Spy Games -- Israel Targeted Again

Espionage experts say Israel is a major collector of U.S. intel.

ByABC News
April 22, 2008, 6:30 PM

April 22, 2008— -- The arrest of a New Jersey engineer on charges of conspiracy to pass U.S. military secrets to Israel Tuesday shows a consistent, continued pattern of Israeli spying on its major benefactor, the United States, according to espionage experts.

"The Israelis have always been active intelligence collectors in the U.S. It's just a matter of time in terms of when we have sufficient evidence to bring one of the cases," said John Martin, retired senior U.S. Department of Justice executive who oversaw the investigation and prosecution of espionage cases in the U.S. for more than 30 years, including that of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. Pollard is currently serving his 23rd year of a life sentence in federal prison in North Carolina for passing highly classified information to Israel.

"[The Israelis] got caught again, and they'll get caught again after this," said Martin, referring to Tuesday's indictment by the U.S. government of Ben-Ami Kadish, a former U.S. military engineer who allegedly helped give restricted nuclear weapons data, classified jet fighter weapons system data and key information on the Patriot missile system to Israel between 1979 and 1985.

Martin speculated Kadish would have been able to provide information about technology that the Israeli military was involved with every day. "They get so much stuff from the U.S., and it seemed they just wanted more," he said, referring to the weapons and aircrafts the U.S. gives to the Israeli military. "Any intelligence service will go after more than what they are getting from their allies. That is the nature of this intelligence collection beast," he said.

Russia and China are the largest collectors of intelligence in the U.S., but Israel is and always has been a major collector, according to Martin.

U.S. officials briefed on Kadish's case said that Kadish's alleged handler was Yosef Yagur, the same scientific attaché at the Israeli consulate in New York who handled Pollard.

Though Yagur fled the U.S. for Israel after Pollard was arrested in 1985, Kadish's court documents say Yagur and Kadish maintained contact until as recently as last month. The complaint said Yagur told Kadish by phone to lie to federal investigators when asked about the alleged espionage that took place more than 20 years ago.