Neal Sher Letter to Samuel R. Berger
Jewish Press - February 18, 2000
The Honorable Samuel R. Berger
Assistant to the President For National Security Affairs
National Security Council
August 4, 1998
Dear Mr. Berger:
I am writing to update you on a matter with which I believe you are
familiar. My client, Adam J. Ciralsky, was set to rotate to the NSC in
December 1997 for a one year detail from his position as an attorney at
the CIA. He was to have worked for Richard Clarke.
On October 20, 1997, however, the CIA placed Mr. Ciralsky on indefinite
administrative leave, citing what Agency officials maintained were
legitimate' counter-intelligence concerns. Mr. Ciralsky's rotation to
the NSC was blocked and his CIA position and career in government were
put in jeopardy.
After ten months investigating this matter, it has become clear that the
"concerns' about Mr. Ciralsky were anything but "legitimate" In
connection with my representation of Mr. Ciralsky, I have uncovered a
pernicious effort on the part of CIA and FBI officials to subject
Jewish-Americans, my client included, to enhanced counter-intelligence
scrutiny and treatment and disparate security processing based upon a
"profile" which focuses upon their Jewish religious beliefs and
practices and their ethnic and religious ties to the State of Israel.
The disparate and unlawful treatment to which Jewish-Americans have been
subjected includes but is not limited to: (a) aberrant security and
counterintelligence "investigations" and "reinvestigations;" (b) abusive
polygraph and counterintelligence interrogations focused entirely, upon
associations with Jewish and Zionist causes and/or contact with Israelis
and American-Israeli dual nationals; and (e) knowingly false accusations
of "deception" and "lack of candor" relating to associations with
Jewish and Zionist causes and/or contact with Israelis and American-Israeli dual nationals.
This cycle of discrimination was applied to Mr. Ciralsky, as other loyal
Jewish Americans, including another individual who was slated to rotate
to the NSC at the same time as Mr. Ciralsky. Although Mr. Ciralsky and I
have, for nearly a year, raised with CIA officials the impropriety and
illegality of the above-cited conduct, our efforts have only recently
On July 6, 1998, the CIA provided me with redacted copies of Mr.
Ciralsky's counter-intelligence and security files. To say that I was
appalled by documents contained in these files would be an
understatement. Put simply, they reveal strains of anti-Semitism and
nativism among CIA and FBI counterintelligence and security officials
responsible for investigating, interrogating and harassing Mr. Ciralsky
and other Jewish Americans, and ultimately adjudicating Mr. Ciralsky's
fitness to hold a security clearance and to serve in government.
For example, in documents provided by the Agency, counterintelligence
and security officials make disparaging references to "rich Jewish"
Americans like Mr. Ciralsky's wealthy daddy" and characterize as
subversive and un-American donations by Jewish Americans - Mr. Ciralsky
and his family included - to charitable causes like the UJA and Israel
As I am confident that the CIA's view in this regard are not consistent
with Clinton Administration policy, I have attached one of the
above-referenced documents for your consideration. I trust you will
agree that the document's substance, language and tone are entirely
unacceptable. Frankly, I am amazed by what senior Agency officials are
willing to commit to writing; in instructions to subordinates no less.
I have maintained from the outset that Mr. Ciralsky's case can and
should be settled short of a court battle. It was not until yesterday,
however, that I had any meaningful discussion with the CIA about
settling this matter short of litigation and the embarrassing public
disclosure of anti-Semitic Agency material which would inevitably
accompany litigation. Agency lawyers insist that these settlement
discussions are serious; I certainly hope that is the case. I also
understand that Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet is
thoroughly aware of Mr. Ciralsky's case and the broader legal and policy
questions raised by it.
Since the CIA now maintains - and has represented to Malcolm Hoenlein of
the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
among others - that Mr. Ciralsky is guilty of no wrongdoing, I assume
that he would continue to be welcome at the National Security Council.
Indeed, it is my understanding that Richard Clarke is still eager to
make use of Mr. Ciralsky's extraordinary talents.
Please let me hear from you on this important matter.
Neal M. Sher
Justice4JP Note: Sandy Berger did not respond to this letter.
Excerpts of 60 Minutes Interview of Adam Ciralsky - Part I
Excerpts of 60 Minutes Interview of Adam Ciralsky - Part II
Major Jewish Leaders Turning A Blind Eye Toward Anti-Semitism At The CIA?