Ben-Ami Kadish (September 2, 1923 – July 16, 2012) was a former U.S. Army mechanical engineer. He pleaded guilty in December 2008 to being an "unregistered agent for Israel," and admitted to disclosing classified U.S. documents to Israel in the 1980s. His unauthorized disclosure of classified U.S. secrets to Israel was concurrent with the espionage activity of Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of espionage and answered to the same Israeli handler.
Ben-Ami Kadish was born in Connecticut but grew up in what was the British Mandate of Palestine. As a young man he fought with the Haganah. He also served in both the British and American military during World War II. Kadish graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in mechanical engineering. When he retired in January 1990, Kadish was a supervisory engineer in the Fuze Division of the Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.
He resided with his wife Dorris in a Monroe Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey retirement community. Ben-Ami Kadish died at University Medical Center of Princeton, Plainsboro and was interred in Beth Israel Cemetery, Woodbridge.
Kadish was employed as a mechanical engineer by the United States Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey from October 1963 to January 1990. Kadish conspired to disclose national defense-related documents to Israel and worked as an agent of the Israeli government from 1979 to 1985. Kadish took classified documents to his handler's home in Riverdale, Bronx several times (including information about nuclear weapons, a modified F-15 fighter, and the Patriot missiles) and let an unnamed Israeli government worker take photographs of them.
Yosef Yagur, Kadish's Israeli handler, along with his Israeli Embassy counterpart Ilan Ravid, fled the US in 1985 after another agent they were running, civilian intelligence intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard, was arrested for espionage. According to court documents, Kadish and Yagur continued to remain in contact, up to a month before his arrest in 2008.
Kadish was arrested by the FBI in 2008 and charged with four counts: one count of conspiring to disclose documents related to the national defense of the United States to the Government of Israel; one count of conspiring to act as an agent of the Government of Israel; one count of conspiring to hinder a communication to a law enforcement officer; and one count of conspiring to make a materially false statement to a law enforcement officer.
In December 2008, Kadish pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered agent of Israel, admitting he gave classified documents to Israel in the 1980s. Prosecutors asserted that Kadish had furnished classified American secrets to Yosef Yagur, the same Israeli agent who had received secret documents from Pollard.
In determining the sentence, Judge William H. Pauley III asserted, "Why it took the government 23 years to charge Mr. Kadish is shrouded in mystery." Pauley stated that prison would "serve no purpose" for a man of Kadish's advanced age and infirmity, opting to levy a $50,000 fine against Kadish. The prosecutor stated that the decision to accept the plea agreement was based on Kadish's cooperation and his willingness to admit wrongdoing. Prior to sentencing, Kadish faced the judge while standing with the aid of a cane; he said, "I'm sorry I made a mistake ... It was a misjudgment. I thought I was helping the state of Israel without harming the United States."
- Carrie Johnson, "Retiree Pleads Guilty To Giving U.S. Secrets To Israel in the 1980s", The Washington Post, December 31, 2008
- Daniel Trotta (December 30, 2008). "U.S. man pleads guilty to acting as agent for Israel". Reuters.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation New York Division - Press Release 2008 - Department of Justice Archived May 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Benjamin Weiser (May 30, 2009). "Man, 85, Avoids Jail Time for Giving Military Secrets". The New York Times. p. A15.
- via Associated Press. "Feds: Ex-Army engineer slipped secrets to Israel"[permanent dead link], The Record (Bergen County), April 22, 2008. Accessed May 8, 2008.[dead link]
- Israeli Spy Case Will Name More Spies