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October 9, 2003 10:05 p.m.
shortage, loyalty issues, bureau snubbed 90 N.Y.
WAR ON TERROR
FBI: Jews need
not apply for Arabic linguist jobs
By Paul Sperry
DESPITE a shortage of Arabic
translators, the FBI turned down applications for
linguist jobs from nearly 100 Arabic-speaking Jews
in New York following the World Trade Center
attacks, WorldNetDaily has learned.
The FBI's New York office in October 2001 asked
a local charity that works with Arab Jews to submit
applications for the linguist jobs, which are
crucial to anti-terrorism investigations.
But not one of the more than 90 applicants was
hired, even though some had helped translate Arabic
for Israeli radio and TV news stations and the
Israeli army before coming to America, the
charity's director says.
'We sent them a lot of people, and nobody made
it to the finish line. Not one person was found
eligible for these jobs, which is
Doug Balin, director of the Sephardic Bikur
Holim, a Jewish social-services agency in Brooklyn,
A spokesman for the FBI's New York office says
headquarters made the final cuts.
'Applicants have to go through a series of
steps, including thorough background checks,
especially those who have lived abroad,' says FBI
spokesman Jim Margolin. 'That's all
(added by this website): Two disturbingly
young NY Holocaust survivors give their views
on Sept 11, 2001 (Photo: NY Post)
Many of the Jewish applicants lived in Mideast
countries, including Israel, Syria, Egypt and
Were the Sephardim applicants denied because
they're Jewish? 'Not that I'm aware of,' Margolin
Balin is not so sure.
'Maybe the FBI is not hiring Jewish people that
often, I don't know,' he said, suggesting the FBI
fears offending the Muslim community.
Another source familiar
with the interviewing process says the FBI was
concerned that many of the applicants were 'too
close to Israel,' and might lack the objectivity
to accurately translate the Arabic recordings
and writings of Muslim terrorist suspects under
investigation. Indeed, some worked for the
However, the head of the New York office
recently invited a Muslim cleric to preach to New
York agents about Islam's alleged peaceful
attributes as part of a bureau-wide
Muslim-sensitivity training program. FBI Director
Robert Mueller has reached out to several
Muslim-rights groups since the Sept. 11
Balin's assistant, Yola Haber, said that
many of the Jewish applicants were 'highly
qualified' and had passed the bureau's
language-proficiency tests. Some had been asked
back for second and even third interviews, she
says. As Jews who lived in Arab nations, she adds,
they understood the idioms and expressions that
might escape other translators who aren't from the
Haber told WorldNetDaily that she met with two
agents from the FBI's Manhattan office, Carol
Motyka and Marsha K. Parrish, who she
says approached her about recruiting
Arabic-speaking Jews within weeks of the terrorist
'I'm not making any comment,' Motyka said.
Parrish was unavailable for comment.
Margolin noted that the hiring process is not
easy, even though translators don't have to go
through the rigorous agent-training program.
'The recruitment and hiring process entails a
number of steps and is more involved than the
applicants might have anticipated,' he said in a
Still, the FBI has been hard-pressed to clear a
large backlog of untranslated documents and
recorded dialogue in Arabic, information that could
produce clues to terrorist plots in the U.S.
And like the U.S. Army, it's had to deal with
loyalty issues. Many of the translators that both
the FBI and military have hired are Arab Muslims.
The Army is investigating two Muslim linguists for
possible spying at the U.S. military base at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where captured members of
al-Qaida and the Taliban are being held and
The major security breach at Gitmo comes on the
heels of the FBI's own investigation of some of its
Gamal Abdel-Hafiz, an immigrant Muslim,
twice refused on religious grounds to tape-record
Muslim terrorist suspects, hindering investigations
of a bin Laden family-financed bank in New Jersey
and Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, recently
indicted for his ties to the Palestinian Islamic
Jihad terrorist group.
A fellow FBI agent, Robert Wright, said
Abdel-Hafiz finally explained to him that 'a Muslim
does not record another Muslim,' after first
claiming he feared for his life. Other agents said
he contacted Arab subjects under investigation
without disclosing the contacts to the agents
running the cases.
Despite his divided loyalties, the FBI
subsequently promoted Abdel-Hafiz by assigning him
to the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia, a critical
post for intelligence-gathering. Three-fourths of
the Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudis.
After Wright and another agent blew the whistle
in the media, however, Adel-Hafiz was put on
Then there's the case of Jan Dickerson, a
Turkish translator hired by the FBI last
screening her for a clearance, the FBI missed her
ties to a Turkish organization under investigation
by the FBI's own counter-intelligence unit,
according to another whistle-blower. The bureau
even let her translate the tapes of conversations
with a Turkish intelligence officer stationed in
Washington who was the target of the probe.
Sibel Edmonds, a co-worker who reviewed
Dickerson's translations, said Dickerson left out
information crucial to the investigation, such as
discussion of methods to obtain U.S. military and
intelligence secrets. She had marked it as 'not
important to be translated.' Dickerson recently
left the FBI and now lives overseas.
Balin argues that the Arab Jews it sent to the
FBI to apply for translator jobs 'would be more
likely to be loyal to the United States.'
'They were against terrorists and against being
attacked on these shores [on Sept. 11],' he
said, 'because they were people who had suffered
those kinds of things overseas and were familiar
with them, and saw the freedom that America brought
'So it's crazy that no one was hired,' Balin
above item is reproduced without editing other than
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