CIA head George Tenet and Jews

Natan Guttman - Ha'aretz [Excerpt] - June 14, 2001
Source: IMRA News - June 14, 2001

The most significant event in CIA head George Tenet's relationship with Israel involves the matter of a pardon for Jonathan Pollard. On the eve of the signing of the Wye Agreement in October 1998, Benjamin Netanyahu received a promise from President Clinton that Pollard would be released.

The administration thereby hoped to express its appreciation for Israel's consenting to sign the agreement and also to work on softening Israeli public opinion. However, at the last minute, Clinton withdrew his consent because of the CIA director's vehement objection. Tenet also told Clinton that he would resign immediately if Pollard is released. Although the other intelligence and security agencies also opposed Pollard's early release, it is possible that Tenet's intervention is what eventually swayed the matter.

Jewish and other organizations working toward Pollard's release recall Tenet as the bad guy in the matter. During his term as CIA director the agency's ties with American Jewish community have dropped to a low. It was argued that the CIA discriminates against its Jewish employees for fear that they will relay secrets to Israel. A former attorney at the CIA, Adam Ciralsky, claimed as much. Ciralsky said he was discriminated against because he was a kippah-wearing Jew, and that he was told he was suspected of spying for Israel.

A senior CIA official, who appeared on the "60 Minutes" television news magazine in profile only, said the agency suspects that Israel is plotting to hire religious Jews from among its employees to spy against the U.S. Ciralsky also presented the media with internal CIA documents containing anti-Semitic remarks and stereotypical references to Jews.

The Jewish establishment flooded the CIA with complaints, and Tenet publicly denounced the expressions of anti-Semitism and distanced his organization from any discrimination against Jews.

See Also:
  • Wye Double-Cross Page
  • The Ciralsky/Tenenbaum Page articles
  • Netanyahu Reveals Clinton Double-Cross On Pollard Release
  • Is Jonathan Pollard a Camp David Bargaining Chip?