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Israel steals us blind!

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Feb 16, 2003, 11:58:49 PM2/16/03
Pentagon, GAO Report Israeli Espionage And Illegal Technology Retransfer

by Shawn L. Twing

April 1996, pgs. 14, 113

The new year started off on a sour note for the controversial U.S.-Israeli
"strategic relationship" when two reports from the Department of Defense and
one from the General Accounting Office (GAO) highlighted Israel's espionage
activities against the United States and Israeli thefts of U.S. military
technology secrets, and confirmed that Israel has illegally retransferred
U.S. technology from the largely U.S.-funded Lavi fighter program to China.

The first round of revelations began with a report in the February issue of
Moment, a Jewish monthly published in Washington, DC. The magazine described
a Defense Investigative Service (DIS) warning to U.S. defense contractors
about espionage by U.S. allies. One of the counterintelligence profiles
provided with the memo detailed Israeli "espionage intentions and
capabilities" aimed at the United States (see p. 113 for the full text of
the DIS Counterintelligence Profile). The memo was sent to defense
contractors last October by the Syracuse, NY-based agency responsible for
issuing security clearances to Department of Defense employees and defense

Shortly after the Moment story appeared, Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
executive director Abraham Foxman protested that the profile "impugns
American Jews and borders on anti-Semitism" because of its reference to the
potential security threat posed by individuals having "strong ethnic ties"
to Israel, a euphemism for American Jews.

The Pentagon responded to Foxman by canceling the memo and promising not to
issue a similar one in the future. In a letter to Foxman, Assistant
Secretary of Defense for military intelligence Emmett Paige, Jr. wrote that,
"The content of [the DIS counterintelligence profile] does not reflect the
official position of the Department of Defense." He added that, "We have
instructed appropriate personnel that similar documents will not be produced
in the future."

Within days after the DIS warning became public, however, the General
Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, released a
declassified report which also included numerous revelations about espionage
against the United States by its allies. The report, "Defense Industrial
Security: Weaknesses in U.S. Security Arrangements With Foreign-Owned
Defense Contractors," claimed that "Country A" (publicly identified as
Israel in the Feb. 22 Washington Times) "conducts the most aggressive
espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally." The list of
espionage operations described in the report included the following:

"An espionage operation run by the intelligence organization responsible
for collecting scientific and technologic information for [Israel] paid a
U.S. government employee to obtain U.S. classified military intelligence
documents. [This is a reference to the 1985 arrest of Jonathan Pollard, a
civilian U.S. naval intelligence analyst who provided Israel's LAKAM
espionage agency an estimated 800,000 pages of classified U.S. intelligence
"Several citizens of [Israel] were caught in the United States stealing
sensitive technology used in manufacturing artillery gun tubes.
"Agents of [Israel] allegedly stole design plans for a classified
reconnaissance system from a U.S. company and gave them to a defense
contractor from [Israel].
"A company from [Israel] is suspected of surreptitiously monitoring a DOD
telecommunications system to obtain classified information for [Israeli]
"Citizens of [Israel] were investigated for allegations of passing advanced
aerospace design technology to unauthorized scientists and researchers.
"[Israel] is suspected of targeting U.S. avionics, missile telemetry and
testing data, and aircraft communications systems for intelligence
"It has been determined that [Israel] targeted specialized software that is
used to store data in friendly aircraft warning systems.
"[Israel] has targeted information on advanced materials and coatings for
collection. An [Israeli] government agency allegedly obtained information
regarding a chemical finish used on missile re-entry vehicles from a U.S.
No U.S. Response

The release of the General Accounting Office report makes it clear that
Congress is aware of the extent of Israeli espionage in the United States,
but so far no public action has been taken by the U.S. government in

The third revelation of Israel's violation of its privileged security
relationship with the United States came from the Office of Naval
Intelligence (ONI). Its 36-page report, "Worldwide Challenges to Naval
Strike Warfare," contained the first unclassified confirmation by the U.S.
government that Israel has retransferred sensitive U.S. military technology
to China. In reference to the Israeli-Chinese military relationship, the
report reads, in part: "U.S. technology has been acquired through Israel in
the form of the Lavi fighter and possibly [surface-to-air] missile
technology." Prior to the release of the ONI report, U.S. intelligence
officials had been unwilling to state publicly what has become an open
secret: that Israel violated U.S. law and numerous agreements with the
United States by providing China with sensitive U.S. technology that has the
potential to threaten U.S. national security interests directly (for a
report on Israel's illegal retransfer of Lavi technology, see the January
1996 Washington Report, p. 12).

Defense and intelligence analysts have speculated that these reports signal
the beginning of a new, downgraded chapter in the U.S.-Israeli intelligence
and security relationship. One CIA veteran who has served in Tel Aviv told
the Washington Report that "the CIA has seen less and less return for its
investment with Israeli intelligence of late." The agent said that "the
failure of their entire intelligence apparatus to anticipate the Rabin
shooting, in many people's minds, was probably one of the biggest reasons
for us to downgrade our ties with the Israelis."

Another U.S. government official from the Defense Investigative Service was
quoted in the Saudi Gazette as saying that the frank DIS counterintelligence
profile of Israel resulted from the fact that "the Pentagon has gone kind of
sour on Israel as of late," because of Israel's "illegal sale of the Lavi
fighter to China and dozens of other spy cases within the U.S. defense
industry, which I'm not at liberty to discuss."

Criticism also has come from other, seemingly unlikely sources. Dov Zakheim
and Stephen Bryen are Jewish Americans who held high-level posts in the
Pentagon during the Reagan administration (Bryen was undersecretary of
defense for trade security policy, and Zakheim was undersecretary of defense
for planning and resources). They had much to say about the DIS
counterintelligence profile.

In the Feb. 19, 1996 issue of The Jewish Week of Queens, NY, Bryen condemned
the profile as "blatant racism," but admitted that "the biggest problem is
primarily Israel's sale of war materials to countries that may be adverse to
our interests, and maybe Israel's, too." He concluded that "Israel's
attitude seems to be, we don't care about thatwe're just arms merchants."
Bryen's comments were notable because he is the founder and his wife is
executive director of the Washington-based Jewish Institute for National
Security Affairs (JINSA), a hard-line lobbying group with ties to Israel's
arms industry.

Zakheim, who currently is president of a security consulting firm in
Arlington, VA, told the Israeli financial paper Globes that, in reference to
U.S. allegations of Israeli espionage, "It's obvious that there is a lot of
smoke, and Israel does nothing to dispel it. This is not an American problem
but an Israeli problem." He also argued that raising the specter of
anti-Semitism in the Pentagon is misguided. "Do you know how many Jews work
in the Defense Department?" he asked. "I'd recommend to Israel and the
Jewish establishment not to play this card. This can only cause damage."

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