Where Are They Now? A Rogues’ Gallery of American Israel-Firsters

Elliot Abrams–Son-in-law of Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz; convicted in 1991 of unlawfully withholding information from Congress in its investigation of the Iran-Contra affair; pardoned in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush. Currently National Security Council senior director for Near East and North African Affairs, in which capacity he told a regular meeting of Jewish Republicans in May that much of what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice does on her frequent trips to the Middle East is “just process.”

Cheryl Hanin Bentov (“Cindy”): American-Israeli Mossad agent who in 1986 seduced Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu in London, then lured him to Rome, where Mossad agents drugged him and smuggled him back to Israel. Currently lives with her real estate-agent husband and two daughters in an exclusive golf community in Florida, where they moved in 1988, when she was discovered living in the Israeli city of Netanya. The family reportedly maintains a home in Kochav Yair, Israel.

Stephen Bryen–Member of advisory board and former executive director of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA); as Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff member, was subject of major FBI investigation after being overheard offering documents to Israeli Embassy official Zvi Rafiah; subsequently given top secret clearance and hired in 1981 as his deputy by Richard Perle, then assistant secretary of defense for international security policy. As president of Finmeccanica USA, the U.S. branch of Italy’s largest defense conglomerate which won the contract to build a new version of the presidential Marine One helicopter, Bryen represented the company at the 2005 Iran air show to market his firm’s helicopters.

Adam Ciralsky–CIA contract employee fired in 1999 for failing to reveal a relationship with two U.S.-Isreali employees of Israeli defense firms with possible ties to Israeli intelligence and for failing two polygraph tests about whether he gave or sold U.S. secrets “to an Israeli national.” Subsequently sued the U.S. government for religious discrimination.

John Deutch–Former CIA director whose security clearance was revoked for having prepared top-secret briefings and storing highly classified reference material on his unclassified and unsecured home computer. Facing possible criminal charges, Deutch was pardoned, along with fugitive financier Marc Rich, by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office. Two years later, at an April 2002 Jewish National Fund dinner in honor of Deutch, he was described as “one of Israel’s greatest supporters” who, as deputy defense secretary, helped secure an extra $200 million dollars for the Arrow project. Currently a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Douglas Feith–Former under secretary of defense for policy, he established the Office of Special Plans, which produced “inappropriate” intelligence leading up to the war on Iraq. His subordinate, Larry Franklin, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for passing classified information on Iran to AIPAC’s Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman and an Israeli Embassy official. Feith reportedly lost his security clearance in 1982, when, as a National Security Agency staffer, he came under FBI suspicion for allegedly passing classified material to Israeli Embassy officials. Hired that same year by Richard Perle, then assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, as his special council. After resigning from the Defense Department, he was named a professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, a position which reportedly has not been renewed.

Philip Heymann–Former assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, who failed to act on a written recommendation by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Robert Keuch that a grand jury investigate allegations of espionage against Stephen Bryen. As former deputy attorney general under Janet Reno, according to Alan Dershowitz, Heymann was about to recommend a compromise under which President Bill Clinton would reduce Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence so that he could soon be eligible for parole when he was forced to resign for unspecified reasons. Currently James Barr Ames Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School, where he teaches courses on terrorism.

Michael Ledeen–Former New Republic correspondent in Italy, where CIA station files listed him as an agent of influence of a foreign government–Israel; hired in 1981 by Paul Wolfowitz, then head of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff; hired in 1983 on the recommendation of Richard Perle as a Defense Department consultant on terrorism; subsequently became consultant with the National Security Council, working under Oliver North, who recommended that Ledeen be asked to take periodic polygraph tests; hired as consultant to Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans under Douglas Feith; member with Stephen Bryen and Richard Perle of JINSA board of advisers, and Freedom Scholar at American Enterprise Institute.

Nathan Lewin–Attorney for Stephen Bryen and Larry Franklin; former schoolmate of and Supreme Court clerk with Philip Heymann; advocates the execution of family members of suicide bombers. Currently criminal defense lawyer with Washington, DC firm of Lewin & Lewin.

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby–Graduate of Yale University, where he studied under Paul Wolfowitz; attorney for fugitive financier Marc Rich when Rich was pardoned by President Clinton; former chief of staff and assistant for national security affairs to Vice President Dick Cheney. Convicted on March 6, 2007 of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and perjury in the investigation into the leaking of former CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity, Libby’s 30-month sentence was commuted by President George W. Bush on July 2; three days later, Libby paid his $250,000 fine. Between the time of his October 2005 indictment, when he resigned his White House position, and his conviction, Libby served as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank focusing on foreign policy.

Lt. Col. Jeremiah Mattysse–Naval intelligence officer who converted to Judaism and in 2000, carrying several duffel bags containing top-secret information, defected/went AWOL to Israel where, after being missing for two weeks, was located at a hostel in the southern Israeli town of Mitzpe Ramon. He was convinced to return voluntarily to the United States, where he subsequently was relieved of his command.

Richard Perle–As staff member for Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson (D-WA), influenced hiring of Paul Wolfowitz by Arms Control and Development Agency; heard on 1969 FBI wiretap discussing classified information with someone at Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC; reportedly received substantial payments for representing an Israeli arms manufacturer; served as Reagan administration assistant secretary of defense from 1981 to 1987. Author, with Michael Ledeen and others, of 1996 paper, “A Clean Break: A Strategy for Securing the Realm,” written for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Served on the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board for 17 years before resigning in 2004, having resigned as chairman the previous year over allegations of financial conflicts of interest. Resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute.

David Tenenbaum–Mechanical engineer with U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), based in Warren, MI, who in 1997 admitted “inadvertently” giving classified U.S. technical data to Israeli officials over a period of 10 years. After a 12-month investigation, the FBI declared the case closed, and Tenenbaum returned to work–although he was not allowed to resume his previous job.

Paul Wolfowitz–While working for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, investigated in 1978 for providing to an Israeli government official, through an AIPAC intermediary, a classified document on proposed sale of U.S. weapons to an Arab country; hired in 1990 by then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney as under defense secretary for policy, in which capacity he promoted the export to Israel of advanced air-to-air missiles; former Bush administration undersecretary of defense for policy overseeing Feith’s Office of Special Plans; along with then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, raised the possibility of attacking Iraq the day after Sept. 11, 2001; nominated by President George W. Bush in 2005 as president of World Bank; resigned in 2007 over promotion of his lover, Shaha Riza, a Middle East expert at the bank; currently chair of State Department’s International Security Advisory Board and visiting scholar at American Enterprise Institute.