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May 01, 2008 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-05-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



NEWS ANALYSIS

Super Spy?

Kadish affair seen in Israel as effort to find "super mole."

Leslie Susser

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Jerusalem

W

by does the U.S. establishment
seem so intent on prosecuting
an 84-year-old man for crimes
allegedly committed nearly a quarter of a
century ago?
That's the question many Israelis were
asking after the details began to emerge last
week of the arrest of Ben-Ami Kadish on
charges of spying for Israel.
One theory, expressed by some Israeli
politicians and opinion makers, is that
there are officials in the Pentagon, Justice
Department and U.S. intelligence commu-
nity with a strong anti-Israel bias who seize
every opportunity to compromise Israel's
strategic ties with the United States.
By going public with the Kadish affair
now, the theory goes, these U.S. officials
hope to cast a shadow on President Bush's
upcoming 60th anniversary visit to Israel
and put to rest any chance that Bush will
release convicted spy Jonathan Pollard as a
birthday gift to Israel.
A second, more elaborate theory in
some ways is more convincing. Many of
the Americans involved in the Pollard case
were and are still convinced that Pollard,
who was jailed for life in 1986 for spying
for Israel, was aided and abetted by a highly
placed source in the U.S. administration.
They maintain that Pollard received precise
details, even catalogue numbers, of top
secret files and documents — information
that only could have come from someone
very senior in the Reagan administration.
Eitan Haber, a close adviser to then-Israel
Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, recalls
then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar
Weinberger angrily banging on the table in
meetings with Rabin and demanding that
Israel reveal the identity of the suspected
super mole.
Years later, when President Clinton appar-
ently agreed to release Pollard as part of a
deal with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu at Wye Plantation in 1998, then-
CIA Director George Tenet threatened to
resign — presumably because Israel still
wouldn't name names.
The super-mole theory would help
explain why Pollard has been kept in jail all
these years: Only if Israel named the puta-
tive super mole would the United States
release Pollard. Indeed, it was to track

Some Israelis view the arrest of 84-year-old Ben-Ami Kadish as an effort by anti-

Israel officials to block President Bush from freeing Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

down the suspected super mole that the
Americans kept a "Pollard & Co!' file open
for more than two decades. That was how
they stumbled onto Kadish some time in
2004.
Haber, however, insists there was no
"second Pollard" or super mole. In any case,
he said that Kadish, then an army engineer
with access to relatively low-level techno-
logical data, in no way fits the bill.
Still, the fact that Kadish is not the sub-
ject does not invalidate the super-mole
hypothesis. Concern apparently existed in
U.S. intelligence quarters that Bush might
release Pollard as a 60th anniversary ges-
ture to Israel. But the key intelligence play-
ers who still believe Israel is holding out
on naming the putative super mole want to
keep the Pollard card as pressure on Israel
to come clean. On this reading, U.S. intel-
ligence chose to go public with the Kadish
affair now in an effort to ensure that Bush
doesn't free Pollard without Israel naming
the supposed super mole.
Israeli officials are reluctant to comment
on the substance of the Kadish affair, but
they point out that even if the allegations
against Kadish are true, he was active only
until July 1985. They maintain that in itself,
that underscores the single key factor in
the subtext around the case: Absolutely no
Israeli spying of any kind has taken place
in America since the Pollard affair broke in
1985.
Haber, who served in the Israeli govern-
ment during and immediately after the
Pollard affair, notes that in its wake Prime

Minister Yitzhak Shamir issued strict
instructions against any form of spying
in America — a position re-emphasized
by his immediate successors, Rabin and
Shimon Peres. Senior Israeli officials say
this remains the government position today.
Israeli officials claim that if another spy
was operating during the Pollard years,
they were unaware. Cabinet Minister Rafi
Eitan, who was then the head of the intel-
ligence organization Lakam, the Bureau
of Scientific Relations that ran the Pollard
operation, claims never to have heard
Kadish's name.
Micha Harish, a Labor legislator on
the Knesset panel under former Foreign
Minister Abba Eban that investigated the
Pollard affair, stated categorically that at the
time they had no knowledge of any other
Israeli spies in America.
"There were rumors spread mainly by
the Americans; but we came to the conclu-
sion that the Pollard affair was a one-off,
very amateurish, rogue operation',' Harish
said.
Harish speculates that Yosef Yagur, the
Israeli official who handled Pollard and is
suspected of handling Kadish, may have
broken off the Kadish connection in the
wake of the Pollard affair without ever
reporting it.
As for the super-mole theory, Harish
rejects it out of hand and offers a different
explanation for America's longstanding
refusal to free Pollard. "American offi-
cials told me they were afraid that if they
released Pollard, they would legitimize spy-

ing on the U.S. by other friendly states —
like, say, Britain or Japan — which would
create an intolerable situation for America's
open society,' he said.
The Pollard affair had a devastating
impact on Israel-U.S. relations. It took years
to rebuild trust between the two govern-
ments and the two intelligence communi-
ties.
Will the Kadish affair have similar reper-
cussions? Most Israeli officials doubt it.
Likud legislator Yuval Steinitz expressed
a widespread sentiment last week when he
called it "a storm in a tea cup that would
soon blow over." Some Americans are tak-
ing a different view, however.
Joseph diGenova, the prosecutor in the
Pollard case, says the Kadish affair shows
that Israel lied when it said there were no
other spies in the United States besides
Pollard.
This highlights Israel's problem with the
Kadish case. More than the documents on
F-15 fighters, Patriot anti-missile systems
and nuclear programs Kadish is said to
have passed on to Israel, the problem for
Israel will be to prove there was no subse-
quent high-level cover-up of Kadish or any
other putative moles' activities.
The U.S. intelligence players likely will
use the case to pressure Israel to acknowl-
edge all past spy connections in the United
States and Israel will try to prove that it
genuinely has done all it can already in this
effort. ❑

Answering
Israel's Critics

The Charge
During his visit to the Middle East
last week, former U.S. President Jimmy
Carter criticized Israel for allowing
only "basic supplies" into Gaza.

The Answer
Israel pledged non-belligerence, func-
tioning borders and continuous flow
of goods following its 2005 Gaza with-
drawal. That pledge has been met with
rockets, mortars, snipers and terrorist
infiltrations. The current military and
economic sanctions are in response.

- Allan Gale, Jewish Community Relations

Council of Metropolitan Detroit

(c) Jewish Renaissance Media, May 1, 2008

May 1 • 2008

A23

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