The FBI arrest of 85-year-old Ben-Ami Kadish on suspicion of espionage Tuesday lends an unexpected twist to another, somewhat stale, espionage case in Israel-US relations' history – the Pollard case, a senior intelligence source told Newsweek Magazine Wednesday.
According to the report, the US intelligence services intercepted a telephone conversation between Kadish and his handler, referred to in the investigation as CC1 – in which he instructs Kadish to "say nothing. Let them do all the talking. You haven't done anything. You can't remember something that happened 25 years ago."
According to intelligence sources quoted in Newsweek, Kadish's arrest may indicate the long-term fallout from the Pollard case is not necessarily a thing of the past; since his alleged activities, which were only recently discovered – more than 20 years after they occurred – surfaced as part of secret intelligence monitoring related to ongoing inquiries about the Pollard case.
Jonathan Pollard was convicted for spying for Israel in 1986 and is serving a life term.
The information obtained by Kadish, however, is believed to be slightly less sensitive than the one provided by Pollard. The latte has access to top secret document, while the former only has access to documents classified as "secret."
'There's no doubt it's him'
The FBI maintains that among the classified documents provided by Kadish to Israel were items containing restricted data regarding nuclear weapons, modified version of F-15 fighter jets supposedly sold by the US to Saudi Arabia, as well as materials pertaining to the Patriot antimissile system.
Ron Olive, the Navy Criminal Investigative Service investigator who was in charge of the Pollard inquiry told the magazine he believed CC-1 could be only one person: Yosef Yagur, a former official who served as science adviser at the Israeli consulate in New York from 1980 to 1985.
Olive said the person described in the new FBI documents as Kadish's handler "has got to be" Yagur. "There's no doubt it's him." In 1986 Yagur was also identified as one of Pollard's Israeli handlers in a US Justice Department sentencing memorandum.
Ironically, Kadish's arrest came just as federal prosecutors are preparing to begin the long-delayed trial of two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, which are accused of violating the US Espionage Act for allegedly sharing classified information they received from US officials, with both the media and the Israeli government. Both men entered a plea of not guilty.
Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the US attorney's office in Manhattan declined comment on the origins of the case. Kadish's defense lawyer, Bruce Goldstein, declined comment as well.