Friday, January 14, 2005

Congressman Robert Wexler Joins the Smear of David Szady

Congressman Robert Wexler: 19th District of Florida: "Contacts: Dana Kelly
Phone: (202) 225-3001

September 29, 2004
Press Release
Wexler Urges Bush to Investigate AIPAC Probe

FBI Official Leading Case Has Alleged Ties to Anti-Semitism

( Washington, D.C.) – Today Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) sent the following letter to President Bush calling on him to investigate David Szady, a senior FBI counterintelligence official leading the bureau’s investigation of an alleged espionage case involving the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Wexler asks Bush to determine whether or not Mr. Szady has a record of unfairly targeting Jews, and if so, urges the President to remove Mr. Szady from the AIPAC case and dismiss him from his post. Wexler also asks President Bush to re-examine the AIPAC probe and consider whether it may have been instigated by anti-Jewish sentiment within the CIA and the FBI.

Wexler raises the possibility that Szady may have led the charge against AIPAC due to his personal bias against Jews. In 1997, as head of the CIA’s Counter Espionage Group (CEG), Mr. Szady was in charge of a unit investigating CIA attorney Adam Ciralsky’s alleged dual loyalties with Israel based merely on Mr. Ciralsky’s Jewish background. Mr. Ciralsky subsequently sued the CIA and FBI for discrimination, which led to a CIA investigation of Mr. Szady and the CEG in 1998. The Anti-Defamation League was hired to perform “sensitivity training” of CEG employees at that time.

According to reports, Mr. Szady has a history of blocking or delaying security clearances for Jewish employees and singling them out for minor security matters. Despite his disturbing record, in 2001 President Bush appointed Mr. Szady to head the interagency unit known as the National Counterintelligence Policy Board where he served for two years before returning to the FBI in 2002.

Wexler’s letter also questions the Bush Administration’s handling of the AIPAC investigation, including its leaking information to the press, appointing Mr. Szady to lead this investigation and failure to share information with Congress. Wexler sent a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft on September 3 asking that he provide details to Congress about the investigation. Mr. Ashcroft has yet to respond to his request.

(Please find a copy of the letter below)

President George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500



September 29, 2004

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing in regard to the FBI’s ongoing investigation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and allegations that it may have served as a conduit for the transmittal of classified information to Israel. According to recent press reports, this investigation has been headed by the FBI’s Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, David Szady, who has a history of targeting Jewish employees and initiating discriminatory intelligence probes. It is in this vein that I urge you to investigate Mr. Szady’s purported anti-Semitic record at the CIA and FBI and examine whether or not he should be leading this case. If these allegations are found to be true, I urge you to remove Mr. Szady from the AIPAC investigation, dismiss him from his post at the FBI and determine if anti-Semitic sentiment and unwarranted skepticism of Jews may have been the impetus for the AIPAC probe.

Given the fact that no information has surfaced to substantiate the highly incriminating accusations against AIPAC, I am perplexed by the manner in which you and your Administration have handled this case. As such, I urge you to take immediate action to ameliorate the unconscionable circumstances surrounding the investigation of AIPAC including – but not limited to – ending egregious press leaks from the Administration and providing Congress with further information about this case.

In a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft on September 3 rd, I requested that he provide Congress with details of the AIPAC investigation and expressed my deep misgivings about leaks stemming from the Department of Justice (DOJ) at a time when suspects have not been officially named by the FBI and charges have yet to be filed. I also question the very premise of this investigation, considering no evidence has surfaced suggesting that AIPAC staff committed espionage, violated the law or even crossed the line requiring registration as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice. If crimes have been committed, then those responsible must be held accountable. If no illegalities have occurred, however, I strongly urge you to do everything in your power to exonerate AIPAC and its staff from this public castigation.

Mr. President, it appears as though your Administration has responded to this investigation with both negligence and deception. Having known about this case for over two years, one would think that you would have either temporarily severed ties with AIPAC’s leadership, or put an end to what appears to be a baseless witch-hunt against them. Instead, you have allowed dubious press reports to circulate which have been damaging to the American Jewish community and U.S.-Israel relations. One of the most disconcerting effects of these reports – which have been rampant in the European and Arab press – are that they have effectively provided fodder to anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists throughout the world who believe that U.S. policy in the Middle East is driven by the American Jewish community and Israel.

While an increase in anti-Semitism may be the result of this investigation, it appears it may also have been the driving force. In the weeks since this story became public, there has been growing suspicion that the impetus for this case may have been anti-Semitic sentiment in the FBI and suspicions that American Jews hold so-called “dual loyalties” to Israel. This theory has been exacerbated by reports that the investigation is led by David Szady, an FBI agent known for targeting Jews in the intelligence field. Given his history, one cannot help but question the propriety of appointing Mr. Szady to lead this case, especially considering the highly-sensitive nature of the AIPAC probe.

As you may be aware, in 1997 Mr. Szady directed an overtly anti-Jewish investigation of a former CIA legal staffer, Adam Ciralsky, in his capacity as head of the Counter Espionage Group (CEG) in the CIA. At the onset of this investigation, the CIA created a “Jewish Resume” for Mr. Ciralsky questioning his teenage trips to Israel, association with the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, education in Judaic studies at George Washington University and other innocuous aspects of his life as a Jew. During this probe, CIA officials also questioned whether his nephew – who was a mere five months old at the time – worked for the Israeli government and were determined to fire Mr. Ciralsky for suspicions of inappropriate ties to Israel. This case received much publicity when Mr. Ciralsky subsequently filed a lawsuit against the CIA and FBI for religious discrimination, and the CIA hired the Anti-Defamation League to conduct "sensitivity training" within the ranks of Szady's CEG.

In 1999, former CIA Director George Tenet stated that “insensitive, unprofessional and highly inappropriate language” was used by the CEG in the Ciralsky investigation. Unfortunately, this was not the only time that Mr. Szady has been accused of anti-Jewish bias in the workplace. According to reports, Jewish community leaders have complained that Szady has unfairly focused on Jewish employees, rejecting or slowing their security clearances and singling them out for minor security matters. As such, Mr. Szady and the CEG were the focus of an external and internal CIA investigation to determine if anti-Semitism played a role in the Ciralsky case. Despite his disturbing record, in 2001 you appointed Mr. Szady to head the interagency unit known as the National Counterintelligence Policy Board where he served for two years before returning to the FBI in 2002.

Mr. President, in light of these serious allegations, I respectfully request that you determine whether or not Mr. Szady has a record of unfairly targeting Jews. If so, I urge you to remove him from this case and dismiss Mr. Szady from the ranks of the American intelligence community. I also strongly urge you to re-examine the AIPAC probe and consider the possibility that it may have been instigated by similar circumstances that led to the Ciralsky case. It is critical that your Administration implement and enforce a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to discrimination of any kind in the CIA, FBI and other federal agencies.

In my experience with AIPAC, I have found it to be one of the most principled and effective organizations in Washington which has always conducted its business with professionalism, integrity and a deep commitment to American interests in the Middle East. Given AIPAC’s esteemed record and reputation, it is difficult to envision a case of espionage stemming from the highest ranks of this organization. It is in this regard that I strongly urge you to further investigate this matter and determine the basis and circumstances surrounding this highly questionable case.

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration, and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Robert Wexler"

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