Spies Like Us

I heard a great deal about Kendall and Gwen Myers, the two Americans arrested in June 2009 for spying for Cuba. The reason I heard was that Gwen Meyers was, at one time, on my Senate staff. Because the press was interested in reporting on the couple, a number of reporters called me to get a comment on Gwen and Kendall. I uniformly told them that they were friends of mine, and that I thought they were good people. Oh, and I knew nothing about their spying for Cuba–”which, according to the news stories I read, did not start until after I left the Senate in early 1979.

I was very sorry for both of them. If found guilty, they no doubt will spend the rest of their lives in prison. Kendall, a great-great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, is, I think, 72 years old, and Gwen is 71.

What is more interesting than the number of reporters who were writing about the couple is the dearth of press coverage about the gaggle of spies who have been caught spying for Israel. Aside from the complete lack of press coverage of the most recent episodes of Israeli spying, some of the journalists writing about Gwen and Kendall Meyers speculated in print that, although the couple received no money for their efforts, maybe the Cubans were selling some of the information they received. I have no idea how these journalists know secrets were being sold by the Cubans, since there has been no public trial of the two, and to my knowledge, they have made no statements or confessions about the accusations against them. And I’ve so far heard no statements from the Cubans about what they’ve done with their purloined documents.

We do know that Jonathan Pollard sold top secret stuff to the Israelis way back in the 1980s, because he confessed to having done so. Pollard also told the FBI that the Israelis were selling some of the secrets to the Soviets, presumably in exchange for exit visas for Russian Jews who wanted to emigrate to Israel.

The more recent Israeli spying episodes garnered less press coverage than your average run-of-the-mill burglary. One might wonder why this would be true, because Israel is supposed to be one of our closest allies in the world. This is an ally that we can probably do without. We have given in excess of $100 billion to Israel over the years in a variety of ways. We have guaranteed loans for them. We give them their several billions each year at the beginning of the fiscal year so the Israelis can earn interest on our most generous gifts rather than allowing the U.S. taxpayers to earn that interest.

We veto any and all U.N. Security Council resolutions which criticize or sanction Israel for its aggressive warlike behavior against its neighbors. We take Israel’s side in any dispute it has with other countries. In short, we have set ourselves up as Israel’s financier and Israel’s protector.

And what we get in return is any number of things–”for example, the destruction of one of our spy ships, the USS Liberty, and the killing of 34 and the wounding of 170 more of our sailors in the course of that destruction. And the collaboration of our government in the cover-up of Israel’s vicious attack on the Liberty, leaving the Liberty survivors hanging out to dry as they try to fix the responsibility for the murders and the maiming of their shipmates.

More recently we witnessed the theft of top-secret materials from the Pentagon by one of its officials, Larry Franklin, who handed over the stolen materials (about Iran) to two employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who then handed the documents over to Israel.

But not to worry. The Obama Justice Department succeeded in finding an excuse to dismiss the charges against the two pro-Israeli spies–”Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman. They couldn’t find the evidence, the prosecutor said, to successfully try and convict the two. That is a strange way to throw in the towel, especially since Mr. Franklin, the provider of the secret materials, pleaded guilty, and presumably was ready to give testimony against the two Israeli agents. Oh, I forgot to mention that not long after Rosen and Weissman were bailed out by the federal prosecutor, Mr. Franklin’s sentence of 12 years was reduced to zero.

I wondered: where were all the journalists who are so interested in people spying on America when this happened? Maybe they were simply waiting for a juicy Cuban spy scandal to come along. But Rosen and Weissman are not alone.

I quote below from an interview with Sibel Edmonds by Philip Giraldi in The American Conservative magazine (see the “Other Voices” supplement to this issue). Giraldi is a former CIA officer and The American Conservative’s “Deep Background” columnist.

Sibel Edmonds has a story to tell. She went to work as a Turkish and Farsi translator for the FBI five days after 9/11. Part of her job was to translate and transcribe recordings of conversations between suspected Turkish intelligence agents and their American contacts. She was fired from the FBI in April 2002 after she raised concerns that one of the translators in her section was a member of a Turkish organization that was under investigation for bribing senior government officials and members of Congress, drug trafficking, illegal weapons sales, money laundering, and nuclear proliferation. She appealed her termination, but was more alarmed that no effort was being made to address the corruption that she had been monitoring.

Ms. Edmonds testified in a court deposition that the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), along with Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Marc Grossman, described as the U.S. State Department’s third-highest-ranking official, AIPAC, as well as a couple of other congress people all were involved in both giving and selling U.S. secrets to Turkey and to Israel.

The American Conservative magazine exposed her testimony, but guess what? Nothing happened. Not one member of the American media picked up on the story. Outside of that magazine, not one story appeared about the spy ring. I waited for a call from some journalist–”any journalist–”who might be digging into this juicy spy story. But no such luck.

As we say in the law business, a precedent has been established: spies should be caught and prosecuted–”unless they are spying for Israel. That exception is turning out to be the rule, and, if I might add, it’s not very good for America.