FBI Whistleblower Claims Confirmed

A newly disclosed letter confirmed charges by a former FBI interpreter that she was fired at least in part because she blew the whistle on incompetent workers at the bureau.

When the FBI fired interpreter Sibel Edmonds more than two years ago after only a few months on the job, it had no idea the can of worms it was opening up. And today it got yet another taste.

In a letter released on Capitol Hill, FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged that the a recently concluded internal Justice Department investigation found "a contributing factor" in Edmonds firing was the fact that she had accused the bureau of ineptitude, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart.

Edmonds insisted today, the ineptitude still exists.

"The problems were systemic problems that existed within the FBI's translation units that involve security breaches and also incompetence. These were the problems I reported," she said.

Edmonds is now working on her PhD and acts as an advisor to the Sept. 11 families. It was just after the Sept. 11 attacks that she offered her services to the FBI as a Turkish and Middle Eastern language specialist.

But shortly after joining the bureau's Washington field office, she said she encountered sloppy work by colleagues and was told by superiors to work slower so the bureau might justify demands for a bigger budget.

"I was warned that if I were to make these issues public and take them outside the bureau I would be retaliated against and I would be fired. And exactly that's what occurred," she said.

Mueller said he would work with the Justice Department to determine whether disciplinary action is required of any bureau employees as a result of the Edmonds case.

Meanwhile the bureau insists it has made progress with its translation problems by hiring more interpreters. On Sept. 11 it had only 70 Arabic speakers. Now it has over 200, but acknowledges it still needs more.
  • Lauren Johnston

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