Major Jewish Leaders Turning A Blind Eye Toward Anti-Semitism At The CIA?

Steve K. Walz - The Jewish Press - Week of February 18, 2000

One of President Clinton's most trusted aides, National Security Adviser Samuel (Sandy) Berger, has allegedly turned a blind eye toward a growing scandal inside the U.S. intelligence establishment. So says the lawyer for Adam Ciralsky, an Orthodox Jew with top secret national security clearance who was recently terminated by the CIA under questionable circumstances.

Two weeks ago, the popular CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes" ripped the veneer off the Ciralsky case, with its ramifications of religious profiling in the U.S. security establishment (read parts of Lesley Stahl's interview on page 8). Now Ciralsky's attorney, the former U.S. government Nazi-hunter Neal Sher, is pointing an accusatory finger at Berger, Vice President Al Gore and a major Jewish organizational leader.

"In this case, the CIA has no evidence against my client and they have acknowledged the fact that he didn't do anything wrong. I'd be the first person to say that if he was caught spying, arrest him. But this isn't the case here," Sher told The Jewish Press in an exclusive interview.

"What we are dealing with here is a case of embedded anti-Semitism, combined with arrogance and ignorance about the American Jewish community."

Sher was so perplexed by the CIA's acknowledgment of the fact that Ciralsky had not done anything wrong, that he fired off a letter to Berger (the contents of which appear on the back page of this week's Jewish Press).

"I not only wrote to him, I sent him copies of the offensive documents which spoke of Mr. Ciralsky's rich Jewish daddy' some time ago but I never heard back from him," Sher said.

Sher also tried to get the attention of Vice President Gore by using his clout with the Jewish establishment. "I know that Mr. Gore got the information," said Sher, "but I never heard back from him either."

Sher then tried to approach the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Much to his chagrin, he found that the ADL knew about the accusation against Ciralsky but didn't take much interest in the case until . . .

"When the story originally broke on National Public Radio, which blasted the CIA, the ADL then decided to track me down and told me they thought they could get us a great settlement from the CIA," Sher recalled.

"The ADL issued a statement claiming that they did not think there was systemic anti-Semitism involved in this case. Then I find out that (ADL National Director) Abe Foxman had a contract with the CIA to provide them with sensitivity training.' How could the ADL act on my client's behalf when they were involved with the intelligence establishment? It's a conflict."

This eye-opening experience is nothing new to Sher, who saw just about everything during his days as the U.S. government's number one Nazi hunter.

"When I was chief of the Nazi hunting unit (during the 1980's), I had to deal with the likes of Pat Buchanan (then the White House communications director), who made me feel the sting of dual loyalty charges, which was offensive and disturbing," he recalled.

"American Jews are loyal American citizens even if they have the strongest ties and affection for Israel. This intimidating notion that somehow you are a second class citizen or that you are not as loyal as other Americans is blatant anti-Semitism and holds Jews to a standard that other people are not held to."

Sher fears that the intelligence community can get away with these types of actions because of the fear factor within the Jewish community itself.

"The intelligence community is a humongous bureaucracy. Counter-intelligence's job is to root out moles or spies within the U.S. government. People are scared to death of them," said Sher.

"I believe that these are operations that are out of control and the intelligence community throws up the facade of, if you only knew what we knew, you'd support us.'

"Too many people give them winks and nods. And, I hate to say it, but too many times American Jewish leaders and other ranking Jews in government are so scared with being hit with the dual loyalty canard that they bend over backwards to avoid doing the right thing, even when it hits them squarely in the face."

When The Jewish Press contacted the Mr. Berger's office, a press spokesperson maintained that the NSC and CIA maintain their own agencies and work independent of each other without interfering in internal investigations.

See Also:
  • Neal Sher Letter to Samuel R. Berger
  • Ciralksy page