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Jewish Law
Recent Developments

February 8, 2000


Honorable George J. Tenet
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, DC 20505

Dear Director Tenet:

Agudath Israel of America is a 78-year-old national Orthodox Jewish organization. As you might well imagine, there is considerable amazement and dismay in our community surrounding this past Sunday’s “60 Minutes” segment about the case of Adam Ciralsky, and particularly the statement made by a “high level CIA official” (whose voice and identity were disguised) that religious Jews who have intelligence clearance are suspect within the CIA because of the agency’s sense that “the Israeli government has a program of recruiting Americans who are religious Jews who go to Israel often to spy on the United States.”

The harm caused by this statement is incalculable. It not only reflects the classic anti-Semitic canard of “dual loyalty” and stereotype of Jew as untrustworthy outsider, it fosters that canard and stereotype. And, when those singled out for suspicion are religious Jews ­ precisely that segment of the American Jewish community that is most readily identifiable as Jewish because of distinctive dress, diet and observance ­ the danger of harmful fallout is compounded further still.

Respectfully, I think it behooves you, in a public manner, to dissociate yourself personally, and the CIA as an entity, from this official’s statement. Your silence at this time will be understood as an unmistakable confirmation of this outrageous assertion that has been broadcast across the United States and throughout the world.

Many thanks for your attention to this urgent request. I would be grateful to hear back from you soon.


David Zwiebel

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