Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who is Israeli spy MEGA?

In an interview last week, Phil Giraldi told Scott Horton that he had heard that admitted Israeli spy Ben-Ami Kadish was to be finally sentenced last Friday, but, according to PACER, nothing has happened.

Let's hope that he is negotiating with the authorities to disclose the identity of Mega.

As some background, here is a snip from Giraldi's June 08 article, "The Spy Who Loves Us. Pay no mind to the Mossad agent on the line":
"The arrest revived suspicions that Israeli agents might still be operating inside the U.S., most particularly “Mega,” whose cover name was revealed in an NSA-intercepted conversation between two Israeli intelligence officers. “Mega” was clearly at the policymaker level, as Kadish and Pollard frequently sought files by name or number. Someone more senior in Washington appeared to be directing the Israeli handlers toward sensitive information. Whoever “Mega” was, he is still at large."
Scott Horton interviewed Giraldi at the time. I wrote up a transcript a while ago, but never published it. Here you go:
Scott Horton: Do me a favor, Phil, I was ten years old at the time. I barely know a thing about it, tell me and the audience about Jonathan Pollard and the giant spying case in the 1980s.

Phil Giraldi: Well, Jonathan Pollard was an Israeli spy, he spied for at least three years for them, he was receiving money. His motivation apparently was somewhat loyalty to Israel in a kind of generic way, but it was mostly money that he was interested in.

And he worked for the Defense Department and he was able to steal apparently an entire room full of highly sensitive documents, many of which related to security of communication systems and things like this, and capabilities of satellites and the kind of information that is of top-level interest to any intelligence service.

So he stole a whole room full of this type of classified information, gave it to Israel, and Seymour Hersh among others believes that a lot of this information wound up in Russia, where the Israelis exchanged it for Russian permission to let some Russian Jews leave the country. So this information wound up presumably in the US's principal enemy, so this was not a benign activity that wound up just in Israel to benefit the Israelis. It went far beyond that.

Scott Horton: Well now there's something that I do remember from 1986 - that the Soviet Union were the bad guys and had a bunch of nuclear missiles pointed at us.

Phil Giraldi: Yeah, that's the point. The defenders of Pollard often say that he really did nothing wrong, he was helping an ally; he was giving them information they needed for their defense and so on and so forth. That's nonsense, and the reason why Pollard has not been released from prison is the fact that everyone on the inside knows very well that Pollard gave them tons of information that had nothing to do with Israel, nothing to do with the Middle East, and in fact the information went on to the Russians, and benefited the Russians in their confrontation with us.

Scott Horton: Right, now just recently - a month and a half ago or so, it came out that there was another Israeli spy, actually an American citizen who was spying for Israel named Ben-Ami Kadish and, just from what I read in Newsweek, I think this sort of shed brand new light on the Jonathan Pollard case from 1986. How's that?

Phil Giraldi: Yes, it does indeed shed new light on it because when Pollard was caught and convicted, the Israelis privately agreed with the US government that they had been spying, and that they wouldn’t do it anymore, and they basically said that this was a rogue operation.

Well it turns out that it wasn’t a rogue operation, because there was another rogue out there, and also the NSA has intercepted communications that the Israelis had yet another more senior spy whom they referred to as MEGA - and there's been a lot of speculation as to who MEGA is. MEGA obviously is still out there.

Scott Horton: I want to hear some speculation as to who MEGA is!

Phil Giraldi: I don't think I'd better do that (laughs) - I know a few names that are being thrown around, I mean, even Henry Kissinger has been named as a possible MEGA, but there are a couple more that are quite plausible when one thinks about it, but I'd rather not name names.

Scott Horton: Geez. I'm trying to remember, because I know that James Bamford has talked about, or brought up, an old Washington Post story from 1997 or something like that where they talk about, whoever this guy MEGA was, he was in a position where he knew not just the file numbers, but even the super-duper top secret titles of intelligence reports and so forth, that he must be a very senior level person to have this kind of intelligence clearance, is that right?

Phil Giraldi: Yeah, that's the theory, because apparently both Pollard and Kadish were directed to request and steal specific intelligence reports or assessments, and they had the names, they had the numbers, and these names and numbers - because of the sensitivity of the reports - could only have come from someone who was at the very top level of the US government.

Scott Horton: At the very top level? So this would be, maybe not necessarily cabinet level, but say, someone like the head of counter-terrorism or something like that?

Phil Giraldi: I would say, yeah - you're looking basically at maybe the one or two or three top people in something like the FBI, something like the NSA, but more likely, the evidence seems to indicate that MEGA was a political player, so that would actually more likely be someone at the cabinet level, or somebody equivalent to that. So the speculation would be that it is someone maybe in the National Security Council structure - someone like that.

Scott Horton: Yeah, I guess that's what I was trying to get at with the counter-terrorism thing - somebody who is an executive agent, not necessarily a Secretary or something, but pretty high up - and I think one of the other qualifications for this MEGA is that they've had this level of clearance in multiple administrations, right?

