Maariv International - September 28, 2004
The FBI counter-intelligence probe against AIPAC, in which Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin allegedly passed on sensitive documents to AIPAC officials may be taking a new turn.
So far it has been characterized by a plethora of leaked hype, and a paucity of any evidence of wrongdoing. To date no arrests have been made, and the current status of the probe is unclear.
However new evidence has emerged that cast a new light on the entire affair, supporting those who from the outset voiced grave doubts about the veracity of the entire affair, claiming it was driven by an agenda.
The evidence revolves around the role of David Szady. He formerly held a senior position at the CIA's Counterintelligence Center, and currently holds a senior position in the FBI's Counterintelligence unit, which initiated the probe.
A Washington source intimately familiar with the US intelligence community has confirmed to Maariv that David Szady personally initiated and oversaw the AIPAC probe.
Szady has been linked to a lawsuit filed by former CIA employee Adam Ciralsky. In the suit, currently being heard by the US District court in the District of Columbia, he claims to be the victim of anti-Jewish discrimination, which ended with his unlawful dismissal from the agency. David Szady is not among the list of defendants, which includes former CIA director George Tenet, and FBI director Louis Freeh, and several other senior Agency and bureau officials, including one "John Doe" Chief Counterintelligence Center CIA.
According to the suit, filed by Attorneys David H. Shapiro, Edward Tolchin and Janine Brookner, he was the victim of "outrageous, constitutionally repugnant, and ultra vires counterintelligence ("CI") and security investigations and disciplinary processes conducted against the plaintiff Adam J. Ciralsky by officials of the Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA" or the "Agency") and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI" or the "Bureau")".
"Mr. Ciralsky was unjustly singled out for investigation and subsequently interrogated, harassed, subjected to surveillance and terminated from employment with the CIA solely because he is a Jew and he practices the Jewish religion. Moreover, this ultra vires and constitutionally repugnant conduct was knowingly undertaken by defendants in conformance with a custom, policy and practice of both the CIA and FBI".
"Here, Mr. Ciralsky seeks damages to compensate for him for his injuries, and injunctive relief to prevent further harm to himself and other Jewish-Americans who work or seek to work in the federal government in so-called intelligence agencies. Indeed, damages and injunctive and other equitable relief are being sought pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act".
Mr Szady had previously been named by senior officials of major Jewish organizations as being one of the driving forces behind the counter-intelligence probe that resulted in the firing of Mr. Ciralsky.
Former CIA Director George Tenet has admitted, in a letter he wrote to the ADL, that the CIA counter-intelligence unit headed by Szady operated in an "insensitive, unprofessional and inappropriate manner" regarding the Adam Ciralsky case.
Subsequently Szady transferred to the FBI, where he currently holds a senior position in the Bureau's CI (Counter-Intelligence) department, which is responsible for the probe involving AIPAC, and is believed to be behind the damaging leaks.
Jewish leaders say this is not the first time David Szady has hit their radar screens. "This guy is bad news", said one of them, on condition of anonymity. "He has a record of targeting and harassing Jewish employees. This includes using inappropriate and unprofessional language that could be construed as bigoted, casting doubts and aspersions on their loyalty to the US, and laying whatever bureaucratic mines he could in their paths".
The FBI has denied any allegations of anti-Semitism on the part of Szady. "David Szady holds no anti-Semitic views, and has never handled a case based on any individual's ethnicity", said a FBI spokesperson questioned previously on this affair.
Other Jewish officials and officers of Jewish organizations are willing to bear this out. "I do not believe he is anti-Semitic", said one senior Jewish official. "I have spoken to Jews who know him personally, and have been to his house, and they have assured me he is not anti-Semitic. They have said however that he may be somewhat overzealous, especially in the hunt for Agent X, who some FBI officials still believe worked with convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, despite the fact that no evidence supporting allegations of his existence has ever come to light over the past 18 years since Pollard was apprehended".
A senior official of a major Jewish organization has said that although there is no conclusive evidence that points to Mr. Szady being a bigot and anti-Semite, the Ciralsky case "showed that there existed, within the CIA at the time, an atmosphere tolerant of insensitive and inappropriate attitudes and demeanor, including in the unit headed by Mr Szady".
He also said that it is important to remain vigilant, since "no institution is ever totally immune to the bacilli of anti-Semitism". "Significant progress has been made. If one looks at the State Department, traditionally considered a bastion of genteel and not always so genteel anti-Semitism, and reflects on the number of Jews who have held senior positions in that body over the past two decades, it is clear that things have significantly changed for the better".
Following the exposure of the Ciralsky case the ADL was approached by former CIA director George Tenet to conduct "sensitivity training", which goes on to this day. FBI director Louis Freeh has adopted a similar program, also run by the ADL.
David Shapiro, Adam Ciralsky's attorney said that his client's current employment conditions "prohibit him from making any further comment on the case, over and above the brief filed with court, which is a matter of public record".