Since Hillary apparently needs a reminder that Israel has nukes–some of the technology for which they stole from us–yesterday’s charging of Ben-Ami Kadish for spying
ought to provide her a useful reminder.
An 84-year-old former Army engineer in New Jersey was charged on Tuesday with leaking dozens of secret documents about nuclear arms, missiles and fighter jets to the Israeli government during the early 1980s, federal prosecutors said.
While I’d be interested in Israel’s nukes attracting more attention in discussions of Middle East policy, at the moment I’m more curious how the government suddenly discovered Kadish’s alleged spying … more than 20 years after the events in question?
The NYT admits it doesn’t know the answer to that question.
Federal officials said authorities became aware of what they called Mr. Kadish’s spying activities only in recent months but would not say how they learned of his efforts more than 20 years later.
Mr. Kadish admitted to an F.B.I. agent last month that he had shown 50 to 100 classified documents to the Israeli official, according to prosecutors’ court filings on Tuesday.
It also reminds readers that Israel had assured us that they had revealed all of the spying Yosef Yagur–the science attache who appears to have solicited Kadish’s spying and who also was the Israeli agent handling Jonathan Pollard–had engaged in.
Though Mr. Kadish is suspected of having operated at the same time as Mr. Pollard, and not afterward, another conviction would be embarrassing for Israel because its officials were supposed to have disclosed to the United States all relevant information about Israeli intelligence gathering at the time of Mr. Pollard’s arrest.
So how did the US uncover Kadish’s spying?
One possibility is that Larry Franklin disclosed Kadish’s spying to the government. While the AIPAC trial is increasingly likely to be dismissed rather than have Condi reveal her A1 Cut-Out methods under oath, Larry Franklin’s plea deal did require his ongoing cooperation with the government–so presumably, if he knew of other Israeli spying, he revealed it to them. But Kadish was charged in relation to a grand jury investigation out of SDNY, not EDVA (Kadish committed the alleged acts in New Jersey).
Another possibility is that the government traced back technological information they knew had ended up someplace it shouldn’t have back to the Israelis, and with it, to Kadish. The criminal complaint describes three documents above all that Kadish shared with the Israelis.
- One containing information relating to a nuclear weapons system
- One describing a modification of an F-15 sold to another country
- On concerning the Patriot missile system
It also noted that Kadish had signed out these documents in question. In other words, it’s possible that the government worked backwards from a country that had integrated certain F-15 modifications and Patriot missile technology into their own nuclear program to learn how they had acquired that technology–which led them through Israel to Kadish. One possibility is that this information ended up with Pakistan and this is an investigation that arose in relation to active investigations into the AQ Khan network (back in the BCCI days, the Israelis dealth US nuclear technology to the Pakistanis; though by 1988, the Pakistanis had modified their F-16s to carry nukes). It’s also possible Saudi Arabia is involved, since elsewhere the complaint describes Kadish saying the F-15 document "had a direct correlation to Israel’s security."
But the bit I find most telling are the charges only tangentially related to espionage: obstruction and false statements. As the complaint describes,
On or about March 20, 2008, after law enforcement officials … interviewed BEN-AMI KADISH, … KADISH received a telephone call from … CC-1 [almost certainly Yosef Yagur, Kadish’s handler], and CC-1 instructed KADISH to lie to the Law Enforcement Officials.
On or about March 21, 2008, the Law Enforcement Officials interviewed KADISH again in connection with the Grand Jury Investigation, and during this interview, KADISH stated that he (KADISH) did not speak with CC-1 after the First Interview.
In other words, Yagur (who is not in the US) apparently learned that the FBI had interviewed Kadish about the espionage (it is unclear whether the FBI first interviewed Kadish on March 20, or earlier than that). Yagur called Kadish and told him to lie. And the very next day, the FBI re-interviewed Kadish to ask about that call from Yagur, which Kadish denied.
Yagur knew–and knows–they’re closing in on him, over twenty years after he fled the country. And the FBI presumably had tapped Kadish or Yagur.
Back when Yagur handled Jonathan Pollard, he escaped charges (and escaped the country). For some reason, the government seems to have renewed interest in Yagur.