Transcript [ENGLISH]: Interview of Kielczynski, Israeli Spy for CIA:
Kol Yisrael Radio - [Translation by IMRA]
Aaron Lerner - IMRA Special Feature - May 9, 2001
The following is IMRA's English translation of the transcript of an interview of former CIA Agent, Andrzej Kielczynski, (aka Joseph Barak) by Israel Radio correspondent Gidon Remez.
The interview was broadcast on the Israel Radio Reshet Bet (Channel 2)program "Foreign Affair Journal" on March 27, 2001 on. Remez hosts the program.
The transcript was provided by Ifat Media Information Center - Press Clippings.
IMRA Notes: The Kielczynski spy case represents yet another lost opportunity in a long string of opportunities to press for the release of Jonathan Pollard. Esther Pollard reports that in her recent meeting with PM Sharon, the prime minister indicated that the Government of Israel has no interest in prosecuting Kielczynski and no intention of using the case to press for her husband's release. According to Pollard, Sharon's attitude towards the entire affair was implausibly dismissive.
Kielczynski's confession that he betrayed Israel's nuclear secrets, budgetary secrets and agents - including Jonathan Pollard - has been lent credence by various government agencies in both Israel and the US. Nevertheless, in spite of the obvious damage to the State's national security, Israel shows little will to prosecute Kielczynski. This self-abasing and self-destructive posture on the part of Israel is routinely demonstrated whenever there is a possible conflict of interest between the US and Israel.
The claim of the interviewer, Gidon Remez, that the Pollard case is a "mirror image" of the Kielczynski case is utterly false. The only similarity between the two cases is that both spied for an ally. Compare and contrast Jonathan Pollard's 16 years in prison in the harshest of conditions, to the fact that Kielczynski has yet to be arrested or indicted. Compare also the propaganda value that the US has gained, routinely calling into question Israel's reliability as an ally by exploiting the plight of Pollard in the media, while Israel has refrained from any similar exploitation of the Kielczynski case.
All indications are that Israel intends to once again sweep American espionage under the rug, as has been done in the past with other cases - like that of the IDF officer, Yossi Amit, who was caught spying for the US at the time that Pollard arrested for spying for Israel. Instead of using the Amit case to secure Pollard's release in a spy swap, the Amit affair was hushed up and buried.
The loser is invariably Israeli national security - and of course Jonathan Pollard - as Israel's interests continue to be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency in deference to the American ally.
TRANSCRIPT of INTERVIEW:
GIDON REMEZ: The terrorist attack at French Hill, thank G-d, while serious, was not as bad as it could have been, so now we can diverge off the topic of the daily security routine and delve into a 16-year-old security story that is reappearing in the headlines lately, with the recent return of Andrzej Kielczynski to Israel.
He is, to the best of our knowledge, the first Israeli that has been publicly unmasked, through the following interview, as a foreign operative that was enlisted to spy for the USA by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
There are times that even a journalist is grateful to the Army Censor. Yesterday, we asked the Prime Minister's office, in order to get the response of the General Security Service (ShaBa"K) , whether there is currently any ongoing investigation of Kielczynski , or whether any action has been taken on this case at all. A short while ago, we received the reply that the issue has been raised with the ShaBa"K and that they are currently looking into the matter.
Yet, just yesterday, the army censor initiated contact with us, requesting that all the pertaining security information that is contained in the interview be handed over to it. Obviously, as far as we can see, anything pertaining to spying is included in this category of 'security details,' except, perhaps, for some minor details.
I think you will agree that the fact that the ShaBa"K processed our request through the army censor raises the probability that there is much truth to the story related by Kielczynski - who as a citizen who was enlisted for espionage purposes against a friendly country, is almost a mirror case of 'Jonathan Pollard.' *[J4JP Note: There is no symmetry between the 2 cases! See note at top.]
We were, therefore, not surprised to find that eventually the Censor did confirm most of the details in the interview, which clearly gives Israel no small coup for propaganda purposes from this whole situation.
Kielczynski was not, however, an employee of the Security establishment, as was Pollard. He was an immigrant from Poland occupied with sketching and painting, which, according to him, was not because of any special talent, but, rather, due to financial necessity. He was involved in nationalistic activities, especially expressing opposition to ties with Germany, to the point of self-immolation. This, in turn, created many connections for him within the Likud party, even with the late Menachem Begin, he maintains, which gained him membership in the Likud's central committee.
Regarding the initial question, whether or not he was originally sent to Israel as an agent for Polish or Soviet intelligence, Kielczynski responded that he has been thoroughly questioned many times by the ShaBa"K and, eventually, by the CIA, and both Agencies subsequently cleared him from all such allegations.
