Adolph "Al" Schwimmer
and Counter Intelligence Files
"These facts indicate that the
Israelis may use fictitious business fronts in carrying out their
intelligence and related operations...When such firms are discovered,
every effort should be made to determine whether they are legitimate
business establishments or fronts for covert Israeli operations." -
Top Secret FBI - 1951 report 65-HQ-59184 p 90
"...Schwimmer was hired by Bernstein...to
purchase transport planes for the Jewish Agency in Israel."
1951 report 65-HQ-59184 p. 101
"...Al Schwimmer advised that they needed $1,500
that day for expenses to pay off the witness..."
1951 report 65-HQ-59184 p. 103
"Following a dispute...concerning his
allegiance....advised him [IAI employee] he was never to come to Israel
again, that if he divulged any of the information he obtained while
working on the Israeli guided missile program, he would be found no
matter where he tried to hide and appropriate action would be taken.
Source stated he interpreted this as meaning he would be killed."
1970 debriefing of an American IAI employee 105-HQ-205824 p.
"Al" Schwimmer was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917. He worked
as a TWA flight engineer before being approached by the untouchable
Nahum "Ned" Bernstein to acquire aircraft for the fledgling state of
Israel. The WWII veteran established front companies to acquire
war surplus aircraft and military engines and smuggle them to Palestine.
Schwimmer was convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Act but
received no prison time because the judge believed other, much higher
smuggling network figures who had not been indicted, were more to
In 1951 at the invitation of David Ben-Gurion, Schwimmer
Israel to establish the state-owned military industrial
corporation Israel Aircraft Industries. He led the company for
25 years. In the 1980s Schwimmer joined the Reagan
administration's covert Iran-Contra operation as a middle man
selling U.S. military equipment to Iran in order to finance the
Nicaraguan contras. In 2001 President Bill
Schwimmer after intense lobbying by the son of another
convicted smuggler for Israel,
Greenspun. Schwimmer died on June 10, 2011.*
Schwimmer's partial FBI
file required multiple appeals and more than three years to release.
It reveals the FBI's dawning understanding about how Israeli use of
Americans as both front-organization operatives and to provide cover from the top echelons
of America's public and private sector would make effective
counter-intelligence almost impossible.
"...The Israelis may use
fictitious business fronts in carrying out their intelligence and
related operations...When such firms are discovered, every effort should
be made to determine whether they are legitimate business establishments
or fronts for covert Israeli operations, " stated one 1951 report.
The report was made as the incredible breadth of the Jewish Agency's smuggling
network became evident.
Paying off witnesses and greasing politicians
became part and parcel of "quashing" investigations into Israeli
espionage in America.
The FBI file reveals missed
counter-intelligence opportunities. Although an American AIA
employee, threatened with death for insufficient loyalty to Israel,
tipped off the FBI that another American—Ehud Kadish—was involved in
Israeli missile development, not until 2008 would the FBI collar "America's
second Jonathan Pollard"—brother Ben-Ami Kadish—for missile espionage
Release notes: On 11/30/2011 the FBI
acknowledged receipt of IRmep's FOIA request for Schwimmer's FBI file but
claimed a month later it could not locate the material. On March 1, 2012
the Justice Department Office of Information Policy ordered the FBI to
conduct another search. By August the FBI indicated it had located
554 pages of material. Although most of the following files reveal
the FBI declassification was finalized in 2013, the actual release (FOIA
release letter) did not occur until 1/28/2015 after additional requests for the material. Some "Other Government Agency" pages are still
FBI files wire service reports that Al Schwimmer
was a known arms supplier to Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos of the
Philippines in 1987.
March 3, 1979 postcard to Al Schwimmer, "Do you
know the conspirators who have used my name in an international
plot to defraud, terrorize and massacre while attempting to hide
the facts in the assassination of an American President?"
"SECRET" Espionage file: Nahum
Bernstein, American treasurer for the Jewish Agency's American
Section and three other individuals named as "managers of
Israeli intelligence operations in the United States."
Bernstein's recruitment into the "Zionist Cause," nodes of the
espionage ring, how Bernstein escaped indictment during felony
prosecution of smuggler Al Schwimmer et al (1950), material
acquisition fronts operated by Rudolph Sonneborn, TNT smuggling
by Lands Seas Products, Schwimmer acquisition of C46 aircraft
for Land Seas Products, Schwimmer "arms and ammunitions"
smuggling to Israel via Mexico.
[Bernstein] stated that in the Fall of 1947, it was decided by
the [Jewish Agency] policy level members to instigate an
organization that could, if Palestine were partitioned, step in
and relieve the other governments of considerable effort and
manpower...In January, 1950, Adolph W. Schwimmer was tried in
the United States District Court, Southern California...The trial
involved Adolph W. Schwimmer and five other individuals who were
charged with conspiracy to violated the Neutrality Act and the
Export Control Act by smuggling aircraft to Israel." (p. 117).
Contacts with Mossad founder Reuven Shiloah.
Schwimmer's purchase of Lockheed Constellation aircraft, false
export manifests on combat aircraft engines, seizure by Customs,
radio acquisition, prosecutive action.
November 17, 1949 confidential counterintelligence report on the
Israeli embassy, redacted. February 8, 1950 SECRET report
on "attempted utilization by Israelis of influential contacts in
the U.S...." Size and growth of the Israeli embassy in
Washington, profiles of employees, attempts by Israeli
government officials to "squash it [Schwimmer smuggling charges]
once and forever." Lobbying campaign on President Truman,
AG Tom Clark, by Eddie Jacobson, and directed at Louis Johnson,
Secretary of Defense.
Counter espionage file with content on Al Schwimmer.
Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI)
former employee debriefed by FBI about
Israeli missile programs. Ahud (Ehud) Kadish, Chief of the
Flight Test Group, also described as a dual citizen of the U.S.
and Israel. (Brother of convicted spy for Israel Ben-Ami
Kadish). Source "heard there was an atomic reactor located
at Dimona, but he said he had never been there since admission
to this facility was on a need-to-know basis.
a dispute...concerning his allegiance....advised him he was
never to come to Israel again, that if he divulged any of the
information he obtained while working on the Israeli guided
missile program, he would be found no matter where he tried to
hide and appropriate action would be taken. Source stated
he interpreted this as meaning he would be killed."
The Office of Independent Counsel in 1987 asks for FBI
assistance in serving subpoenas to Al Schwimmer and other
Israelis involved in "selling arms to Iran and may have been
involved in diversion of funds as a result of these sales to the
Contras in Central America. To date, the Israeli
Government has been steadfast in its refusal to make these
officials and businessmen available for interviews..."
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