The Case AGAINST Jonathan Jay Pollard
In November 1985, the FBI arrested Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, on charges of selling classified material to Israel.
In his younger days, Pollard enrolled in several graduate schools but never completed a postgraduate degree. He admitted to prolific illegal drug abuse from 1974-78, when he was between 20-24 years old; Pollard was turned down by the CIA and Navy for failing polygraph testing.
He was then somehow hired by the Naval Fields-U.S. Operational Intelligence Office (NFOIO) as an intelligence specialist on Soviet issues. Lying about his father’s involvement with the CIA, Pollard offered to start a back-channel operation with the Apartheid South African Intelligence Service. It was later discovered that Pollard lied repeatedly, in addition to his father’s spy work, he denied illegal drug use, misrepresented his language abilities and educational achievements, and claimed to have applied for a commission as an officer in the Naval Reserve.
A month later, Pollard applied for and received a transfer to the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) surface ships division while keeping his TF-168 position. After the meeting, Admiral Sumner Shapiro immediately ordered that Pollard’s security clearances be revoked and that he be reassigned to a non-sensitive position.
According to The Washington Post, Shapiro dismissed Pollard as a “kook,” saying later, “I wish the hell I’d fired him.” A polygraph was ordered. The special agent administering the test felt that Pollard, who at times “began shouting and shaking and making gagging sounds as if he were going to vomit,” was feigning illness to invalidate the test, and recommended that he not be granted access to highly classified information. Pollard was also required to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.
By 1982, the psychiatrist concluded Pollard had no mental illness; his clearance was upgraded to SCI once again. In October 1984, after some reorganization of the Navy’s intelligence departments, Pollard applied for and was accepted into a position as an analyst for the NIS. The dates are important, because it has been said in some quarters that Pollard gave Israel information about the Iraqi Osirak reactor and how to bomb it. This is impossible, because the surprise Israeli air strike carried out on June 7, 1981, that destroyed the nuclear reactor under construction was well before the dates when Pollard received his top security clearance and made contact with Israeli agents.
On November 29, 1983, the U.S. and Israel signed an agreement creating the Joint Political Military Group and Joint Security Assistance Program. It is this that Pollard used as his basis for feeling that all one million pieces of classified information at his disposal should be in the hands of a foreign nation. There is no entry on the Internet of the exact wording of this understanding, but in 1983, the United States and Israel established the Joint Political Military Group, which meets twice a year. Both the U.S. and Israel participate in joint military planning and combined exercises, and have collaborated on military research and weapons development.
Within a few days of starting work for the NIS, in June 1984, Pollard started passing classified information to Israeli Colonel Aviem Sella and received, in exchange, US$10,000 cash and a very expensive diamond and sapphire ring, which Pollard later used to propose marriage to his girlfriend, Anne. He also agreed to receive US$1,500 per month for further espionage.
Pollard was a professional, passing classified information to South Africa and attempted, through a third party, to sell classified information to Nazi Islamic Pakistan on multiple occasions. Pollard also used his access to secret documents to furnish classified information to non-governmental employees, including two friends of his who worked as professional investment advisers. Pollard also stole classified documents related to the Bolshevik People’s Republic of China, on behalf of his wife Anne, who used the classified assessments to advance her personal business interests. Anne Pollard kept the documents around the Pollard household, where they were discovered by investigating authorities when Pollard’s espionage activity came to light.
During the course of the Pollard trial, Australian authorities reported the disclosure of classified American documents by Pollard to one of their own agents, a Royal Australian Naval officer who had been engaged in a personnel-exchange liaison program between the U.S. and Australian Navies. Furthermore, it is impossible to know who the end recipients of these documents were and may even have been countries who are enemies of the U.S. and of Israel.
The full extent of the information he gave to Israel has still not been officially revealed. Press reports cited a secret 46-page memorandum, which Pollard and his attorneys were allowed to view. They were provided to the judge by Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, who described Pollard’s spying as including, among other things, obtaining and copying the latest version of Radio-Signal Notations (RASIN), a 10-volume manual comprehensively detailing America’s global electronic surveillance network.
Pollard’s espionage was discovered in 1985 when a co-worker anonymously reported his removal of classified material from the IS; Pollard eventually cooperated with investigators in exchange for a plea agreement for leniency for himself and his wife. At the time, Israel claimed that Pollard worked for an unauthorized rogue operation, a position they maintained for more than ten years. Israel agreed to cooperate with the investigation in exchange for immunity for their people, a deal they needed since many of the Israelis involved lacked diplomatic immunity.
