Nightly News   |  November 27, 2013

Hollywood producer admits to being Israeli spy

Arnon Milchan, who helped build Israel’s military, now says he was first recruited in the 60s by none other than Shimon Peres. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back now with this revelation from a well known movie producer who says for a time he was producing a string of blockbuster pictures and also living something of a double life as a nuclear arms dealer for israel . he made the admission in an interview on an israeli news broadcast. we get the story tonight from nbc's andrea mitchell .

>> reporter: he's a legendary hollywood producer credited with more than a hundred movies, from "pretty woman," to "fight club."

>> hit me as hard as you can.

>> reporter: to the current hit "12 years of slave".

>> nothing but a georgia runaway.

>> reporter: he produced robert de niro in "the king of comedy" but arnon milchan now reveals he was an israeli spy.

>> you know, i did it for my country.

>> reporter: his country is israel where he's still a citizen and for years an under cover agent.

>> james bond , wow. that's very exciting.

>> he told me that he was an israeli and that he, of course, would do these things for his country. something with the things that trigger --

>> quite.

>> reporter: biographers say the things that trigger something for nuclear triggers and centrifuges from germany and uranium from south africa for israel 's first nuclear bomb . a secret program israel has always denied. milchan said he was recruited by perez, currently israel 's president and a nobel peace prize winner . milchan says his business partner was often sydney pollock of "tootsie" fame. do you think israel would be a nuclear nation without arnon milchan ?

>> they needed somebody to head up this relationship. it was mostly covert, clan decemb clandestine. they found a young man who was successful. that was arnon milchan .

>> reporter: he's celebrated as a hero back home.

>> he's always remembered his country, remembered his roots.

>> reporter: now he's finally come in from the cold.

>> it definitely has an "argo" quality, a "bourne eyidentity" and a "yentl" quality.

>> reporter: with him in the starring role. andrea mitchell , nbc news, washington.