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Man, 84, Is Charged with Spying for Israel in the 1980s, Rekindling Suspicions of An Israeli Spy Ring

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
July - August 2008

In April, Ben-Ami Kadish, 84, was arrested at his home in New Jersey and charged with four counts of conspiracy for allegedly serving as a foreign agent and allegedly for lying to the FBI about a recent telephone conversation he had with his alleged Israeli handler.  
According to The Washington Post (April 23, 2008), “Kadish, a mechanical engineer, worked at the U.S. Army’s research arsenal in Dover, N.J. in the early 1980s. He routinely checked classified documents out of a library there and passed them to an unnamed Israeli official who had provided a list of what he wanted, according to a four-count criminal complaint the FBI filed ... the official photographed pages related to nuclear weaponry, the F-15 fighter jet program and the U.S. Patriot missile defense system, according to an FBI affidavit ... Kadish’s actions appear to have escaped detection for years, even though his handler allegedly also collected classified information from Jonathan Pollard, a former Navy intelligence analyst. Pollard is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Butner, N.C., after pleading guilty to an espionage-related crime in 1986.”  
According to Joseph diGenova, the federal prosecutor who led the investigation against Pollard, investigators were not completely convinced that Israeli espionage in the U.S. ceased after the Navy analyst was put away. “The Israelis, of course, lied to us,” diGenova told the Associated Press. “They said there were no other spies and they had destroyed all the documents they got at the time.”  
Kadish, a native of Connecticut, told the FBI that he “borrowed” classified documents at the urging of his handler, who encouraged him to help “protect Israel” by sharing papers that had a “direct correlation to Israel’s security.” He accepted only small gifts and occasional family dinners in exchange for his services.  
The handler has been named in Israeli publications as Yosef Yagur. He left the U.S in November 1985, shortly after Pollard was charged and has never returned. The Post reports that, “The handler and Kadish renewed their ties on March 20 ... after federal agents interviewed Kadish for the first time. ‘Don’t say anything,’ the handler allegedly said. ‘Let them say whatever they want. ... What happened 25 years ago? You didn’t remember anything.’”  
The Forward (May 2, 2008) reports: “The State Department ... drew a direct line between Kadish and Pollard. “You know, 20-plus years ago, during the Pollard case, we noted that this was not the kind of behavior one would expect from friends and allies, and that would remain the case today,’ said a State Department spokesman, Tom Casey.”  
Washington Jewish Week (May 1, 2008) notes that, “Many of the Americans involved in the Pollard case were and are still convinced that Pollard ... was aided and abetted by a highly placed source in the U.S. administration. They maintain that Pollard received precise details, even catalog numbers, of top secret files and documents — information that could have come only from someone very senior in the Reagan administration. ... The super-mole theory would help explain why Pollard has been kept in jail all these years: Only if Israel named the putative super mole would the U.S. release Pollard. Indeed, it was to track down the suspected super mole that Americans kept a ‘Pollard and Co.’ file open for more than two decades. That was how they stumbled on Kadish.”  
Ronald Olive, the Navy Criminal Investigative Service special agent who led the Pollard investigation, said that the alleged continuing relationship between Yagur and Kadish might have raised flags. The FBI complaint reported that the two men maintained at least social ties over the years and met in Israel as recently as 2004. If the allegations are true, Olive said, Kadish “is an agent of a foreign government, before in the 1980s and now having contact with him again. Because the contact hasn’t stopped, the FBI decided they had what they needed, they had probable cause.”  
Washington Jewish Week (May 1, 2008) columnist Doug Bloomfield declares that, “The greatest damage of the Kadish case may come from a tiny minority in the Jewish community that seems to justify spying by claiming Washington has not supported Israel with intelligence about its enemies and with political backing. And they make things worse when they belittle the latest case by ridiculing it as government harassment of an elderly zayde. Such conduct can be as destructive as the crime itself; it says that spying for Israel is not only acceptable, but honorable and even necessary — and it reinforces accusations that Jews put loyalty to Israel ahead of loyalty to America.”

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