Washington - Former CIA director George Tenet has conceded that elements of the counterintelligence investigation against a former Jewish attorney at the US agency in the 1990s could be construed as anti-Semitic, the Daily Beast reported on Monday, citing a newly-released deposition from the case.
According to the report, Tenet made the statement in a sworn deposition, part of a privacy act lawsuit filed by the former attorney, Adam Ciralsky.
In 1999, Ciralsky’s security clearance was revoked because he allegedly failed to disclose contact with Israelis and Israeli-Americans. Ciralsky has sued the CIA for discrimination over a decade ago, claiming that several agency officials targeted him unfairly because he is Jewish. He dropped the case on Friday.
According to the Daily Beast, Tenet said in a 1999 letter to the Anti-Defamation League that some of the CIA investigators’ conduct in the Ciralsky case was inappropriate. But the new deposition offers more detail brought forth by Tenet, who authorized sensitivity training for the CIA on anti-Semitism following the Ciralsky investigation. The agency denied that the attorney’s dismissal was a result of anti-Jewish prejudice at the time.
The news website cited a 2010 deposition, in which Tenet said statements attributed to an officer who administered a polygraph to Ciralsky were “insensitive, inappropriate and unprofessional,” and could be construed as anti-Semitic.
The offensive statement was made by a polygraph administrator identified as “Charles B” in the court transcripts; in a sworn affidavit, another CIA polygraph administrator, John Sullivan said: “I was in B’s office when he came and I asked him how the test was going. B’s response was to refer to Ciralsky as ‘that little Jew bastard.’ I don’t recall what B said after that but I believe that he said something to the effect that he, B, ‘knew Ciralsky was hiding something.’”
Moreover, Ciralsky's internal CIA file noted that he failed to disclose how he is related to former Israeli president Chaim Weizmann, and speculated that his parents gave money to pro-Israel causes. The file also described Ciralsky as a “rich Jewish employee with a wealthy daddy.”
According to the report, Tenet acknowledged that the description was inappropriate.