Kielczynski spoke with 'the International program' (radio show) after he returned to Israel, under circumstances that will soon be described.
* * * * *
REMEZ: So, what was it that finally convinced Kielczynski 16 years ago to accept the CIA offer and spy on Israel, on the USA's behalf?
KIELCZYNSKI: Personal reasons, such as, let's just say, a much more secure financial position, the fact that I was in basic agreement with the objectives that were set for me, perhaps the whole general situation that was prevalent at the time in Israel, which was simply not to my liking. But, ultimately, I enjoyed the work that I was involved in, and I accepted it wholeheartedly.
REMEZ: Did your acceptance have anything to do with the many problems that you saw with the State of Israel in general and with the security establishment in particular, or with the Likud's leadership?
KIELCZYNSKI: With the Likud's leadership I didn't really have any problems. With the security establishment however, I had problems, but that was really only in the beginning when I initially arrived in Israel. After that the situation calmed down a lot, let's put it like that.
REMEZ: How were you recruited by the CIA ?
KIELCZYNSKI: The recruitment! I guess they had been following my movements, my activities for some time, perhaps for several years. They then gently approached me and eventually came up with an offer. The contract was signed in Frankfurt; Germany, between myself and a CIA representative, who was then the second Secretary at the American Embassy in Israel. His name was Thomas Waltz.
REMEZ: According to Kielczynski , Mr. Waltz is still working in Washington, but our investigation couldn't find him on a personnel list of the American State Department, this is certainly fitting behavior for a CIA agent. The Agency didn't give Kielczynski a copy of the initial contract or, for that matter, copies of any other documents that were signed later, but he did present for us scraps of paper containing addresses of contact points outside Israel, together with a thick package of airline tickets to many international destinations, where it appears extremely unlikely that he would have been able to finance any such extensive traveling without the expenses that had been approved for him by the CIA in his contract.
His handlers were based in the American Embassy in Tel-Aviv. In order that they would be able to recognize him, he was ordered to sit at a pre-set time in a Café near the embassy. The signal that he had been sent was a blue chalk mark on the pavement beside a public phone outside 'Metzudat Ze'ev' (Likud party headquarters)
What information was he ordered to pass on to the Americans?
KIELCZYNSKI: You should realize that I have already given the (Israeli) Security Services my first testimony, so I am not exactly sure what I am allowed to say. But, in general, I passed on information about the overall situation in Israel.
They (the Americans) were interested in the situation in the Territories (Judea and Samaria), as well as the attempts by Israel to acquire non-conventional weapons, and also the upheavals and events that were occurring within the country's leadership, which, at the time, was the leadership of the Likud.
The contract stipulated a monthly wage packet of $3000, plus of-course all other expenses and operational monies. I received the wage packet regularly, essentially until the moment the contract expired. In truth I am still owed American Citizenship, after all I acted as an American citizen.
REMEZ: Wasn't that one of the main suits you filed against the Americans?
KIELCZYNSKI: That's right. That was one of my main claims against them; the fact that they didn't complete that detail with the expiration of the contract. So that's why I have a court case waiting for me in the USA. Right now, it's sitting in the Federal courts and deals with the violation of my constitutional rights, my rights as a citizen.
REMEZ: A month ago the Federal Judge in New York rejected the case presented by Kielczynski against the CIA to force them to fulfill his rights based on his contract. The judge, did, however express sympathy and understanding, but was forced to accept the claim by the CIA, based on a precedent in 1875 that it is legitimate to prevent the fulfillment of a contract when it could infringe on national security. According to Kielczynski , these words of the judge attest to his story that there was indeed an official contract. Currently his American attorney is filing an appeal against this judgment.
What was it that made him so attractive to the CIA? Kielczynski says it was a result of his abundant connections.
KIELCZYNSKI: They reached the conclusion that I was the person best suited to get them such quality information, so it made it worthwhile for them to have me working for the CIA.
REMEZ: You had a wide network of connections both within the political scene and within the security establishment, at least in the branch that was connected to the Likud.
KIELCZYNSKI: Yes, indeed I had connections in all these areas.
REMEZ: Specifically, these were the years after the establishment of a new intelligence department during the tenure of Ariel Sharon as Minister of defense, parallel to the one that was already in existence.
KIELCZYNSKI: You're referring to the network that Sharon established under the leadership of Abrasha Tamir. There were a number of intelligence officers who were supposed to bring the ShaBa"K and the Mossad into the picture, at least according to Sharon's plan, but ultimately, none of that really happened; there was the fiasco of the Lebanon War, and all of those officers had to leave the office of the Minister of Defense as a result.
