In the following exclusive interview, Balkanalysis.com Director Christopher Deliso speaks with Philip Giraldi, a former CIA deputy chief of base in Turkey. Through the interview, readers get a first-hand introduction to the cloak-and-dagger reality of undercover work in one of the world’s most important strategic areas. Iranian assassinations, Turkish eavesdropping and other eye-opening stories allow the reader an intimate inside look into the shadowy, high-stakes game of international espionage.
CD: Let’s speak for a moment regarding the case of former FBI translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Your summary of the case in the American Conservative was rated the best such one so far by Sibel herself. How much of what she has disclosed can be verified independently?
PG: I have not attempted to corroborate Sibel’s story as I have no resources to do so. And it would appear that the government gag order she is under precludes the type of confirmation that would be desirable.
CD: Can you elaborate at all on the role of neocon and other actors mentioned in your article, who were allegedly involved with illegal arms sales and more, such as Doug Feith, Richard Perle, Eric Edelman, Steven Solarz and Marc Grossman?
PG: As my article stated, the preoccupation with Turkey of the key neocons named is curious indeed. It is plausibly explained by their interest in Israel and their connections to the weapons industry in the US, Turkey, and in Israel.
I can recall Solarz showing up in Turkey in 1986 after he left Congress, and the connection with Perle and Feith in particular is well documented. I don’t know if the illicit arms sales are still going on, but I would suspect they are. Weapons dealing is big business and there are many players in it.
CD: You also mention Turkey and false end user certificates in association with illegal proliferation to dangerous states. Was this something you were involved with monitoring when in the CIA? What about special teams like the Brewster Jennings outfit? Did they operate or have a predecessor working with you at the time?
PG: I have no inside information on CIA or US government monitoring of arms sales to third parties a la the work of Brewster Jennings. When I was in Turkey, I was not aware of any US government interest in such matters and there was no non-proliferation staff at headquarters.
great job, Chris.
CD: What can you say about how the current Israeli war in Lebanon will affect the traditional Israeli-Turkish alliance?
PG: Well, concerning the impact of [what is happening now in] Lebanon, you must be aware of the fact that the so-called “friendly” relationship between the two countries is very narrowly focused. It is largely the Turkish Army’s General Staff that keeps the relationship going, because it provides access to US military assistance and weapons that would otherwise be embargoed.
The Turkish public and the government, on the other hand, are rather ambivalent, if not hostile, to the relationship. And they are now very angry about the attacks on fellow Muslims in Lebanon.
(thanks to those who sent this in)