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New Details of Extensive ADL Spy Operation Emerge : Inquiry: Transcripts reveal nearly 40 years of espionage by a man who infiltrated political groups.

April 13, 1993|RICHARD C. PADDOCK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN FRANCISCO — To the outside world, Roy Bullock was a small-time art dealer who operated from his house in the Castro District. In reality, he was an undercover spy who picked through garbage and amassed secret files for the Anti-Defamation League for nearly 40 years.

His code name at the prominent Jewish organization was Cal, and he was so successful at infiltrating political groups that he was once chosen to head an Arab-American delegation that visited Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) in her Washington, D.C., office.

For a time, Cal tapped into the phone message system of the White Aryan Resistance to learn of hate crimes. From police sources, he obtained privileged, personal information on at least 1,394 people. And he met surreptitiously with agents of the South African government to trade his knowledge for crisp, new $100 bills.

These are among the secrets that Bullock and David Gurvitz, a former Los Angeles-based operative, divulged in extensive interviews with police and the FBI in a growing scandal over the nationwide intelligence network operated by the Anti-Defamation League.

Officials of the Anti-Defamation League, while denying any improper activity, have said they will cooperate with the investigation. They have refused to discuss Bullock and Gurvitz.

Transcripts of the interviews--among nearly 700 pages of documents released by San Francisco prosecutors last week--offer new details of the private spy operation that authorities allege crossed the line into illegal territory.

At times, the intelligence activities took on a cloak-and-dagger air with laundered payments, shredded documents, hotel rendezvous with foreign agents and code names likes "Ironsides" and "Flipper."

On one occasion, Gurvitz recounts, he received a tip that a pro-Palestinian activist was about to board a plane bound for Haifa, Israel. Although the Anti-Defamation League publicly denies any ties to Israel, Gurvitz phoned an Israeli consular official to warn him. Shortly afterward, another official called Gurvitz back and debriefed him.

The court papers also added to the mystery of Tom Gerard, a former CIA agent and San Francisco police officer accused of providing confidential material from police files to the Anti-Defamation League.

Gerard fled to the Philippines last fall after he was interviewed by the FBI, but left behind a briefcase in his police locker. Its contents included passports, driver's licenses and identification cards in 10 different names; identification cards in his own name for four American embassies in Central America; and a collection of blank birth certificates, Army discharge papers and official stationery from various agencies.

Also in the briefcase were extensive information on death squads, a black hood, apparently for use in interrogations, and photos of blindfolded and chained men.

Investigators suspect that Gerard and other police sources gave the ADL confidential driver's license or vehicle registration information on a vast number of people, including as many as 4,500 members of one target group, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Each case of obtaining such data from a law enforcement officer could constitute a felony, San Francisco Police Inspector Ron Roth noted in an affidavit for a search warrant.

The Anti-Defamation League, a self-described Jewish defense and civil rights organization, acknowledges it has long collected information on groups that are anti-Semitic, extremist or racist. The ADL's fact-finding division, headed by Irwin Suall in New York, enjoys a reputation for thoroughness and has often shared its information with police agencies and journalists.

However, evidence seized from Bullock's computer shows he kept files on at least 950 groups of all political stripes, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Earth Island Institute, the United Auto Workers, Jews for Jesus, Mother Jones magazine, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Bo Gritz for President Committee, the Asian Law Caucus and the AIDS activist group ACT UP.

The computer files also included information on several members of Congress, including Pelosi, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ron Dellums (D-Berkeley) and former Republican Rep. Pete McCloskey from the Bay Area.

In their statements, Bullock and Gurvitz said the Anti-Defamation League has collected information on political activists in the Los Angeles area for more than 30 years. They said they worked closely with three Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies who specialized in intelligence work, a Los Angeles Police Department anti-terrorism expert and a San Diego County Sheriff's Department intelligence officer.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said he knew nothing of any contact between the deputies and the ADL. The Los Angeles Police Department, which earlier refused to cooperate with the investigation, and the San Diego Sheriff's Department declined comment.

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