American Accused of Spying for Israel

Prosecutors say N.J. man passed U.S. military secrets to Israel from 1979-85.


April 22, 2008— -- A former civilian employee of a military arsenal in New Jersey has been indicted by the federal government for allegedly conspiring to pass U.S. military secrets to the Israeli government more than 20 years ago, and authorities say they have linked his case to that of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

According to court documents, Ben-Ami Kadish allegedly spied for Israel from 1979-1985 and provided an official from the Israeli consulate in New York with U.S. national defense information, including restricted nuclear weapons data, classified jet fighter weapons system data and key information on the Patriot missile system.

According to the complaint, Kadish's Israeli handler was the same man who dealt with Pollard.

Pollard and his wife pleaded guilty in 1986 to charges of passing classified information to Israel and China. According to the FBI, Pollard had provided Israel with about 800 classified documents and more than 1,000 cables while he was working as an analyst at the Navy's Anti-Terrorist Alert Center.

Outside of the Pollard case, U.S. intelligence officials say they had long believed that another mole existed in the U.S. government and was providing the Israelis with information.

Joseph diGenova, who served as the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. at the time of the Pollard case told ABC News Tuesday, "We suspected they were running others...there may have been more."

But after Pollard was exposed, his handler left the United States and Kadish went underground. Pollard is serving a life sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina.

The handler, according to officials briefed on the case, is Yosef Yagur, who served as the Scientific Attaché at the Israeli consulate in New York.

Although it does not name Yagur, the complaint in Kadish's case notes that co-conspirator 1 "was employed by the Government of Israel as the counsel for Science Affairs at the Israeli Consulate."

Kadish allegedly kept in contact with his Israeli handler until last month, when the handler, who is only identified as "Co-conspirator 1" in court documents, allegedly instructed Kadish to lie to U.S. investigators in the case.

The Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey released a statement confirming that Kadish, whom an Army official described as an elderly widower in failing health, worked at the facility "more than 18 years ago."

"At the time of his retirement in January 1990, Mr. Kadish was a supervisory engineer in the installation's Fuze Division," the statement said, adding that Kadish "was first employed at this installation in October 1963."

"We have been cooperating fully with federal investigators and will continue to do so," Picatinny spokesman Peter Rowland said in the statement.

On its Web site, the Picatinny Arsenal bills itself as the "Home of American Firepower" and a "one-of-a-kind facility that provides virtually all of the lethal mechanisms used in Army weapon systems and those of the other military services."

Spy cases involving U.S. allies, such as Israel, have at times caused some tension between the countries involved.

Israelis have protested Pollard's life sentence for the spy charges, but law enforcement officials note that the U.S. laws on disclosing national security information do not differentiate which country, friend or foe received the information.

Israel formally acknowledged that Pollard served as its agent in 1998.

ABC News' Luis Martinez contributed to this report

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events