Hearing in FBI Translator's Case Remains Closed

Associated Press
Friday, April 22, 2005

A federal appeals court turned aside efforts to open to the public closed-door arguments yesterday in the case of a fired FBI contractor who alleged there were security breaches and misconduct at the bureau.

Sibel Edmonds is seeking to revive her lawsuit against the government. It was thrown out of U.S. District Court when the Bush administration invoked the state secrets privilege, which allows the government to withhold information to safeguard national security.

Edmonds says she was dismissed from her job as a wiretap translator because she told superiors she suspected a co-worker was leaking information to targets of an ongoing FBI investigation. The FBI has said it fired Edmonds, a 32-year-old Turkish American, because she committed security violations and disrupted her office.

A three-judge panel closed the court arguments, even though Edmonds's allegations have been outlined in court papers, in a report by the Justice Department's inspector general and on Capitol Hill.

The court's unusual decision to close arguments prompted a challenge by Edmonds's American Civil Liberties Union attorneys. That challenge was supported by news organizations, including the Associated Press. Two private groups, the Project on Government Oversight and Public Citizen, also joined the effort.

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