Skip to comments.American Arrested as Nuclear Spy for Israel
Posted on 04/22/2008 12:07:37 PM PDT by anymouse
U.S. authorities arrested an American engineer on Tuesday on suspicion of giving secrets on nuclear weapons, fighter jets and air defense missiles to Israel during the 1980s, the Justice Department said.
Ben-Ami Kadish, 84, acknowledged his spying in FBI interviews and said he acted out of a belief that he was helping Israel, court papers said.
He was accused of reporting to an Israeli government handler who also dealt with Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American citizen serving a life term on a 1985 charge of spying for Israel.
Kadish's arrest is a sign the Pollard scandal, which remains an irritant in the close U.S. alliance with Israel, may have spread wider than was previously acknowledged. Kadish was arrested in New Jersey and was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon at U.S. District Court in New York City, authorities said.
"We will be informing the Israelis of this action," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said. "Twenty-plus years ago during the Pollard case we noted that this was not the kind of behavior we would expect from friends and allies and that would remain the case today."
Kadish's lawyer, Bruce Goldstein, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel, asked about the arrest, said: "We know nothing about it. We heard it from the media."
Pollard pleaded guilty in 1986. Israel granted him citizenship in 1996 and acknowledged in 1998 that the former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst was one of its spies. Israel has unsuccessfully sought Pollard's release.
Kadish is a Connecticut-born U.S. citizen who worked as a mechanical engineer at the U.S. Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey.
His spying lasted roughly from 1979 to 1985, and his contact with the unnamed Israeli handler continued until March of this year, the federal complaint against him said.
The complaint said Kadish did not appear to receive any money in exchange for his suspected spying, just small gifts and restaurant meals.
Kadish, who had a security clearance, took 50 to 100 classified documents from the arsenal's library, working from a list provided by the handler identified in a federal complaint as "CC-1." The handler would then photograph the documents in Kadish's basement and Kadish would return them to the library, the complaint said.
It said one of the classified documents passed on by Kadish "contained information concerning nuclear weaponry." Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons but has never acknowledged it.
Another document obtained by Kadish related to "a major weapons system ... a modified version of an F-15 fighter jet that the United States had sold to another foreign country," the complaint said. It did not identify the country.
A third document contained information regarding the U.S. Patriot missile air defense system.
The complaint said Kadish maintained contact with CC-1, met him in Israel in 2004, and spoke with him by telephone on March 20 of this year, after his first FBI interview. It said the handler told him to lie to U.S. authorities: "Don't say anything ... What happened 25 years ago? You don't remember anything," the handler was quoted as saying.
The complaint said the handler worked for the Israeli government as consul for science affairs at the Israeli Consulate General in New York, from 1980 to November 1985.
During the late 1970s the handler worked for what was known at the time as Israeli Aircraft Industries, an Israeli government contractor, the complaint said. It said the handler left the United States when Pollard was arrested and has not returned.
The history appears to fit with that of Yosef Yagur, who has been publicly linked to the Pollard case. A woman who identified herself as Yagur's wife, when reached by telephone, said, "We're not speaking to journalists. Goodbye."
(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed, Christine Kearney in New York and Dan Williams in Jerusalem
Barring very unusual circumstances, a prison term in the range of three to five years.
That would encourage every “ally” to recruit spies. You could easily make it worthwhile for someone to spend five years or less in prison.
Pay me a million dollars (especially if tax free) and I’ll go to lockup for that period of time. Great wages for watching TV, and that’s only if I get convicted.
Thanks for the ping Jet Jaguar.
Hang ALL spies in the public square, is my opinion.
Puh-leeze. Doing five years of prison time is not a pleasant experience, especially for a “white collar” criminal, someone who is accustomed to at least a middle class standard of living. Plus whatever illicit income he had accumulated from his handlers would likely be confiscated in some form or another, and rightly so.
We have to deter spying with a punishment so severe that nobody in their right mind would consider it. It has to ruin your life forever if you’re caught.
Treating it like stealing a car is ridiculous.
That should be the case for all crimes, but unfortunately there are people out there who would still do them, everything up to and including first degree murder.
Still, for the criminal justice system to be be just, there must be a principle of proportionality: the more severe the crime, the more severe the penalty - and vise versa.
From reading the US espionage statutes in detail, I come away with the impression that the law doesn't distinguish between various levels of espionage and their consequences very well, and so there are some defendants who may be get overly harsh or overly lenient sentences.
But I do know that at the time of the Pollard case, sentences for espionage for a first-time offender working for an ally usually were in the three to five year range. So I don't see my concept of an appropriate penalty in such circumstances to be radical or outrageous.
I have no problem with prosecution of anyone who passes secrets including Pollard. I think the punishment should be proportional to the offense and the reality is that nobody has been punished the way Pollard was. Do you have any real evidence that the Israelis gave Pollard’s info to the Soviets? I have never seen any.
But also remember that we have given both China and Russia design secrets for nuclear weapons and our NMD designs.
One has to really wonder how many nuclear weapons spies are lurking in America, sent in by Iran, the Wahhabist Saudis & al-Qaida?
Espionage of national security secrets is still a crime against the state but it is neither treason (aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war) nor sedition (efforts to overthrow our form of government).
Considering that Axis Sally was convicted of treason after WWII and out in 7 years, it is something to consider.
I’d scale back that comment if I were you. The Rosenbergs were executed for their espionage.
I agree that the spies within the CIA and FBI should’ve been executed for their betrayal.
BTW, Pollard was sentenced by a BLACK, Carter-appointed judge. I would respectfully suggest that antisemitism might well have played a role in the harshness of his sentence. (The sentencing judge has since passed on.)
The standard has been 2 to 5 years. Pollard is way over and nobody else has been close.
Id scale back that comment if I were you. The Rosenbergs were executed for their espionage.<<
That is a great non incoherent statement that is unconnected, says nothing and means nothing. What do the Rosenbergs have to do with Pollard, he was probably not born by the time they were hanged. Why even bring them up here.
They worked for an enemy nation. They endangered the lives and security of all Americans. Pollard did none of those things.
I know Dershowitz claims that the judge had anti Israel bias. Then again Desshowitz is not above lying for his clients and Pollard is not an exception. I once saw a debate with Joe DeGenova, who prosecuted Pollard. DeGenova kept asking him about a memo that was used at the trial. Dershowitz kept saying he is not allowed to say if he saw it. Obviously he did see it and could not refute it.
It should be way over that, and I hope Pollard dies in jail.
There is not a much more despicable crime than stealing the secrets of our nation and giving them to a foreign country. It jeopardizes our position as a superpower and endangers countless citizens.
Why on earth would we give a longer sentence to someone who holds dog fights than to someone who sells our national secrets to foreigners?
I think there is an understanding that friends spy on friends. The USA had a spy in Israel who was captured at the same time. There are people who spy for Taiwan, South Korea, etc. I think they should be punished in all cases but I don’t think it should be more than most murderers get. If Pollard walks out tomorrow, nobody will think he got off easily and be encouraged to do what he did.