Turkish Counterintelligence documents and audiotapes, some of which were part of espionage investigations led by SA Graham. After she filed her complaint with the DOJ-OIG and Congress, she was retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Court proceedings in Edmonds’ case were blocked by the assertion of the State Secrets Privilege by then Attorney General John Ashcroft, and the Congress gagged and prevented from investigating her case through retroactive re-classification of documents by DOJ.</em>


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