CIA Employee, Ciralsky, Claims Agency Harrased Him Over 'Israel Ties'

June 14, 1998 - Hillel Kuttler - The Jerusalem Post

WASHINGTON (June 14) - A Jewish lawyer at the Central Intelligence Agency is considering suing the agency for harassing him during security checks as he was about to be transferred to a White House job last year. Neal Sher, a Washington lawyer representing the plaintiff, Adam Ciralsky, said yesterday the action would constitute a "major lawsuit" for civil damages that "lays out how the treatment of him was just obnoxious, antisemitic and... is part of a broader practice throughout the national establishment." Sher called the practice "offensive."

Ciralsky and the CIA have been discussing how the complaint can be resolved short of litigation, a source added. Vice President Al Gore's legal counsel's office, as well as Rahm Emanuel - one of US President Bill Clinton's top advisers - are also involved in discussions on resolving the case, the source added. Ciralsky has worked at the CIA since 1996 as an attorney in its honors program and last October was placed on administrative leave, with pay, as he was about to be rotated into duty at the National Security Council, Sher said.

According to the online magazine Salon, which broke the story, Ciralsky told an associate that he is a victim of a government "witch hunt" for employees spying for Israel. Ciralsky is not suing against the polygraph being administered per se, but because of the CIA's harassment of him, including its raising "nasty allegations questioning his loyalty" to the US, Sher said. The CIA made an issue of Ciralsky's being a distant relative of the late president Chaim Weizmann, Sher said.

Ciralsky's goals are to assume his NSC job, to have his record cleared and "to stop this profiling" of Jews, Sher added. Sher said his client, as well as other Jews, are routinely harassed in the CIA through the administering of polygraph tests that ask "about ties to Jewish causes, Zionist causes, familial ties, Israelis they know, involvement with the UJA [United Jewish Appeal] - the most routine things."

Ciralsky had visited Israel as a college student, but "his contacts with Israel are no different from the contacts of the vast majority of American Jews," Sher said. The Milwaukee-born Ciralsky has "never failed a polygraph test, as far as he knows" and has been cleared "several times before, and for no good reason they started administering these polygraph tests," Sher said.

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