The U.S. Army has reinstated the security clearance of a Jewish officer who said he believes he initially lost his classification because American officials suspected him of spying for Israel.
Maj. Shawn Pine told WorldNetDaily that a three-member panel of military officers reinstated his clearance earlier this week after revoking it last fall.
“I am appreciative that the board members displayed a level of integrity that I have found lacking in many segments of the Army as I underwent this ordeal,” he said. “I am also grateful that I live in a country in which a method for redress and rectifying miscarriages of justice is available.”
Pine, a former member of the U.S. Army Rangers, was in command of the 300th Military Intelligence Company [Linguist] in Austin, Texas, when his Top Secret security clearance was revoked. He said Army officials took away his status after he informed them that he performed reserve military duty for the Israel Defense Force, or IDF, for a short time in 1996.
Born in the U.S., Pine and his family immigrated to Israel when he was 17. There, he was conscripted for military service and served in the famed Golani Brigade.
After his discharge, he left Israel and came back to the U.S. to attend college. He chose a career in the military and served a total of nine years in the U.S. Army.
In 1995, however, he went back to Israel for two years to attend Hebrew University to study for his doctorate. The following year the IDF called him up.
At the time, he said he told Israeli authorities that he had renounced his Israeli citizenship and that he was currently an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. He also said he contacted the U.S. Embassy in Israel and sought advice from American officials, but they told him he was “required to obey Israeli laws.”
Upon his return to the U.S., he said he re-enlisted in the active Army Reserve and assumed command of the 300th MI Company. But Pine said his trouble began last summer when a normal periodic re-investigation for his security clearance came up, and he divulged that he had done reserve time in the IDF four years earlier, patrolling the Israel-Jordan border for 30 days.
In interviews, Army officials told WND the problem with Pine was not his education, but procedure; some factors make soldiers and officers “ineligible” for counterintelligence work.
Lt. Col. Stan Heath, a spokesman for the Army’s personnel command, indicated the Army initially may have believed Pine’s past – and the fact that he still has family in Israel – left him vulnerable to blackmail and other pressures exerted by the Jewish state.
In a “Subject of Investigation” report, the Army said Pine’s clearance was revoked for reasons of “foreign influence” and “foreign preference.”
“I intend to put my nearly two decades of education and experience in counterterrorism and the Middle East toward helping my country in its war against terrorism,” Pine said of his next plans.
However, he indicated the matter was not over for him.
“I also intend on pursuing this matter until I get answers regarding the conduct and adjudication of my investigation. Unfortunately, the U.S. intelligence community is a very small organization, and notwithstanding the restoration of my clearance, my reputation and career are indelibly tarnished,” he said.