Back in the spring I wrote about coming across the name Arnon Milchan by chance on a movie credit while flying from Venice to Washington. Milchan, some might recall, is a Hollywood billionaire movie producer born in Israel, well known for such films as Pretty Woman and Bohemian Rhapsody. He is less well known for his role in arranging for the procurement and illegal transfer of U.S. technology that enabled the Jewish state to develop its own nuclear arsenal. Far from being ashamed of his betrayal of the adopted country that helped make him rich and famous, in 2011 he authorized and contributed to a ghost-written biography, which he boastfully entitled “Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon.” Parts of the book were in the first person with Milchan telling his story in his own words.
I had been aware of Milchan’s crimes for a number of years, just as I had also speculated on how a leading Israeli spy working actively and successfully against vital U.S. anti-nuclear proliferation interests had managed to continue to maintain a home and business in Los Angeles while also appearing regularly at the Oscar presentation ceremonies. I asked “Why is this scumbag still making movies in Hollywood? Why isn’t he in jail?” before concluding that the federal government clearly regards spying for Israel as a victimless crime, rarely arresting anyone and almost never prosecuting any of the numerous easily identifiable Israeli intelligence agents roaming the country.
Milchan was an active Israeli spy in the U.S., working for the Mossad technology theft division referred to as LEKEM. The Mossad frequently uses so-called sayanim in its espionage, which means diaspora Jews that it recruits on the basis of a shared religion or concern for the security of Israel. The threat coming from Israeli Embassy operatives inside the United States is such that the Department of Defense once warned that Jewish Americans in government would likely be the targets of their intelligence approaches.
President John F. Kennedy had tried to stop the Israeli nuclear weapons program but was assassinated before he could end it. By 1965, the Jewish state had nevertheless obtained the raw material for a bomb consisting of U.S. government owned highly enriched weapons grade uranium obtained from a company in Pennsylvania called NUMEC,