Shawn M. Pine
Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army
By Jon Dougherty
Courtesy of WorldNetDaily.com
A U.S. Army Reserve counterintelligence officer with dual citizenship in the United States and Israel has had his security clearance revoked by what he believes is an "anti-Israeli" bias within the military.
Major Shawn Pine, in an interview with WorldNetDaily, said that his revocation was not only improper in terms of his citizenship – he said others in a former unit he commanded also had dual citizenship – but because the revocation also failed to meet the Army's own regulations.
Pine, a former member of the U.S. Army Rangers, commanded the 300th Military Intelligence Company [Linguist] in Austin, Texas, when his Top Secret security clearance was revoked. He told WND he had his clearance revoked last fall after he told Army officials he performed reserve military duty for the Israel Defense Force [IDF] for a short time in 1996.
Born in the U.S., his family emigrated to Israel when he was 17, where he was conscripted for military service and served in the 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.
Then, in 1995, 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 for a brief period of active duty.
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."
He also said he voted in the 1996 Israeli elections, then left to return to the U.S. in 1997 on an Israeli passport, as required by Israeli law.
Upon his return to the U.S. he said he reenlisted 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 reinvestigation 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.
"It is not like my service and affiliation with Israel was kept a secret. I have always been very forthcoming in disclosing all of my interactions with Israel," he said.
"As with many Americans, the events of September 11 reinvigorated my sense of patriotism," he says. But instead of using his counterintelligence experience and education, "the U.S. intelligence community is mired in a paranoid abyss in which it perceived every Jew to be Jonathan Pollard."
Since then, Pine says he has been fighting an uphill battle to get his clearance reinstated. "Undoubtedly, the most tragic aspect of my situation is that precisely at a time when my country needs my nearly two decades of experience and education in counterterrorism and experience in the Middle East, I find myself embroiled in this situation," said Pine.
Army officials say the problem with Pine is not his education, but procedure; some factors make soldiers and officers "ineligible" for counterintelligence work.
Lieutenant Colonel Stan Heath, a spokesman for the Army's personnel command, said he was familiar with Pine's case but could not provide specifics from his file. But there were indications the Army 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.
"He has the reasons [why clearance was revoked]," Heath said. "He knows the reasons why."
Regarding concerns over suspected espionage, Heath was again non-specific.
"I'm going to give you, in writing, what you can use [in any resulting news story], and much of it deals with foreign influence and foreign preference," he said. "Just understand that there is more than that, but I can't violate his privacy."
In an Army "Subject of Investigation" report supplied by Pine, military officials said his clearance was revoked for reasons of "foreign influence" and "foreign preference."
The report said Pine informed Israeli officials that he had renounced his citizenship and was still a reserve U.S. Army officer when they attempted to call him back to active duty in the IDF in 1996. But Israeli officials said they still considered him a citizen and called him up anyway.
The report also said Pine admitted voting in an Israeli election in 1996 and obtained an Israeli passport before returning to the U.S. April 6, 1997.
Army officials say regulations prohibit giving "Top Secret" security clearances to people whose "conduct … may make the individual vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or pressure by a foreign government."
Also, "the exercise of dual citizenship, possession and/or use of a foreign passport, military service or a willingness to bear arms for a foreign country," and "voting in foreign elections" all violate regulations governing the issuance of security clearances, the Army report said.
Finally, the report cited the fact that Pine still has family residing in Israel.
But the CI officer says he doesn't buy all that.
"In the unit I commanded, I had some of my own soldiers that were dual nationals and had foreign passports," Pine told WND. "Additionally, I worked with civilians in other organizations that worked in military intelligence fields that required a top secret clearance."
Even more egregious, he claims, "is that we routinely hire foreign nationals, as translators and interpreters, in our missions overseas and give them clearances."
"These people generally have no loyalty towards the U.S.," said Pine. "So in essence, I am being told that a foreign national with no historic loyalty to the U.S. is more trustworthy than myself."
An August 6, 1999, letter from the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Alabama – where Pine did two weeks of active duty before losing his clearance – described his service as "exemplary."
"He has assisted this office immeasurably with his initiative and counterintelligence [CI] expertise," said the letter, signed by Lieutenant Colonel Keith E. Ryan, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence. "During this period, his performance has been exemplary."
According to the letter, Pine's duties included developing "an Israeli country brief reviewing the existing political-social environment and CI threats to … personnel traveling in that country."
Also, Pine "researched, identified and collated CI threat assessment documents relating to the Theater [Tactical] High Energy Laser, Theater High Altitude Air Defense [THAAD], Arrow, Sensors, and National Missile Defense Directorates," Ryan wrote.
"I would not hesitate to have him work here again," Ryan concluded, "in either a reserve or active duty capacity."
According to documentation sent to WND by Heath, conditions that would "mitigate security concerns" about a soldier include:
"A determination that the immediate family member(s) (spouse, father, mother, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters), cohabitant, or associate(s) in question are not agents of a foreign power or in a position to be exploited by a foreign power in a way that could force the individual to choose between loyalty to the person(s) involved and the United States";
Contact with foreigners comes as a result of "official" U.S. government business;
Contact and correspondence "with foreign citizens" that are "casual and infrequent";
Prompt compliance "with existing agency requirements regarding the reporting of contacts, requests, or threats from persons or organizations" from a foreign country;
Foreign financial interests that are "minimal."
