He was arrested today (25 years later) for espionage…
The new espionage affair revealed Tuesday is in fact an old story. Nothing in this fact, however, can reduce the gravity of damage it will cause Israel, nor lead to expectations that suspect Ben-Ami Kadish’s punishment will be eased – if he is indeed to be convicted in a court of law.
One can draw a number of conclusions from this affair: To begin with, the memory of American law and justice is very long and will not leave alone a violation even if a quarter of a century has passed.
This is known to Colonel (res.) Aviam Sela, who was involved in the recruitment of Jonathan Pollard (a U.S. citizen jailed for spying for Israel), and Yaakov Nimrodi who was involved in the "Irangate" affair (the sale of weapons to Iran). Both of these men fear arrest in the United States should they travel there.
Another conclusion is that Israel’s argument, that the handling of Jonathan Pollard was an exceptional and one-time event, has once again been proven incorrect.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that after the Pollard affair Israel ceased spying on the U.S. and pursuing technological espionage either – one of the identifying marks of Israel’s illegal activities on U.S. soil in the 1970s and 1980s.
During those years, a number of Israelis and non-Israelis were arrested and investigated on suspicion of attempting to smuggle technology, equipment and information from the U.S. to Israel.
The Pollard affair revealed that the Defense Ministry operated a secret unit under the name of the "Science Liaison Bureau" (also known by its Hebrew acronym "Lakam"), which for years fulfilled intelligence and equipment-gathering missions for the nuclear reactor in Dimona and also served as a sort of "theft contractor" for the Israeli security industry.
Lakam appointed a number of scientific attaches in Israeli embassies in the U.S. and Europe, who served as the contacts in charge of missions of this type. Rafi Eitan, a former senior official in the Mossad espionage agency and a currently serving cabinet minister, was the head of Lakam.
Pollard, it turns out, was handled by two scientific attaches from the Washington embassy, and an attache from the New York consulate, Yosef Yagur. Pollard passed onto the attaches thousands of documents he stole from U.S. intelligence computers, and photographed them in a hidden apartment prepared by Israeli representatives in Washington.
Documents presented to the court and briefing to the press in the present affair reveal that Ben-Ami Kadish’s handler was the scientific attache in New York. Even though he is not mentioned by name, it is known that Yosef Yagur was the attache at that time.