JERUSALEM (JTA) — An 85-year-old former army employee was fined for passing military secrets to Israel in the 80s, but a U.S. federal judge questioned the government’s handling of the case.
Ben-Ami Kadish appeared May 29 in U.S. federal district court in Manhattan, where he was fined $50,000 by Judge William H. Pauley III, but avoided a prison sentence. The judge cited Kadish’s age and infirmity as reasons for not requiring a prison sentence, but also questioned why it took the government 23 years to charge the retiree and then only indicted him on one count of conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of Israel, The New York Times reported.
Kadish, who was a civilian employee of the U.S. Army, passed classified documents between 1980 and1985 to an Israeli agent, the same handler as Jonathan Pollard, according to reports.
“I’m sorry I made a mistake,” Kadish said before sentencing. “It was a misjudgment. I thought I was helping the State of Israel without harming the United States.”
Kadish was born in Connecticut and moved to what was then Palestine. He returned to the United States after World War II. He was employed by the army for 27 years after serving in the U.S. Air Force and had security clearance. He lives with his wife of 57 years in a New Jersey retirement community.