In a written rebuttal to Army officials following his security revocation, Pine said he proved he was loyal.
"In the few times that my job as a counterintelligence officer required that I act to protect U.S. classified information, I performed my duty in an exemplary manner," he told WND. "Thereby, notwithstanding my affiliation with Israel, I demonstrated my loyalty and preference for the U.S."
"That is the ultimate irony, that on numerous occasions the army used my experience and affiliation with Israel to help protect our nation's secrets, and then screwed me precisely because of that affiliation and experience," he said.
Pine's case comes amid earlier reports detailing personnel and training problems at the Army's counterintelligence (CI) and interrogation school at Fort Huachuca in Arizona.
Sources said the school was suffering from a chronic lack of CI and linguist instructors, and often uses what some described as "grossly unqualified" personnel as trainers.
Linguists and counterintelligence personnel
are considered increasingly valuable to the military as the U.S. continues
to wage its war against global terrorism.
A U.S. Army appeals board has decided to reinstate the security clearance of a Jewish officer on active reserve duty six months after the Army revoked it and forced him to give up command of an intelligence unit.
The officer, Major Shawn Pine, a veteran of the IDF's Golani Brigade and the U.S. Army Rangers, has waged a determined battle to return his security clearance since last fall when The Jerusalem Post first published the story. At he time, the US Army took away his top-secret clearance, after he disclosed that he had served a stint of IDF reserve duty while studying in Israel in 1996 and voting in the elections. He was not on active duty in the US Army at that time.
A U.S. Army Spokesman said then that Pine's suspension of his security clearance had nothing to do with his religion or nationality. It was revoked because he held dual citizenship. The tribunal ruled that the procedure for revoking Pine's security clearance was faulty.
After losing his security clearance, Pine was transferred from command of the 300th Military Intelligence Company of Austin, Texas to a supply position. Pine, a specialist in counterintelligence, claimed the whole ordeal was due to his close ties with Israel and reflected an inherent anti-Semitism in the U.S. intelligence community.
"The U.S. intelligence community is a very small organization and notwithstanding the restoration of my clearance, my reputation and career are indelibly tarnished," Pine told The Jerusalem Post.
"There are a minority of intellectually and ethically challenged individuals within the intelligence community. Ever since the Pollard incident, these people have been driven by an almost paranoid anti-Israeli/Semitic animus," Pine said.
Born in the United States, Pine immigrated to Israel with his family at the age of 17 in the late 1970s. He was conscripted into the IDF and served three years in the Golani Brigade. But after his discharge, he returned to America for university studies. He chose a military career and served nine years as an officer in active duty in the US Army.
"I will continue to fight the inherent anti-Semitic/Israeli atmosphere that I believe exists within segments of the US intelligence community and to ferret out these cells in much the same way we are going after al-Qaida cells," Pine added.
A resident of San Antonio, the U.S. officer was also critical of the lack of support he received from the American Jewish community.
"I attempted to elicit the support of the American
Jewish community. I will characterize their support by simply saying their
silence was deafening and it was fortuitous for Captain Alfred Dreyfus
that he had Emile Zola to champion his cause and not any of these self-proclaimed
leaders of the American Jewish community," Pine said.
Prior to attending Georgetown University, he served three years in the Golani Brigade of Israeli Defense Forces. He completed nine years active duty as an officer in the United States Army and served in a myriad of positions including: serving with the Multinational Force and Observers mission in Sinai, Egypt, commanding a mountain training camp at Fort Lewis, Washington, and serving as Detachment Commander of the Fort Sam Houston Counterintelligence Detachment, San Antonio, Texas. He is currently serving as a counterintelligence officer in a Military Intelligence unit located in Austin, Texas.
He has published a number of articles concerning
the prevailing political, military, and strategic environment in the Middle
East. In addition to THE MACCABEAN, his works have appeared in Israel Affairs,
The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, The
Jerusalem Post, and Nativ. Most recently, he contributed an article to
the recently published work 'From Rabin to Netanyahu: Israel's Troubled
Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Shawn M. Pine was a veteran intelligence officer by trade, but soldiers and family knew him as a crusader for the underdog.
A Ranger, Pine, 51, of San Antonio, Texas, was killed Wednesday when his SUV hit a roadside bomb near Kabul, Afghanistan. He was a consultant for MPRI, an Old Town Alexandria, Va., security firm. Services are pending.
Pine once got a group of soldiers to pitch in to pay for a funeral. There was the time he made sure a foreign national got life-saving surgery. And, one day long ago on the streets of San Antonio, Pine helped a homeless man and his family.
“I remember when I was in kindergarten, we were driving somewhere in San Antonio and there was this guy with two kids on the street and a sign asking for donations, and so we just went into the grocery store,” recalled Pine’s daughter, Rachel Pyeatt, 21. “I asked him why we didn’t give him the money like (the homeless man) asked, and he said that way we would make sure the kids got fed.”
