The case of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Jay Pollard has again reared its ugly head. American Jewish groups, Hollywood celebrities and Israel have renewed pressure on the besieged Clinton administration to free the man they call "the Jewish Dreyfus." Pollard has served 13 years of a life sentence.
President Bill Clinton is loath to antagonize America's politically powerful Jewish community, which strongly supports the Democratic party. But the president is also under intense pressure from the national security community not to free the Israeli spy. CIA director George Tenent has threatened to resign if Pollard is pardoned. Seven former U.S. secretaries of defence, some of whom are Jewish, also demanded Pollard remain in prison for life.
After years of denials, Israel finally admitted Pollard, a U.S. Navy civilian analyst, was not a "rogue agent," as it originally claimed, but a spy for Israeli intelligence.
Pollard caused enormous damage to U.S. national security. He gave Israel top-secret U.S. military intelligence and diplomatic codes; names of nearly 100 U.S. agents in the Mideast, who were then "turned" by Israel; NSA code-breaking techniques and targets; intercepts of foreign communications; and U.S. war-fighting plans for the Mideast.
According to CIA sources, Pollard provided Israeli intelligence with names of important American agents inside the former
Soviet Union and Russia who had supplied information on East Bloc weapons and war plans. How the agents' names were linked to the secrets they supplied - a major breach of basic intelligence security - remains a mystery.
Some of the enormously sensitive secrets stolen by Pollard may have been either sold, or bartered, by Israel to the Soviet Union.
A number of key CIA agents in the East Bloc were allegedly executed as a result of Pollard's spying. The KGB likely gained access to top-secret U.S. codes - either directly from Israel, or through spies in Israel's government. In short, Pollard's treachery caused one of the worst security disasters in modern U.S. history.
FBI investigators discovered Pollard was being directed to steal specific secret data by a senior administration official, known as "Mr. X." But the White House, unwilling to stir up a domestic political storm, quashed the investigation.
To my knowledge, three previous cases of high-ranking U.S. government officials caught passing top-secret information to Israel have been similarly hushed up. Two were senior defence department officials under Ronald Reagan, one a top state department official in a previous administration. None was prosecuted.
Pollard's defenders claim he, like French Capt. Alfred Dreyfus in 1894, is a victim of anti-Semitism in the military. They maintain Pollard was "only" spying for a friendly country, motivated solely by concern for Israel's security. These assertions are patently false. Pollard was suspected for some time of spying. Investigation was held off precisely because of fears of raising cries of anti-Semitism. Pollard took large sums of money and jewelry from Israeli agents in payment for spying.
With remarkable chutzpah, Israel, which receives up to $5 billion in U.S. aid annually, refuses to return documents stolen by Pollard, or allow U.S. intelligence to debrief Mossad agents who ran Pollard in order to learn the full extent of the disaster. While Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu kept calling for Pollard's release on "humanitarian" grounds, he refused to free prisoner of conscience Mordechai Vanunu, now serving 18 years in solitary confinement in Israel for telling a British newspaper about Israel's nuclear arsenal.
Pollard is no Jewish patriot. He is a traitor who sold out his country, and fellow intelligence officers, for money, then claimed he was being persecuted by anti-Semites.
Victim he is not. To the contrary, Pollard is a poster boy for anti-Semitism. His treason unfairly exposes all American Jews to hate, and accusations of doubtful loyalty.
Jonathan Pollard is a traitor of the worst kind - not a second Dreyfus - and should stay in prison.
See also The Case Against Jonathan Pollard by Seymour Hersh. See other news reports. More news reports.
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