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Dual Loyalist, Former CIA Head to Be Indicted

  • Investigators have uncovered evidence revealing a secret deal between a former head of the CIA and Israeli intelligence. And government officials are working frantically to cover it up.
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By Martin Mann

Behind the surprise decision of the Justice Department to press criminal charges against former CIA chief John M. Deutch for having allegedly mishandled and compromised highly-classified documents while serving as the nation's top spymaster, there is an "all-out" White House effort to cover up a series of grave national-security scandals involving an alien secret service.

Special Counsel Paul E. Coffey, the prosecutor in charge of the Deutch case, is said to have sent Attorney General Janet Reno a preliminary summary of his findings late last month, recommending indictment of the former director.

Coffey charged Deutch had transferred highly sensitive government files to his unprotected home computer, a serious security violation.

But those charges, which are unlikely to warrant a prison term, are merely the "fig-leaf" intended to hide from public view what federal investigators discovered when they raided the private computers in Deutch's suburban Washington home.

Investigators uncovered evidence of covert interference by the Mossad, Israel's secret service, in the U.S. domestic political process and national-security.


Deutch, a foreign-born professor of or ganic chemistry, served in several government posts in the '70s and '80s, where he became well known for his ties to Zionism. He is also a regular at secret meetings of Bilderberg.

In February 1995, Eliahu Ben-Elissar arrived in Washington as the new ambassador of the Israeli government -- a prominent figure in the capital's official and social circles.

Shortly afterwards, in May 1995, Deutch was named Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) on the emphatic re commendation of congressional leaders, including Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) who made sure that the new intelligence chief won swift and unanimous Senate confirmation.

But when Ben-Elissar died in France last month of a heart attack, the Israeli opposition press revealed that he was not the career diplomat he pretended to be but a covert spymaster, a ranking official of the Mossad's clandestine services.

See The SPOTLIGHT's Sept. 4 issue for more details on Ben-Elissar's ties to other notable Washington political figures, such as Lieberman.

"When Ben-Elissar and Deutch got together -- as they often did -- on matters of shared interest, it was the Israeli envoy who was the seasoned espionage expert and Deutch who was the newcomer to secret-service operations," said a senior Middle Eastern diplomat who has been a close observer of the Washington national-security bureaucracy for more than a decade.

The hundreds of classified files investigators discovered in the course of a security check on the computers kept in the Deutch home -- the "compromised" government documents that led to his recent indictment -- indicate that Ben-Elissar used his position to manipulate key U.S. policy decisions.

"Israel was apparently deeply unhappy about the way the U.S. government managed satellite and signals intelligence," explained the diplomat. "The Mossad wanted to change the process; that was one of Ben-Elissar's key assignments."

Collecting satellite and signals intelligence is the responsibility of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

These are the key agencies of the U.S. espionage establishment, said retired CIA analyst Jay Ambrose. "They receive two-thirds of the annual intelligence budget and produce three-fourths of the most valuable and sensitive intelligence distributed to top Washington officials."

But while the NSA and the NRO are nominally part of the "community" under the supervision of the DCI, in reality they are part of the Pentagon's command structure. The chiefs are invariably senior flag-rank officers appointed by the secretary of defense on the recommendation of the joint chiefs of staff.

Israel was long used to getting what it needed from the CIA. But what it really wanted was access to the intelligence generated by the NSA and the NRO -- and there it was thwarted.

"The generals in charge of these high-tech outfits were not Zionists and they refused to share the ultra-classified 'product' of their services with any alien outfit," recounted Ambrose.

The classified files downloaded by investigators from the private computer of the former director reveal details of a deal between Deutch and the alien espionage envoy to "restructure" the U.S. intelligence establishment from the ground up in order to remove NSA and the NRO from the military command structure and bring them under the personal control of the DCI.

This Mossad-sponsored manipulation of U.S. national security strategy was not a casual matter, the record suggests.

The deal worked out in secret by Ben-Elissar and Deutch soon became a public issue when Specter, himself a devout Israeli loyalist, launched a campaign in Congress in the spring of l996 to "reorganize" U.S. intelligence along the lines urged by Ben-Elissar and Deutch.

The Specter initiative proposed grant ing the DCI dictatorial powers over appointing the chiefs and setting the budgets of the NSA and the NRO, as well as all other military intelligence agencies.

The proposal eventually foundered, in part over the bitter resistance of the joint chiefs of staff, in part over questions arising over the conduct of Deutch as the nation's chief intelligence officer.