CIA Case - (More Ciralsky)

Forward - April 16,1999
From Seth Gitell's Welcome to Washington Column

At an upcoming meeting with the director of central intelligence, George Tenet, Jewish leaders will raise the issue of a 28-year-old employee of the Central Intelligence Agency whose lawyer claims the employee is the victim of anti-Semitism. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations will meet with Mr. Tenet at the group's 59th Street headquarters later this month. The employee in question is Adam Ciralsky, himself a lawyer. Mr. Ciralsky is being represented by Neal Sher.

The issue of a double standard for Jews in the intelligence and security establishment has been in the news this year. The case of Jonathan Pollard, whom Prime Minister Netanyahu asked Presi- dent Clinton to free, brought the question of Israel spying on America back into the limelight. More recently, author Gordon Thomas claimed that an Israeli spy lurked within the Clinton administration. Jewish leaders say that the CIA represents an arena in which Jews ,should be free from extra scrutiny about their backgrounds.

"I'm sure many people will raise concerns about it," said the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, "Tenet has expressed concern about the young man and not wanting to hurt his career." Mr. Hoenlein said the Presidents Conference has worked behind the scenes to forge a settlement between Mr. Ciralsky-and the CIA. For their part, Mr. Tenet and the CIA say the agency is free from anti- Jewish bias.

The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, said his group was working with the agency in creating a "diversity Program." Said Mr. Foxman: "I know this direc- tor. I know this director is sensitive to these issues. This director reached out to us and said, 'I want to provide an environment which is diversity-friendly . "We have started a training program with them." In a statement, Mr. Tenet vowed that he would "not tolerate anti-Semitism or any other form of discrimination at the agency," according to the Associated Press.

The National Security Council referred calls to the CIA. Mr. Ciralsky's troubles began when he received a transfer to the National Security Council and the agency reinvestigated his ties to Israel. The CIA has created an independent board to look into the allegations. The members of the board include lawyer Nicole Seligman, Eli Jacobs,.Henry Rosovsky, Admiral William Crowe and a former director of central intelligence, William Webster.

"The group reported to me that, based on the review) it found no anti-Semitism, but did find a small number of instances of insensitivity," Mr. Tenet wrote in a letter to Mr. Foxman. In the letter Mr. Tenet wrote, "I also believe that some of the language used by some of the investigators in this case was insensitive, unprofessional and highly inappropriate."

Judge Webster and two other former directors, John Deutch and Robert Gates, issued a statement denying anti-Semitism at the agency. The founder of the Washington Pac, Morris Amitay, said Jews have thrived at the CIA. "You've had two DCI's that were friendly to Israel, a lot of the top 'people were Jewish," Mr. Amitay said.

Mi. Ciralsky's lawyer, Mr. Sher, has written to the attorney general, Janet Reno, asking her to look into the case. Mr. Sher asked that Ms. Reno investigate the CIA for violations of Mr. Ciralsky's privacy. "His constitutionally, statutorily and administratively protected rights were trampled upon as a matter of course," Mr. Sher wrote.

Mr. Sher provided the Forward with a redacted version of CIA documents about the case. "From my experience with rich Jewish friends from college, I would fully expect ... (his) wealthy daddy to support Israeli political/social causes in some form or other, be it Israeli Bonds purchased through the United Jewish Appeal, or out-right financial support to the Likud Party," wrote one agency official. "I believe that one of ... (his) big problems ... is that his 'mind and heart are so biased in favor of Israel that he has great difficulty separating his great pride in being such a staunch supporter of Israel in word and deed."

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