The FBI arrested a New Jersey man for disclosing classified defense information to Israel. Ben-Ami Kadish, who is a U.S. citizen, worked as a mechanical engineer at the Army's Armament Research center in Dover, NJ. The case against Kadish has ties to Jonathan Pollard, an American who spied for Israel in the early 1980s and who is currently serving a life sentence in U.S. prison.
The government alleges that between 1979 and 1985, Kadish took numerous classified documents home, where he showed them to a co-conspirator identified in court documents as "CC-1," who took photos of the documents. In an FBI interview last month, Kadish admitted giving his Israeli handler 50 to 100 documents according to government document.
Among the documents was one concerning nuclear weaponry, another concerning the F-15 fighter jet and a third about the U.S. Patriot Missile Air Defense System. The Israeli handler wanted data on a modified F15 fighter that had been sold to "another foreign country," according to the complaint.
The unidentified co-conspirator was employed by the Israeli Consulate in New York as a science advisor. He was also the Israeli handler for Jonathan Pollard, who was charged in 1985 for espionage for passing classified information to Israel. The co-conspirator left the U.S. after the arrest of Pollard.
The case was re-opened in 2004 when Israel came forward with some information, acknowledging that Pollard "wasn't an isolated case," says a government official who was briefed on the case. Kadish voluntarily turned himself in - to a waiting FBI agent, the source adds.
"The first thing to point out is that this happened before Jonathan Pollard was arrested in Nov. of 1985," says CBS News Correspondent Dan Raviv and author of two books on the history of Israel's intelligence community and the U.S.-Israeli alliance. Raviv points out that Israel says it disbanded the spying unit after the arrest.
"The US has often put pressure on Israel to reveal any of these spy operations from the past," says Raviv, who expects relations between U.S. and Israel won't be affected, because it happened a long time ago. "It's like cleaning up old business, but a reminder that friendly countries spy on each other and to some degree it probably still happens."
Joseph diGenova, who prosecuted Pollard when diGenova was US Attorney in Washington, DC, tells CBS News the prosecution of Kadish is "fascinating." He says the Israelis used the exact same methodology with both Pollard and Kadish - giving them a specific list of items to retrieve from classified libraries - and using sophisticated high-resolution photography to copy documents and return them to the libraries.
By Stephanie Lambidakis, Robert Hendin and Hoda Osman