Tuesday, May 19, 2009

They knowingly sent unqualified, incompetent translators to GITMO

With the renewed emphasis on torture and interrogation, and the increasing evidence that the 'interrogations' were often just a pretense to get pre-determined 'evidence,' it's important to remember that one of the elements of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds' case is the willful use of incompetent, unqualified translators at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.

One of Sibel's co-workers in the FBI translation office was Kevin Taskasen. He failed the FBI's language proficiency exams in both English and Turkish (his supposed speciality.)

Sibel's 2004 Open Letter to 911 Commission Head Thomas Kean explains:
Over two years ago, and after two unclassified sessions with FBI officials, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent letters to Director Mueller, Attorney General Ashcroft, and Inspector General Glenn Fine regarding the existence of unqualified translators in charge of translating high-level sensitive intelligence. The FBI confirmed at least one case: Kevin Taskesen, a Turkish translator, had been given a job as an FBI translator, despite the fact that he had failed all FBI language proficiency tests. In fact, Kevin could not understand or speak even elementary-level English. He had failed English proficiency tests and did not even score sufficiently in the target language.

Still, Kevin Taskesen was hired, not due to a lack of other qualified translator candidates, but because his wife worked at FBI HQ as a language proficiency exam administrator. Almost everyone at FBI HQ and the FBI Washington Field Office knew about Kevin. Yet, Kevin was given the task of translating the most sensitive terrorist-related information, and he was sent to Guantanamo Bay to translate the interrogation of and information for all Turkic language detainees (Turks, Uzbeks, Turkmens, etc.).

The FBI was supposed to be trying to obtain information regarding possible future attack plans from these detainees, yet the FBI knowingly sent unqualified translators to gather and translate this information. Furthermore, these detainees were either released, detained or prosecuted based on translations by unqualified translators knowingly sent there by the FBI.

Sen. Grassley and Sen. Leahy publicly confirmed Kevin Taskesen's case (please refer to Senate letters and documents provided to your investigators in January-February 2004). The program 60 Minutes showed Kevin's picture and listed him as one of the unqualified translators sent to Guantanamo Bay, as confirmed by the FBI.
After over two years since Kevin Taskesen's case was publicly confirmed, and after almost two years since 60 Minutes broadcast Taskesen's case, Kevin Taskesen remains in his position as sole Turkish and Turkic language translator for the FBI Washington Field Office. After admitting that Kevin Taskesen was not qualified to translate sensitive intelligence and investigation of terrorist activities, the FBI still keeps him in charge of translating highly sensitive documents and leads.

Here is a part of the transcript of the 60 Minutes episode:
(Host ED BRADLEY): (Voiceover) The FBI has conceded that some people in the language department are unable to adequately speak English or the language they're supposed to be translating. Kevin Taskasen was assigned to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to translate interrogations of Turkish-speaking al-Qaida members who had been captured after September 11. The FBI admits that he was not fully qualified to do the job.

Ms. EDMONDS: He neither passed the English nor the Turkish side of this language proficiency test.

BRADLEY: So that means if, for example, you had a--a terrorist detained at--at Guantanamo who had information about an attack being planned in the future against the United States, that person would not have been in a position to translate that?

Ms. EDMONDS: Correct. He wouldn't.

BRADLEY: I mean, that's hard to imagine.

Ms. EDMONDS: But that's the case.

They knowingly sent unqualified, incompetent translators to Guantanamo Bay.

Think about that.

No comments: