U.S. Jew Charges CIA with AntiSemitism

By Nitzan Horowitz and Agencies, Ha'aretz Correspondent and Reuters - Sunday, April 11, 1999

WASHINGTON An attorney at the Central Intelligence Agency who was placed on leave from his job has threatened to file a lawsuit charging the CIA with antiSemitism and seek damages, his lawyer said on Friday.

Adam Ciralsky, 27, who was put on leave Oct. 20, 1997, planned to file a lawsuit in federal court by the end of this month, said his attorney, Neal Sher. "He was put on leave because they (CIA officials) were determined for improper reasons to get rid of him because of his legitimate, and his family's legitimate, ties to Israel," Sher said. "Ties meaning they visited, they support Israel, they support Jewish causes like the UJA (United Jewish Appeal), buying Israel bonds," Sher added.

Ciralsky apparently did not fully disclose his ties with Israel while undergoing a polygraph test. He claims that the CIA has taken a continued tough stance against proIsraeli Jews in the agency since the U.S. navy analyst Jonathan Pollard was convicted of using his position to spy for Israel. The CIA said it could not comment on the personnel matter unless Ciralsky waived the Privacy Act but said it had appointed a five member team to investigate the case of Ciralsky in particularly and more generally to investigate the broader issue of antiSemitism.

CIA Director George Tenet sent a message to employees Friday after news of the Ciralsky case aired on National Public Radio. Tenet called antiSemitism "repugnant" and said he would not tolerate it or any discrimination at the CIA.

"I can tell you that we have taken a number of internal steps to investigate the allegations. Let me assure you that we have found nothing whatsoever to substantiate the charges of antiSemitism in this case," Tenet said.

Ciralsky was hired in the CIA's office of general counsel in December 1996 and then was to rotate to the National Security Council in December 1997 for one year. But he was placed on indefinite administrative leave in October 1997 for what the CIA said were counterintelligence concerns, according to Sher.

A draft of the lawsuit, to be filed later this month in federal court here, said the CIA found Ciralsky to be a security risk simply because of his religion and support for Israel. The lawsuit draft also contends the CIA rigged a polygraph examination and that Ciralsky was subjected to "hostile" interrogations and "unlawful electronic surveillance."

The lawsuit will seek as yet unspecified damages and a clearing of Ciralsky's record, said Sher, a former director of the Justice Department's office of special investigations which is the Nazi hunting unit.

The antiSemitism charges center on a CIA document about questioning Ciralsky. Sher said the document shows antiSemitic sentiment. He quoted one agent as writing in the document: "From my experience with rich Jewish friends from college I would fully expect Adam's wealthy Daddy to support Israeli political/social causes ... I think that it is important that he state openly he and his family's support for the Likud party," the document says. "He may simply be withholding on this issue because it paints him and his family as extreme supporters of Israel's hardliners in the Likud party, and he wishes to avoid being seen as such a lover of Israel," the document said.

The CIA document also said Ciralsky must be made to admit clearly he and his family were "deep supporters" of Israel and that that would not be misunderstood. "We are sophisticated and broadminded enough to understand the unique ties that bind American Jews to their brethren in Israel," the document reads.

The document ends by saying Ciralsky "has to look in the mirror and admit that he (of all people!) was probably used, manipulated and taken advantage of by men who just don't intellectually support the state of Israel but who actively represent its security and economic interests."

In another internal document, an official who conducted the polygraph apparently testified: "I got into his face just a little bit ... needless to say, his chair was backed against the wall in no time at all."

Sher wrote Attorney General Janet Reno on March 22 asking for an investigation of CIA officials for allegedly sharing information from Ciralsky's security and counterintelligence files with other CIA employees not involved with the case.

The CIA appealed to three former directors John Deutch, Robert Gates and William Webster who issued a joint statement saying that Ciralsky's allegations went counter to their experience at the CIA.

In addition, Deutch added a personal statement that said: "I am Jewish and during my entire experience with the CIA ... I never encountered any hint of antiSemitism at any point."

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