Phil Giraldi: Yeah, the individual involved would have - so it seems - would have been in place during both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Scott Horton: Alright. Interesting stuff!

Phil Giraldi: That narrows down the speculation as to who it might be...

Scott Horton: That's got to be less than a dozen people on your list though, right?

Phil Giraldi: Try about six!

Scott Horton: Try about six... half a dozen on Phil's short list there. Well I'm sure that there's a grand jury investigating this right now, right?

Phil Giraldi: Of course.

Scott Horton: (laughs) OK. Sorry. I'm sure that's actually not the case. Now this guy Ben-Ami Kadish apparently gave the Israelis information on F15s and I think even on nuclear weaponry - is that right?

Phil Giraldi: Yeah, my understanding is he gave them avionics information on F15s and F16s and also there was information that dealt with nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

Scott Horton: Now, this is an old case, sort of a cold case. This guy is an old man, he's not going to be prosecuted for treason?

Phil Giraldi: Well, I would like to see him prosecuted for treason, but it is not likely. I'm quite surprised that they let him out on bail, and this is a case of treason if there ever was one, but he is out on bail. I would think that there is considerable risk of his fleeing to Israel, from which he would not be extradited. So, I'm quite confused by the signal that the US courts are sending on this.

Scott Horton: (Some snippage) Now, we've got to get to the neoconservatives, because, I don’t think it has been alleged, for at least a long, long time, that our household-name favorite neocons like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, are actually Israeli spies, but are clearly such Israeli partisans that their foreign policy seems to be all centered around the Clean Break plan that David Wurmser and Douglas Feith and Richard Perle wrote up for Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996, and they've been described as agents of influence for Israel - what do you say about that?

Phil Giraldi: Well, first of all let me point out that all those people you've named have in fact been investigated, under suspicion of passing classified information to Israel, so it's not just pure speculation that these people would on occasion have indicated or demonstrated a willingness to go beyond what are the normal restraints to assist the Israelis as they see it. Whether they are agents of influence for Israel or not is a matter of semantics I think. These people are all deeply in love with Israel and have strong and continuing relationships, and very often business relationships.

Doug Feith as you know and Richard Perle both have had business interests in Israel that have enriched them greatly. So that's one side of it. But the point is that the neocons have been engaging in this con-job forever, which is essentially that, the way the see the world, Israel and the US are united and are virtually one entity, and everybody else is basically a shade of grey or a shade of black.
I have tried to reconstruct the org charts from way-back-when to see who was on the National Security Council during those administrations in an attempt to identify who is on Giraldi's short list for MEGA but didn't have much luck.

Who is MEGA?

By the way, I know that times are tough economically, but really should employ an intern to transcribe all/many of Scott Horton's interviews exist in print as well as audio. Scott is such an insanely great interviewer, and he gets such great interviews, and the long-format fleshes out such important detail. Unfortunately most of it disappears into the ether because Google can't (yet) search audio. For example, consider yesterday's Eric Margolis interview where Scott asks Eric to repeat his claims that the CIA sponsored and supported the Uighur terrorist movement. This is directly relevant to the third category of Sibel's Gallery of Rogues. If / when I get a chance I'll transcribe the relevant parts of this Margolis interview, and his previous interviews with Scott about the same issue - and I'll connect some dots - but this stuff is too important to be dependent on my availability / state of mind or whatever.

(Updated from the original)


Anonymous said...

If MEGA exists, then he/she doesn't necessarily have to be Jewish. Would that help in shortening the short-list?

Anonymous said...

also consider Senators - especially on the Arms, Foreign Policy, and Intelligence Committees.

lukery said...


Actually - I didn't even consider whether he was Jewish.

What time frame should I look at? Carter & Reagan administrations? (That seems to be the relevant frame re Pollard)

I didn't see much overlap there in the official National Security Council lists.

Anonymous said...

Possible candidate here:

lukery said...

Sorry. Let me restate my question: Was MEGA in Carter's NSC structure?

lukery said...

Anon - Grossman doesn't appear to have been senior enough during the Pollard timeframe.

He worked for Lord Carrington at NATO till 86. Could he really have had access to all the file numbers etc?

I could certainly imagine that he became Mega's successor though.

Anonymous said...

I suppose there are several Anonymous here, as I don't recall linking to historycommons Grossman profile. I am the first Anonymous. MEGA is above Grossman.

Anonymous said...

I would also venture, that there is not one MEGA. At that level, there may be at least three individuals, but Sibel would not aware of them. Also, again, it is not as linear as she implies - some part of Israel's activity is known by the right people in US intelligence - believe it or not, they do use these networks to America's benefit. Coming too close to them, really is a threat to our jewels.

lukery said...

Thanks Anonymous (and yes, I realized that the History Commons post was from a different Anon.)

Anonymous said...

Rahm Emanuel