Described by a retired NCO as a beloved officer, Pine is the first Alamo City resident killed in action this year and the 46th from the San Antonio area to die in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9-11.
Air Force First Lieuenant Roslyn L. Schulte, 25, of St. Louis, Missouri, also died in the blast, becoming the 56th American service member killed in action there in 2009, and the 686th of the war.
A career soldier with nine years on active duty in the Army, Pine’s military career included a three-year stint with the Golani Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces.
He was a Hebrew linguist who spent much of the past decade in the Middle East as a soldier or civilian intelligence specialist, and was part of the search for weapons of mass destruction after the fall of Iraq.
“He said a lot of times they just found the floor covered with ashes because they burned everything,” said his wife, Lynne Pine, 47, of San Antonio.
The Pines came to San Antonio when Rachel began kindergarten and then left the same year, but returned as their daughter began the fourth grade at Scobee Elementary.
He served in a counterintelligence detachment at Fort Sam Houston and commanded the Army Reserve’s Austin-based 300th Military Intelligence Company from 1999 to 2002.
The unit now is defunct.
“He was the best commander I’ve ever served with, and I mean served with — not served for. He always put the soldier first, always,” said retired Army First Sergeant Rex Pierce, 45, of Boerne. “He had a rare quality of taking care of soldiers to the point where they wanted to serve.”
That was true if a soldier had financial trouble. Pierce said Pine would first go through Army channels, but if that didn’t work he would quietly make loans to his own troops — not expecting to get the money back.
That was typical of Pine, who has a son, Guy, 15.
“One of his close friends over there e-mailed me and told me he saw him empty his wallet countless times,” said his daughter, Talya Pine, a 17-year-old high school junior in Pflugerville, north of Austin.
In what may have been his last act of charity, Pine asked his daughter Rachel, a former GI living in Fort Riley, Kansas, to send a “care package” of baby clothes to Afghanistan. The clothes were for an interpreter who was going to be a dad.
“He was killed before (the package) got there,” she said, “but the casualty assistance officers made sure that it got to my dad’s interpreter to ensure the baby still had clothes.”
24 May 2009:
This Memorial Day one San Antonio family will be remembering a soldier who was recently killed while working overseas in Afghanistan. The SUV he was riding in hit a roadside bomb in Kabul. Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Shawn Pine's family is still coping with their loss.
Lieutenant Colonel Pine served as a soldier for nearly nine years. Pine was part of a group that searched for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He was also in the Army Reserves and most recently worked over seas as a consultant for a private security company.
Funeral services are still pending for Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Shawn Pine. But his wife did tell us there will be a memorial service for him here in San Antonio and he'll be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Lieutenant Colonel Shawn Pine is the first
San Antonio soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan in 2009. Since
the start of the war 46 soldiers from San Antonio have been killed.
An Israeli-American intelligence contractor killed in Afghanistan was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Shawn Pine, a former U.S. Army Ranger who was training Afghan army soldiers, was killed by a roadside bomb in Kabul last month, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Pine, 51, died in the same explosion that killed another Jewish U.S. intelligence officer, First Lt. Roslyn Schulte, 25. He was buried June 2, 2009.
A Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Pine also served in the Israeli army's elite Golani Brigade after making aliyah with his family at age 17, before returning to the United States.
In 2001, Pine accused the U.S. Army of taking
his security clearance away because of his ties to Israel. An Army appeals
board eventually reinstated the clearance.
Shawn Pine, 51, of San Antonio was a career soldier and veteran intelligence officer with nine years on active duty. The former Army Ranger was working as a contractor training Afghan army soldiers when he was killed May 20, 2009. The San Antonio Express-News reported May 23, 2009, that Air Force Lieuteant Roslyn L. Schulte, 25, of St. Louis also was killed in the attack.
Pine’s aunt, Lois Crawford, lives in Columbus, where Pine spent much of his youth. According to Crawford, her nephew went to school in Fort Benning Schools until his father, a 30-year Army veteran, received orders transferring the family to Columbus, Ohio. Pine finished high school in Ohio but moved back to Georgia to live with Crawford and attend Columbus College, now Columbus State University. That’s where he met his wife, Lynne Pine, 47, of San Antonio.
“He was a wonderful person,” Crawford said. “Never in trouble. Never caused any trouble. Just a pleasant person to be around. He was quiet. He didn’t talk a lot because he was into studying and reading.”
Pine eventually transferred from Columbus College to Georgetown University, where he majored in foreign relations. He later earned his master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas.
After college, Pine was commissioned into the U.S. Army, where he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
A Hebrew linguist, Pine spent much of his civilian and military career in the Middle East. He studied international relations at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University and served in the Golani Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Crawford said her last care package to Pine was a box of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. She also mentioned her nephew’s love of Country’s Barbecue.
“He loved to go to Country’s Barbecue,” she said. “If he went out to eat, he always wanted to go to Country’s and eat the barbecue chicken, all you can have.”
Pine was laid to rest June 2, 2009, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. He is survived by his wife and three children, Guy, Talya and Rachel.
Posted: 11 June 2009