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Lost in Translation: How Bush Interpreter Got Through Security

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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-22-05 02:26 PM
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Lost in Translation: How Bush Interpreter Got Through Security
Lost in Translation: How Bush Interpreter Got Through Security

He Is Fluent in Indonesian, But He Also Testifies For Accused Terrorist

By ANDREW HIGGINS and JAY SOLOMON
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
February 22, 2005; Page A1

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Frederick Burks believes in UFOs, communes with dolphins, runs a Web site that promotes conspiracy theories about U.S. complicity in the 9/11 attacks and thinks Washington may have had a hand in blowing up bars on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

And, until last October, he had the ear of the world's most powerful man: The 46-year-old California resident worked as an interpreter for George W. Bush in the president's dealings with the leader of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Now Mr. Burks has popped up in Jakarta as a star witness for the defense in the terrorism trial of a fundamentalist Islamic cleric. "He has some anger but he's a nice old man," says Mr. Burks of Abu Bakar Baasyir, the 68-year-old preacher the U.S. believes was behind the 2002 Bali bombings. The cleric is also believed by the U.S. to be the leader of a regional terrorist network linked to al Qaeda, but he strongly denies that and, in an earlier trial in 2003, an Indonesian court cleared him of directing a terrorist outfit.

(snip)

But he's considerably less popular these days with his former employers in the White House and the State Department, who praise his linguistic talents but are mighty upset that he has been spilling details of supposedly confidential conversations. "He's gone off some deep end," says Stephanie Van Reigersberg, his former boss. During the years that Mr. Burks was paid to whisper into the president's ear, she headed a State Department unit that provides interpreters for State, the White House and other branches of the U.S. government.

(snip)

Write to Andrew Higgins at andrew.higgins@wsj.com and Jay Solomon at jay.solomon@wsj.com

URL for this article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110901231065260117,0...

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Oreo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-22-05 02:31 PM
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1. Yet another documented case of bad security by the administration
Add it to the list!
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aden_nak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-22-05 02:44 PM
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2. If he'd been GAY, though, they'd have tossed him YEARS AGO.
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