WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An 84-year-old retired military engineer from New Jersey was arrested early Tuesday and charged with sending highly classified military information to Israel through an operative who also served as handler for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.
Ben-Ami Kadish, a U.S. citizen and engineer employed at a military arsenal in Dover, New Jersey, supplied secrets to Israel from 1979 through 1985, according to a court document unsealed Tuesday.
Kadish is accused of providing secrets that dealt with nuclear weapons, the F-15 plane and the Patriot defense missile system.
At a court hearing Tuesday afternoon, Kadish was released on a $300,000 property bond. He was required to surrender his passport and will be allowed to travel only in New York and New Jersey. Watch Kadish leave court after being charged »
The document says Kadish has continued to stay in touch with his Israeli handler over the years, and as recently as last month, the handler told Kadish to lie to FBI investigators if he is questioned.
The FBI says Kadish lied the next day, March 21, denying that he had talked to the handler.
The document says Kadish's handler worked for the Israeli government as a science affairs official in the Israeli Consulate General in Manhattan from 1979 to 1985. He is now believed to be in Israel.
Israeli government officials had no reaction Tuesday.
A criminal complaint by an FBI counterintelligence agent does not identify the handler by name, referring to him only as CC-1, but makes the connection to Pollard clear.
"In or about November 1985, Jonathan Jay Pollard was charged with espionage-related offenses in relation to his having provided classified information to CC-1 among other people," the complaint says.
Pollard was a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy when he was arrested in 1985 on charges that he provided secrets to the Israelis. He pleaded guilty to one count of espionage and was sentenced to life in prison.
Pollard's high-profile case has been a continuing irritant between U.S. intelligence officials and the Israeli government, which has pressed hard for Pollard's release from prison.
A State Department spokesman said the arrest does not have any new implications for U.S. national security.
"There is pretty much a zero-tolerance policy for anyone that would engage in sharing that information in an unauthorized way, including countries that are good friends and allies like Israel," spokesman Tom Casey said.
For years, the FBI has watched Kadish. The complaint says he traveled to Israel in 2004 and met with the unnamed handler.
The court document says Kadish was not motivated by money.
"Kadish said he believed providing classified documents would help Israel," said the complaint signed by FBI counterintelligence agent Lance Ashworth.
Although it is highly unlikely that prosecutors would consider it, the most serious of the four counts carries a potential death penalty. That charge of transmitting defense secrets "with the intent and reason to believe that they would be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation" usually carries lengthy sentences up to life in prison.
With his wife looking on from the courtroom's back row, Kadish did not speak during his brief appearance Tuesday. Representatives from many of Israel's major media outlets were also present.
He'll appear in court in the next 10 days to finalize bond arrangements, and a pretrial hearing is set for May 22. E-mail to a friend
All About Israel • Espionage and Intelligence