Fired Jewish CIA Employee Appeals To Clinton, Lieberman

The Jewish Press - September 8, 2000

WASHINGTON - (JPFS) - The lawyer for a former Central Intelligence Agency staff attorney who says he was fired by the spy agency because he is an observant Jew is calling on President Clinton and Vice President Gore to intervene on behalf of his client.

Lawyers for Adam Ciralsky filed a civil action suit in a US district court in Washington last month against Central Intelligence Director George Tenet, CIA General Counsel Robert Mc Namara Jr., and other CIA and FBI officials for what they describe as "outrageous, constitutionally repugnant security investigations and disciplinary processes," conducted against their client.

But the plea by Ciralsky's lawyer - together with an appeal the lawyer made to Senator Joseph Lieberman, as reported in the Boston Phoenix news- paper last week - may elevate the case from a purely legal matter to a political one. Gore, with his pick of Lieberman as his running mate, has made challenging anti-Jewish bias into something of a campaign selling point. Yet the court documents filed on behalf of Ciralsky assert that during Gore's watch, the CIA discriminated against a Jewish employee.

"Mr. Ciralsky was unjustly singled out for investigation and subsequently interrogated, harassed, surveilled and terminated from employment with the CIA solely because he is a Jew and he practices the Jewish religion," the complaint filed to the court reads.

Documents released by the CIA in July 1998 include one that describes Ciralsky as a "rich Jewish" employee with a "wealthy daddy." Another describes Ciralsky and other Jewish-Americans as "pro-Israel baggage." Other records detail Ciralsky and his family's monetary support for the United Jewish Appeal, a practice that the documents claimed paint Ciralsky and his family as extreme supporters of Israel's hard liners in the Likud party."

A CIA spokeswoman declined to comment on the case, while denying all charges of discrimination. "We certainly have a policy in that we do not discriminate on the basis of religion or sexual orientation or gender or ethnic background," said the spokeswoman, Anya Guilsher.

Tenet has ordered CIA intelligence managers to undergo sensitivity training offered by the Anti- Defamation League. But Ciralsky's lead lawyer calls the response inadequate.

"Mr. Clinton and his people, and that includes Mr. Gore, ought to see what's going on and make it right," said David H. Shapiro, one of Ciralsky's Washington- based lawyers.

The CIA has said that it terminated Ciralsky's employment because he did not fully disclose his relationship with two people with dual US-Israeli citizenship who work for Israeli defense firms and have possible ties to Israeli intelligence. It also said that Ciralsky failed two polygraph examinations, a charge Ciralsky denies.

People close to the case also say the CIA feared that Ciralsky, like other observant Jews in the agency, was a high risk for following the route of Jonathan Pollard, the US Navy analyst recruited by Israeli intelligence agents in the mid-1980s.

Ciralsky, who was hired by the CIA in December 1996, served with distinction as an attorney advisor in the Office of General Counsel. In October 1997 the agency suspended him and withheld a scheduled promotion before firing him in December 1999.

Justice4JP Note:

Mr. Lieberman has made no statement on the Ciralsky Case in the 3 years since it became public knowledge. Neither Mr. Clinton nor Mr. Lieberman has to date, responded to Ciralsky's appeal.
  • The Ciralsky page