One Man's Agony After The Fact

Bruce Brill - The Jerusalem Post - October 23, 1992

In the early 1970s, I worked as a Mideast intelligence analyst for the US National Security Agency (NSA).

We called ourselves "spooks," implying that our work was intriguing as well as secret, although our intelligence-gathering efforts were, by and large, quite routine. Yet, over the course of my years at "The Agency," I was privy to some sensitive and disturbing bits of intelligence.

The American intelligence community is a society unto itself, with social guidelines stricter than those of ordinary society. Even personnel peripheral to Agency intelligence work - cleaners, for example - need intensive security checks and clearances before they are allowed to set foot in the NSA complex. The hierarchy of security clearances begins at Top Secret level and goes up from there. Most intelligence remains off-limits to even the cleared analyst by means of the requisite "need" to know" restriction.

Only a select few who sit at the top of the hierarchy are privy to the vast bulk of intelligence processed by the Agency. By controlling the type of information passed on to National Security Council policy-makers, these few Agency heads effectively wield an immense amount of influence by proxy, with profound national, if not global implications. Their hidden agenda remain hidden - to the public, to the Congress and even to members of the National Security Council itself (unless, of course, there is collusion between certain members of the NSC and Agency higher-ups).

Whether George Bush, who headed the CIA in the mid 1970s, was in cahoots with or duped by the intelligence manipulators raises some unsettling questions about the man who is bidding to remain US president for the next four years.

The traditional antagonism of the US State Department toward Israel is mirrored in the US intelligence community. For example, US intelligence can pinpoint every new housing unit set up in Judea or Samaria, yet could lose a Scud-laden vessel bound from North Korea to Iran on the open seas. The Hebrew language, too was the only one used at the Agency for overt spying, with Hebrew linguists told to declare they were "Special Arabic" linguists.

While working at the Agency as an Arabic and "Special Arabic" traffic analyst in the early 1970s, I learned of the planned October 6, 1973, invasion of Israel by Syria and Egypt - 30 hours before the US notified Israel.

Upper-echelon Agency personnel knew of the planned attack hours, if not days, prior to that. Not passing this vital information along in time resulted in the unnecessary death and maiming of thousands of young Israelis.

The US intelligence community's anti-Israel policy has until now been successfully kept secret, even at the Agency itself, since the "need to know" rule governing such policies is strictly applied only to select non-Jews.

It was, therefore, quite by accident that I discovered the existence of chambers at NSA that are off-limits to Jews, US citizens with the highest security clearances, simply because they are Jews. Clearly, efforts toward Israel's demise are made here. These Agency inner sancta are so totally immune from any monitoring, that such unconstitutional goings on continue freely.

Are there inner sancta of this kind off-limits to blacks, Orientals or other American minorities? There is no reason to believe that there aren't, since there is absolutely no answerability to prevent it. Such discriminatory practices fly in the face of the US Constitution's Bill of Rights. Likewise, working against Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, hardly seems very American.

Since these things became known to me only after the Yom Kippur War, I naturally assumed that Israel, America's publicly declared friend, would have been notified immediately through the proper channels about the imminent attack on October 6, 1973. Now I live haunted by the possibility that, somehow, I could have discovered that the intelligence was not being forwarded, gotten it to the Israelis and thereby saved some measure of the anguish that became known as the Yom Kippur War.

Yet I didn't, and I agonize over it each Yom Kippur. I was a loyal American military intelligence analyst who contributed toward Israel's planned demise. I received my honorable discharge from the US Army and am a free man; Jonathan Pollard, by contrast, is still in prison.

The writer worked for the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland, while serving in the US Army Security from 1971 to 1974.

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