- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A former civilian employee of a military arsenal in New Jersey was arrested yesterday by federal agents on charges of conspiring to pass U.S. military secrets to the Israeli government more than 20 years ago.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Ben-Ami Kadish, 84, is accused of spying from 1979 to 1985, during which time he gave U.S. national defense information to an official from the Israeli Consulate in New York — identified by law-enforcement officials as the same Israeli handler who received documents from convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

The new information included restricted nuclear weapons data, classified jet fighter weapons system information and key data on the Patriot missile system, according to court records. Mr. Kadish, according to the records, admitted his spying activities during FBI interviews, saying he thought he was helping Israel.

Mr. Kadish worked for more than 18 years at the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, N.J., a 6,500-acre joint service armament research and development installation that provides virtually all of the lethal mechanisms used in Army weapon systems.

Picatinny spokesman Peter Rowland said in the statement that at the time of Mr. Kadish’s retirement in 1990, he was a supervisory engineer in the installation’s Fuze Division. He was first employed at the installation in 1963.

State Department spokesman Tom Casey said that “these kinds of activities … are not the kind of actions we would expect from a friend and ally.

“We will be discussing, if we haven’t already, this issue with the Israelis,” he said.

Israeli government officials said the case was not connected to Pollard.

“We know nothing about it. We heard it from the media,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel.

According to the complaint, from 1979 to 1985, Mr. Kadish, a U.S. citizen, was a mechanical engineer employed at the Picatinny Arsenal, which kept a library of documents with classified information related to the national defense.

U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia in New York, whose office is prosecuting the case, said that on numerous occasions Mr. Kadish borrowed classified documents from the library and took them to his residence, where they were then given to the unnamed co-conspirator, who photographed them in Mr. Kadish’s basement.

He said that at least from 1980 to 1985, the co-conspirator was employed by the Israeli government as the consul for science affairs at the Israeli Consulate General in Manhattan and directed Mr. Kadish to provide the classified documents to him.

“One of the classified documents that Kadish provided to [the co-conspirator] contained information concerning nuclear weaponry and was classified as ‘restricted data,’ a specific designation by the U.S. Department of Energy, because the document contained atomic-related information,” Mr. Garcia said.

He said another one of the documents contained information concerning “a major weapons system — a modified version of an F-15 fighter jet that the United States had sold to another country.” A third document contained information concerning a major weapons system and major element of defense strategy — the Patriot missile air defense system.

According to the complaint, Mr. Kadish and the co-conspirator had a telephone conversation on March 20, during which the former Israeli handler instructed Mr. Kadish to lie to federal law-enforcement officials. Mr. Kadish has denied having the conversation.

Mr. Kadish is charged with one count of conspiring to disclose documents related to the national defense of the United States to the government of Israel; one count of conspiring to act as an agent of the government of Israel; one count of conspiring to hinder a communication to a law-enforcement officer; and one count of conspiring to make a materially false statement to a law-enforcement officer.

Pollard, now serving a life sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina, pleaded guilty in 1986 to charges of passing 800 classified documents and more than 1,000 cables to Israel and China while working as an analyst at the Navy’s Anti-Terrorist Alert Center.

Joshua Mitnick contributed to this report.

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