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
Washington, DC

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 borne fruit.

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 Bonds.

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.

Best regards.


Neal M. Sher

Justice4JP Note:

Sandy Berger did not respond to this letter.

See Also:

  • 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?
  • Ciralksy page