In an interview to Ynet, Hirsch explained that before September 11 and the establishment of the Homeland Security Office, a picture of him as a volunteer in Israel could not have stirred such a row at the State Department. Now it's enough to get your security clearance cancelled, he said.
Hirsch is one of many American Jews currently facing suspicions of dual loyalties on the part of the US defense establishment due to their ties, or alleged ties, with Israel. Similar cases in the Pentagon and the CIA were reported in the last few months.
'US changed the rules'
The picture in Hirsch's office was taken 23 years ago when the 23-year-old arrived in Israel with other Jewish American volunteers to work in IDF bases. We worked in army bases doing civilian duties, Hirsch recounted. "For two weeks I helped a tank mechanic. I wasn't even a mechanic myself, I was merely sent to fetch the tools," he described.
Before leaving for Israel, Hirsch reported his employers at the time, the CIA, of the trip and was granted permission to go. He visited the country once again in 1992.
According to Hirsch, when he started working for the State Department he was told he should keep away from his Israeli relatives, and claims to have done just that. Years ago I have accepted the fact that in order to work in this business I would have to sever ties with my family in Israel, he stated. I have been playing their game, but now they changed the rules, Hirsch added.