Pollard’s Ghost

Whenever the subject of Israeli spying in the U.S. comes up, the journalistic handle is always the same: the infamous Jonathan Pollard. His ghost hovers over the increasingly troubled "special relationship" – and he isn’t even dead yet.

Convicted of espionage in 1986, Pollard did such damage to U.S. national security that top intelligence officials threatened to resign if Bill Clinton acceded to Israeli demands to pardon him. He is serving a life sentence for stealing secrets deemed so valuable that the Soviet Union reportedly agreed to trade them for the release of tens of thousands of Russian Jews for resettlement in Israel.

Pollard had top-secret clearance and was able to procure a long list of documents for his Israeli handlers, but what baffled – and alarmed – top intelligence officials was that he had known the titles and in some cases the serial numbers of specific documents. These could only have been provided by someone in a much higher pay grade – a top official privy to ultra-sensitive, need-to-know secrets.

This was the basis for the long-standing suspicion that Pollard was but the outer layer of a deeply-entrenched Israeli spy ring. In addition, a May 7, 1997 story in the Washington Post reported the National Security Agency had intercepted a communication between an Israeli embassy official and the head of Israeli intelligence that strongly implied the presence of a top-level mole in the U.S. government. During the course of the conversation, according to the Post, the embassy official – eager to gain access to certain communications between Warren Christopher and Yasser Arafat – wanted to "go to Mega" for the goods. The Mossad chief, Danny Yatom, remonstrated with him, averring, "This is not something we use Mega for."

What did they use him for, then? One shudders to think about it, but apparently someone in the FBI has been thinking about it all these years, as indicated by the arrest of Ben-Ami Kadish, an 84-year-old retired engineer who worked at the Picatinny Arsenal in northern New Jersey, for 27 years. The four-count indictment against him charges he stole nuclear secrets, Patriot Missile specifications, and information on F-15 fighter planes of the type we sold to Saudi Arabia. He did this at the command of one "Yossi Yagur" (not his real name) who was also the New York Israeli consular officer who handled Pollard. Yagur is or was a top official with the Office of Science Relations, known as Lakam, devoted to industrial espionage and now supposedly disbanded.

Yagur, identified in the indictment only as "CC-1" ("Co-conspirator 1") gave his henchman a list, and Kadish would go check out the requested documents from the Arsenal’s classified library. He would then sneak them out of the facility and bring them home, where Kadish would photograph them in the basement. Documents were promptly replaced, and no one was the wiser. Yagur fled to Israel when Pollard’s treason was uncovered, but he has been in touch with Kadish over the years. According to the indictment, Kadish went to visit him in 2004.

No one caught on to Kadish for over 20 years. So how did the Feds uncover this forgotten angle of the Pollard case? Newsweek cites one official as saying "the information that identified Kadish came from super-secret intelligence monitoring related to ongoing inquiries about the Pollard case." Ongoing inquiries – after all these years? The Newsweek piece avers that some U.S. intelligence officials had good reason to suspect a high-level "mole " – except that "investigators never discovered whether such a high-level Israeli source existed; nor did they try very hard to find him."

What revived – compelled – their interest? Philip Giraldi, over at The American Conservative blog, has the scoop:

"Israeli sources are reporting that the FBI investigation of the Ben-Ami Kadish spy case resulted from a leak coming from inside the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The information on Kadish and on a number of other Americans who have spied for Israel was provided to the FBI anonymously, leading to the Bureau’s opening of a full investigation. One source reports that the National Security Agency was provided with Yosef Yagur’s current phone number and address and was able to obtain corroborating information on the case by tapping the phone."

The FBI paid Kadish a visit, and Yagur called him shortly afterward, on March 20, after his initial interview with the Feds: “Don’t say anything,” Yagur told him. “Let them say whatever they want. … What happened 25 years ago? You didn’t remember anything.” However, it was too late for that: according to the indictment, Kadish had already remembered a lot, confessed to stealing secrets, and stated that his only reward was a few modest meals here and there and the knowledge that he was helping Israel.

The suspicion that Pollard was far from alone has been confirmed, in spades, by the Kadish indictment, but that is just the beginning. The Israeli spy network that not only persists but flourishes to this day may be about to unravel. According to Giraldi, the Feds are "investigating a number of U.S. citizens, including an individual who held very senior security positions in the Clinton and Bush White Houses."