REMEZ: There was also the bureau for Scientific Connections, which was later uncovered with the whole Pollard affair.
KIELCZYNSKI: Are you referring to the group run by Rafi "Meluchlach" [Rafi the Stinker] or run by Rafi Eitan ? Which do you prefer? Actually, their building was right next-to the office of the Minister of Defense. Mr. Eitan was, at the time, the Prime Minister's advisor, except for the anti-terrorist branch, and yes, they managed all the espionage rings right there, amongst them, the ones against the USA. He was also one the people about which I gave the Americans information.
REMEZ: According to the court-suit that you filed against the CIA, you also transferred information about the recruitment and employment of Jonathan Pollard, for espionage purposes for Israel. Now, I understand that the uncovering and arrest of Pollard, chronologically, took place a very short time after your recruitment to the CIA.
KIELCZYNSKI: That is true. I recognized Pollard's name, and I transferred to the Americans all information I had regarding him.
REMEZ: In the reports that you supplied the Americans, in the month between the commencement of your employment and Pollard's arrest, did you supply details about him at all?
KIELCZYNSKI: You have to understand, I don't know exactly what information the Americans had, at the time, about Pollard; it's hard for me to estimate whether the information I supplied had any effect.
REMEZ: But you did supply information?
KIELCZYNSKI: Yes, of course.
REMEZ: Did you supply information about any other Israeli agents in the USA? And do you know whether they were apprehended because of you, or whether regardless of your information they were uncovered or arrested; those cases, perhaps, were simply kept much more quiet than the whole Pollard affair?
KIELCZYNSKI: I did pass on such information but I don't want to go into detail.
REMEZ: You mean to say that there were others?
KIELCZYNSKI: I don't want to go into details!
REMEZ: Now it seems that your case is a mirror* case of the Pollard affair, recruitment of a citizen of a friendly country to spy for another country.
KIELCZYNSKI: I don't think I was the only one working in Israel in.... higher up political echelons, but you see the Americans don't really believe, at least at that time they didn't believe the Government of Israel, indeed they didn't believe the reports of the usage of the money (Federal aid). The Israelis were acquiring too many spare parts for planes for example, than should have been purchased according to American estimates, that means that there was long-term storage etc.
REMEZ: This seems to allude to another detail in your suit against the CIA, in which you claim that you revealed the location of Israel's nuclear arsenal. Did you really deal with this topic in the information that you transferred to the Americans?
KIELCZYNSKI: I dealt with it very minimally. Like I told you, I gave them everything I knew.
REMEZ: Your activities continued for the Americans throughout the period that proceeded the Gulf War and during the war itself?
REMEZ: So that means you reported to them exactly what Israel was planning to do or was already doing to Iraq?
KIELCZYNSKI: Correct. There were also many issues like that, but I don't want to discuss all of them. I assume that there will be a place to do that, I mean in court, there I assume I will have to tell them, tell everything about them, but there were some very, very important reports.
REMEZ: What is really important in the comparison between your case and Pollard's case, is the question, were you really not alone, did you recommend other candidates for recruitment, and do you know who in the end was really recruited?
KIELCZYNSKI: Let me tell you, I didn't... I was requested to recommend several people from both the political and security establishment - people that I thought would be appropriate for recruitment to the CIA. I reported my recommendations and explained why I thought they were appropriate. I don't have a clue if anyone was recruited.
REMEZ: But you estimate that there was a much wider ring of American espionage active in Israel than just you Kielczynski yourself. What was your relative importance in this network?
KIELCZYNSKI: I think my importance in the system was very substantial. Many a time, I was told that my reports went straight to the State Department and even higher than that. I assume that there were other people on a slightly higher or lower level who also reported information to the USA. Perhaps they weren't actual recruits, perhaps they just did it for the money, but, yes, there were more.
REMEZ: What made you suspect that you had been unmasked in 1992 ?
KIELCZYNSKI: All the signs were apparent. The signal that really frightened me was when I wanted to fly out of Israel, so I went to my friend the Minister of Transport, Moshe Katzav, now the President of Israel. I was sitting in his office, and the minister's secretary called the airport to request from the security officer that he would let me through without too many formalities. It appears that the secretary wanted to be polite and he left the phone on speaker, so when he actually spoke to the officer and explained that it was a friend of the minister who would be flying, so that he shouldn't do anything to him, the words, "one second, he's an American spy", were heard. Obviously, the secretary thought it was a joke and then hung up the phone. But for me, it was a glaring red light, so I therefore decided to leave the country for a while.
REMEZ: Did Mr. Katzav also hear those words?
KIELCZYNSKI: No, he didn't hear. He wasn't present at that time in the room.
