AP Wire Report on the Adam Ciralsky Case

April 9, 1999, By JOHN DIAMOND, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) A lawyer for the CIA suspended for failing to disclose contacts with Israelis says the agency is hounding him out of a job based on bias about his Jewish faith and his family's support for Israel.

The agency vehemently denied the charge today and said it does not tolerate antiSemitism.

The lawyer, Adam Ciralsky, 27, has been on unpaid leave since October 1997 due to concerns within the CIA's counterintelligence office that he had failed polygraph examinations about his support for Israel and past contact with Israelis with possible ties to intelligence.

The antiSemitism charge revolves around blunt language contained in internal CIA memos, including one in which a senior official writes, "From my experience with rich Jewish friends from college, I would fully expect Adam's wealthy daddy to support Israeli political/social causes." In another, a polygraph interrogator writes of questioning Ciralsky that, "I got into his face just a little bit. ... Needless to say, his chair was backed against the wall in no time at all!"

A third memo, like the others dating from the fall of 1997, indicates that Ciralsky's fate was decided by CIA Director George Tenet even before Ciralsky took an additional polygraph test.

"Tenet says this guy is outta here because of a lack of candor," the memo notes. Pointing to an upcoming lie detector test, the memo concludes, "Once that's over, it looks like we'll be waving goodbye to our friend."

Copies of the documents were provided to The Associated Press on Friday by Neal Sher, Ciralsky's attorney. The names of the authors of the memos were blacked out.

Details of the case were reported Friday by National Public Radio. After the NPR broadcast, Tenet issued a statement to CIA employees saying that the CIA has examined the allegations of antiSemitism and found nothing to substantiate them.

"I will not tolerate antiSemitism or any other form of discrimination at the agency," Tenet said. "AntiSemitism is repugnant to me and to all that our agency and our country stand for."

The CIA also contacted three former CIA directors, John Deutch, Robert Gates and William Webster, who signed a joint statement calling the Ciralsky allegations "completely inconsistent with everything we know about the CIA."

Deutch attached a personal addendum: "I am Jewish and during my entire experience with the CIA since the time I first came into contact with it in 1975 throughout my tenure as (director) which concluded in 1997 I never encountered any hint of antiSemitism at any point."

Through his lawyer, Ciralsky declined to comment, saying he is prohibited from speaking publicly since he is still technically employed by the CIA. Ciralsky has not yet sued, though Sher said he intends to sue for discrimination within weeks. Sher also wrote to Attorney General Janet Reno, alleging that the CIA's handling of the case had violated Ciralsky's privacy rights.

Sher said the case points to lingering resentment within the CIA over the Jonathan Pollard spy case from 1985 in which a civilian analyst for the Navy gave Israel thousands of highly classified documents. Pollard is serving a life sentence.

The CIA declined to comment on the details of the case. The memos indicate the concern was Ciralsky's apparent evasiveness in acknowledging contacts that the CIA had confirmed through other sources.

"It will be very important for you to get him to admit clearly and unequivocally that he and his family (daddy, David, Mom, etc.) all are deep supporters of Israel," a CIA official wrote in the memo that referred to Ciralsky's "wealthy daddy." The memo said Ciralsky "must be made to understand that this will not be misunderstood by CIA, for we are sophisticated and broadminded enough to understand the unique ties that bind American Jews to their brethren in Israel."

The CIA established a fivemember panel to examine the Ciralsky case and look at antiSemitism issues more broadly. The members were former CIA Director Webster, retired Adm. William Crowe, attorney Nicole Seligman, one of President Clinton's attorneys in the impeachment trial, and attorneys Ely Jacobs and Henry Rosovsky. Tenet said none of the CIA's inquiries found evidence to support the antiSemitism charge.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the AntiDefamation League, said in a telephone interview he was concerned by the language in some of the CIA memos but did not believe the CIA was institutionally antiSemitic.

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