There has been much talk of the Israel Lobby and its distorting effect on U.S. foreign policy, especially in regard to the Middle East. What is never talked about is the extent to which the Lobby is part of Israel’s very active and efficient intelligence-gathering operation. The aboveground pro-Israel movement and the covert fifth column are often intermingled organizationally: that’s what the indictment [.pdf] of AIPAC honchos Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman is all about.

Back in 2004, I characterized the Rosen-Weissman case as follows:

"Like a dorsal fin poking just above the water, the … trial promises us a glimpse of a creature much larger than appears at first sight. Whether the trial will draw it up to the surface remains to be seen. In any case, the magnitude of the problem posed by the covert activities of our ally – heretofore ignored or covered up – is all too clear."

As in the case of Kadish, the origin of the Rosen-Weissman prosecution is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. The Feds were watching two Israeli officials, including Naor Gilon, the Washington embassy’s top political officer, as they ate lunch in a McLean, Va., restaurant, when Larry Franklin, the head of the Pentagon’s Iran desk, walked in on the Israelis and started spilling secrets left and right. Which raises the question: why were the Feds watching the Israelis?

According to Knight-Ridder’s Warren Strobel, reporting in 2004, the investigation into Israeli spying had "been going on for more than two years." Richard Sale reported for UPI that "In 2001, the FBI discovered new, ‘massive’ Israeli spying operations in the East Coast, including New York and New Jersey," and they began watching Gilon, who eventually led them to Franklin." The Jewish Telegraphic Agency dates the beginning of the inquiry at precisely that crucial juncture: "Information garnered during the investigation into alleged leaks from a Pentagon analyst to the two former AIPAC staffers suggests the FBI began probing AIPAC officials just before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."

The Israeli spy network embedded in our government is deeply burrowed into the neoconservative apparatus that lied us into war. Exhibit A: the Office of Special Plans. At least two Pentagon employees engaged in this cherry-picking "intelligence" unit set up by former assistant secretary of defense Douglas Feith were reportedly under investigation "on suspicion that one of them passed highly classified U.S. military information to the government of Israel, according to federal law enforcement officials." This was the outfit that promoted fraudster Ahmed Chalabi and utilized his phony "evidence" of Iraqi WMDs to goad the U.S. into war. Chalabi, it turned out, was passing U.S. secrets to Tehran – including the fact that the Americans had broken the Iranian code. Espionage surrounds the neocons like a cloud of smoke, and has for years. There’s got to be some fire there.

What is striking about all this is the sheer size and ambitious scope of the Israeli underground in America. Pollard, Kadish, Rosen, Weissman, Franklin, that holder of "very senior security positions in the Clinton and Bush White Houses" – all worked in tandem with, and sometimes inside of, the aboveground Israel Lobby. These fifth columnists are bold to the point of brazenness and have operated relatively freely up until now. Their ability to cover their tracks – and cry "anti-Semitism" in answer to rude inquiries as to the treasonous nature of their activities – has so far served them well: their luck, however, may be running out, along with Uncle Sam’s patience.


More commentary on the Kadish spy case over at Taki’s Magazine. Check it out. If you’re not reading my occasional "morning links " column over there, then you’re missing out on all the fun I’m having writing it. And over at The American Conservative blog, I once again raise the question: when is Andrew Sullivan, as part of his ongoing recantation of his former pro-war views, going to repudiate his infamous call to launch a nuclear strike against Iraq?

I’ll be speaking at the third-annual meeting of the Property and Freedom Society, which will take place May 22-26, 2008, in Bodrum, Turkey, at the Karia Princess Hotel.

My topic is “The Ron Paul Phenomenon and the Prospects for Liberty in the U.S.,” more specifically, the state of the libertarian movement in the U.S., which I hope will prove informative to the decidedly international cast of participants, who will be coming from every part of Europe in what promises to be a most enlightening convocation and exchange of views. Set against the backdrop of what used to be known as Halicarnassus, home of Herodotus, we’ll hear from a great variety of speakers, including John Laughland, whom I’ve always greatly admired, as well as conference organizer Hans Hermann Hoppe, Paul Gottfried, Peter Brimelow, Tom DiLorenzo, the British libertarian activist Sean Gabb, and a host of other academics and activists.

I greatly look forward to this, and urge you – especially my European and Middle Eastern readers – to investigate attending. The conference is going to be fascinating, and Bodrum, I hear, can be quite a lot of fun. You can write to Robert Grozinger, the secretary of the PFS, for more information: groezinger@PropertyAndFreedom.org.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].