Saturday, January 15, 2005

Jerusalem Post Puts David Szady in the Cross Hairs

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World: "Why has AIPAC been targeted?

Janine Zacharia, THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 5, 2004
What prompted the years-long FBI investigation into the activities of AIPAC, which featured this past summer's "setup" of two AIPAC officials now revealed by the Post, and which has reached its height with the issuing of subpoenas last week?

Some speculate that there are those in the intelligence community who have grown irritated and resentful about the level of access AIPAC is afforded at the very highest echelons in Washington.

With the shadow of the Jonathan Pollard affair still looming large in Washington 17 years after the US navy analyst was convicted and imprisoned for life for passing classified information to Israel, there is, too, the possibility that investigators may have been motivated by a suspicion of American Jewish "dual loyalties" – to the US and Israel.

Having realized the magnitude of the damage done by the Pollard episode, Israel publicly declared an end to spying in the US. But American Jews seeking employment in intelligence agencies are still often hamstrung by security checks that prevent them from obtaining employment or rising in the ranks, apparently because of the "dual loyalties" suspicion.

Whatever the motivation for the investigation, few Washington insiders understand why or how AIPAC would be involved in illegal, or espionage-related activities, given the potential repercussions and given the lobby's clout and power in the capital. And many in the Jewish community in particular are doubtful that any accusations of espionage against AIPAC will hold up.

Senior AIPAC officials have regular contact with the most senior administration officials and exchange information regularly on all aspects of Middle East policy.

Howard Kohr, the lobby's executive director, has routine conversations with officials as high up as National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Officials at all levels of the organization have regular policy discussions, the kind of discussions that AIPAC officials believe the FBI are trying to portray as espionage.

AIPAC's annual spring policy conference in Washington draws thousands and features speeches by senior administration officials and congressional leaders. Just a few weeks ago, Rice, undeterred by the ongoing investigation, appeared before an AIPAC conference in Florida.

On Friday, Rep. Robert Wexler, a Jewish Democratic congressman from south Florida, sent a second letter to US President George W. Bush expressing "deep concern" about the FBI's ongoing investigation of the lobby group, and urging the president to provide members of Congress with detailed information about the AIPAC probe.

Wexler called on Bush to immediately dismiss David Szady, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who is heading the investigation.

Senior Jewish community officials have accused Szady of targeting Jews in the past by blocking or slowing their security clearances.

As journalist and author Edwin Black reported for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in September, Szady headed a CIA counterespionage group, which tried to force the Jewish former CIA staff attorney Adam Ciralsky out of the agency, by documenting and probing his past contacts with Israel.

The issuing of subpoenas last week to four AIPAC officials to appear before a grand jury later this month could mean that indictments are in the works. If so, the circumstances that triggered the probe will become evident, as will the nature and gravity of any alleged wrongdoing."


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