REMEZ: I see. In Poland, there was some sort of trap that precipitated your arrest on charges of illegal possession of weapons, which seemed very suspicious to you.
KIELCZYNSKI: Those were the stupid games of Polish Intelligence, which is not particularly known for its astuteness.
REMEZ: Why did the CIA start to mistreat you after your illness was diagnosed? First of all, I understand that your illness was detected by medical checks that were initiated by the CIA itself.
KIELCZYNSKI: Yes, by medical checks that were carried out in Los Angeles and arranged especially for me. I was then requested to take a vacation to start recuperating from my disease. After I returned... actually, even before that, I had told them what had happened in the office and many other warning signs, but after that, I gave them the signal that had been designated, warning that I had been discovered. The signal was a phone call to a number that was known to us, I would tell them that I was sick, that was the signal that I had been compromised or that I was in danger.
REMEZ: So how do you explain the apparent willingness of the Agency to take such a risk and push you into talking, as they did when they didn't fulfill your contract, which would result in your revealing the whole story and all the connections that you had with the Agency?
KIELCZYNSKI: I don't know if there is a reason that they pushed me to this. I think that there was simply a lot of confusion and lack of communication between the different departments in the administration that caused the INS to deport me - and to Israel, of all places. I think this must be the first time that an intelligence agency deports a spy to the place that he spied against; it honestly appears utterly ridiculous, and I think that they are very sorry about what happened. One of the signs that they have true remorse over this episode is that the woman who was supposed to be my contact with the CIA suddenly called me at my apartment in New York, she obviously was looking for me there.
REMEZ: After you already left for Israel?
KIELCZYNSKI: After I was already in Israel.
REMEZ: Did you coordinate your return to Israel with the security establishment?
KIELCZYNSKI: No, there was no need for that, all I did was contact the Israeli Consulate to inform them that my passport had expired and I requested to board the plane without a valid passport. I am an Israeli citizen so they allowed me to do so. I bought the airline ticket from my own money, boarded the plane and now I'm here.
REMEZ: How did they welcome you?
KIELCZYNSKI: There was this burly policeman who attempted to make weird faces at me. But first of all, when I proceeded to the policewoman who checked the passports, the computer 'suddenly' broke.
REMEZ: Not every day do they catch such a 'big fish'!
KIELCZYNSKI: True. So the computer was down and I was requested to wait; until the security agent came to the scene it wasn't clear what would happen, but I was ready for everything. It wasn't clear what was happening with me. They saw this old man with a walking stick, so they simply sent my daughter and I home! After a couple of days, several agents appeared at my house and I was requested to supply an explanation, let's not call it an interrogation, at least not yet, an 'explanation'; I assume that they will file a criminal case against me. The security agents treated me in a very fair and elegant way. Obviously, I wouldn't exactly call it friendly, I understand that even though the USA is not exactly an enemy of Israel, but we are still foreigners.
REMEZ: What are the real political, judicial and security ramifications that you would attribute to your story in Israel and the USA and to the relationship between them? What I'm asking is do you think that Israel, after all the damage that you caused her, could use you for her own interests against the USA?
KIELCZYNSKI: I have no idea. I assume that it certainly is a big advantage for Israel that I'm right here. How exactly they will manipulate it? I have no clue.
REMEZ: But the conclusion of the whole episode is, if of course they believe you and the whole story is documented that just like Israel, contrary to it's claims that it was not running an espionage operation inside a friendly country, (the USA) was indeed operating such a network in a friendly country using the other country's citizens, so that was the policy of the Americans even before the whole Pollard episode!
KIELCZYNSKI: Let me tell you, whether they believe me or not is not exactly my problem. If the Senate Intelligence Committee, where I was invited for a special hearing, believed me, I assume that .......
REMEZ: So the outcome - the conclusion, appears to you just as I have defined it?
KIELCZYNSKI: I believe so, but it's hard for me to understand the factors weighing down on the security establishment in this country because there are many types of people there, you know..
REMEZ: Kielczynski, just two more comments to conclude this story. We have received a reply from the American Embassy, stating that it generally does not reveal any details about intelligence or security operations. But in the list of personnel from the Foreign ministry of those years, there is actually a secretary by the name of Thomas Waltz in the American Embassy, the person Kielczynski claims, recruited him.
And, finally, one of the documents that Kielczynski showed us bore a date some three years after his recruitment to the CIA. In it, the present member of Knesset, Yisrael Katz, notified him that he would be appointed the chairman of the Foreign affairs and Security Committee in the Likud central committee - an appointment which was decided by the former chairman of the committee, Ariel Sharon.