INTERNATIONAL (August 4) THE suspicions surrounding Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's US Social Security number are still,
to a large degree, unresolved.
The Jerusalem Post confirmed the real number - 172-42-XXXX -
with the Boston Consulting Group, where Netanyahu worked for
about a year in 1979-80. But his use of a different number remains
a mystery. According to US federally-regulated credit reports
from as recent as early July, Netanyahu and a man named John
J. Sullivan both used Social Security number 020-36-XXXX.
The story was initially reported by the Ha'ir newspaper chain
in an article which also raised questions about whether Netanyahu
had used Sullivan's identity or misused his Social Security number.
Ha'ir printed documents pulled from the Transunion Credit Bureau's
files showing Sullivan and Netanyahu's names together. (Transunion
is one of three major federally regulated credit bureaus operating
in the US. Banks, credit-card companies and other businesses
widely use their services before granting credit to applicants.
Congressional studies show that between 20 and 40% of the reports
they prepare contain inaccuracies.)
Also listed as using 020-36-XXXX were the names Benjamin Neitay
(Netanyahu's legal name for a period of time), Juliana Sullivan
(John's wife), and John J. Sullivan Jr. (The name used by John
until his father's death). Strangely, when Transunion credit
reports were pulled on July 9, Netanyahu's name no longer appeared,
although the name Neitay continued to be listed.
Following the Ha'ir report, IBA News and The Jerusalem Post reported
that Sullivan had been located in Northern California. Sullivan
was tracked down by New York investigator Steven Rambam.
Rambam met Sullivan on July 13 in San Francisco and learned that
Sullivan is a US federal agent working in the mail-fraud division
of the US Postal Authority.
Rambam persuaded Sullivan to be photographed and to photocopy
his Social Security card bearing the number 020-36-XXXX, the
same number that appears in the credit report.
"I have had my Social Security card since I was 15 years
old, when I got my first job at the Star Supermarket in Boston,"
Sullivan, 47, told Rambam.
Sullivan and Netanyahu are about the same age, and at one time
they both lived and worked in Boston. But aside from appearing
on the same credit report, there is no known connection between
Sullivan told Rambam that he has no connection to Netanyahu.
He claims he had barely heard of him until Netanyahu's election
victory in May. But after a series of telephone calls on the
issue, Sullivan began to take an interest. "I have Jewish
relatives in Israel," he said. "They tease me by saying
that their goyish relative has become a celebrity."
Following the initial wave of publicity, the prime minister's
staff tried to clear up the matter, but they say that Netanyahu
cannot remember his Social Security number, has no record of
it, and has never heard of Sullivan. As Netanyahu headed to Washington
three weeks ago, the Prime Minister's Office asked the US government
for a copy of his Social Security records. Officials say the
request has yet to be answered.
They had greater success with the Boston Consulting Group,
which provided a copy of his work records.
SEVERAL questions remain:
How did Sullivan's and Netanyahu's names get lumped together
in the Transunion credit report in the first place? The names
appear in a file pulled during a search by Social Security number
which it now appears belongs solely to Sullivan.
Transunion officials told The Jerusalem Post that someone
got access to the system and apparently entered incorrect information
about Netanyahu to make the names appear together.
Who removed Netanyahu's name in a later search of that same Social
Transunion believes that someone, perhaps the same person, gained
access a second time to remove records. The company says it is
investigating. No one has yet been able to determine the source
of the high-level computer break-in, but the federally regulated
company is convinced that only federal US agencies are capable
of accomplishing such a break-in.
Who is John J. Sullivan and what is his role in the affair?
John J. Sullivan is a US federal agent, but there is no evidence
directly connecting him to Netanyahu or to the computer break-in.
Could Sullivan and Netanyahu have been thrown together in a Transunion
This is not likely because it does not explain the fact that
a Social Security report from the TRW credit bureau also shows
Sullivan's and Netanyahu's names together. It also does not explain
the later change in Transunion records.
Could Netanyahu mistakenly or deliberately have used Sullivan's
Social Security number, and thereby got himself placed in Sullivan's
A mistake is not likely, since Netanyahu's and Sullivan's Social
Security numbers are totally dissimilar. Deliberate use of Sullivan's
number by Netanyahu makes no sense because it would have been
to his financial benefit to use his own number.