However, according to Ronald Olive, the NCIS investigator responsible for capturing Pollard and a member of the delegation that traveled to Israel for debriefing, the Israelis failed to live up to their agreement. For instance, when asked to return the stolen material, the Israelis handed over a few dozen low-classified documents. At the time, the Americans knew that Pollard had passed tens of thousands of documents, possibly more than a million. The Israelis created a schedule designed to wear down the Americans, including many hours per day of commuting in blacked-out buses on rough roads, and frequent switching of buses. This left the Americans without adequate time to sleep and prevented them from sleeping on the commute. The identity of Pollard’s original handler, Sella, was withheld. All questions had to be translated into Hebrew and answered in Hebrew, and then translated back into English, even though all the parties spoke perfect English. The Americans were treated with hostility from the moment they arrived in Israel to the moment they left. Even as they departed the airport, airport security made a point of informing him that “you will never be coming back here again”; they found various items had been stolen from their luggage, upon their return to the United States. The abuse came not only from the guards and officials, but also the Israeli media.
Aviem Sella, Pollard’s initial Israeli contact, was eventually indicted on three counts of espionage by an American court. Israel refused to allow him to be interviewed unless he was granted immunity. America refused because of Israel’s previous failure to cooperate as promised. Pollard’s plea discussions with the government sought both to minimize his chances of receiving a life sentence and to enable Anne Pollard to plead as well, which the government was otherwise unwilling to let her do. The Government, however, was prepared to offer Anne Pollard a plea agreement only after Jonathan Pollard consented to assist the government in its damage assessment and submitted to polygraph examinations and interviews with FBI agents and Department of Justice attorneys. Accordingly, over a period of several months, Pollard cooperated with the Government’s investigation, and in late May 1986, the Government offered him a plea agreement, which he accepted. By the terms of that agreement, Pollard was bound to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government, which carried a maximum prison term of life, and to cooperate fully with the Government’s ongoing investigation. He promised not to disseminate any information concerning his crimes or his case, or to speak publicly of any classified information, without first submitting to pre-clearance by the Director of Naval Intelligence. His agreement further provided that failure by Anne Pollard to adhere to the terms of her agreement entitled the Government to void his agreement, and her agreement contained a mirror-image provision. In return for Pollard’s plea, the Government promised not to charge him with additional crimes.
Three weeks before Pollard’s sentencing, Wolf Blitzer, at the time a Jerusalem Post correspondent, conducted a jail-cell interview with Pollard and penned an article which also ran in The Washington Post headlined, “Pollard: Not A Bumbler, but Israel’s Master Spy,” published on February 15, 1987. Pollard told Blitzer about some of the information he provided the Israelis: reconnaissance satellite photography of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters in Tunisia (for the Israeli airstrike of 1985), specific capabilities of Libya’s air defenses, and “the pick of U.S. intelligence about Arab and Islamic conventional and unconventional military activity, from Morocco to Pakistan and every country in between. This gave the Israelis the intelligence needed to bomb PLO headquarters in Tunis on October 1, 1985 by Israeli F-15s. This included both ‘friendly’ and ‘unfriendly’ Arab countries.” Some commentators identified this interview as a blatant violation of the plea agreement.
Also prior to sentencing, Pollard and his wife, Anne, gave further defiant media interviews in which they defended their spying, and attempted to rally Jewish Americans to their cause. In a 60 Minutes interview, Anne said, “I feel my husband and I did what we were expected to do, and what our moral obligation was as Jews and I have no regrets about that.”
On June 4, 1986, Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government. The prosecution said that the Pollards had continued to violate numerous nondisclosure agreements even as the trial was taking place. The prosecutor noted one in particular, which had been signed in June 1986, alluding to Pollard’s interview with Wolf Blitzer. Pollard was sentenced to life in prison on one count of espionage on March 4, 1987.
The prosecutor complied with the plea agreement and asked for “only a substantial number of years in prison”; Judge Aubrey Robinson, Jr., not being obligated to follow the recommendation of the prosecutor, and after hearing a “damage-assessment memorandum” from the Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, imposed a life sentence. In 1987, Pollard began his life sentence, which he is still serving. Pollard’s wife, Anne, was sentenced to five years in prison but was paroled after three and a half years because of health problems.
At the time of Pollard’s sentencing, there was a rule that mandated parole at thirty years for prisoners like him if they had maintained a clean record in prison. That parole date would be November 21, 2015. Also, Pollard was eligible to apply for parole after eight years and six months, though he has never done so and is incarcerated in FCI Butner Medium at the Butner Federal Corrections Center near Butner, North Carolina. His projected release date is November 21, 2015. It is not a life sentence.
Pollard has shown erratic behavior his whole adult life and has also lied to investigators as well as prosecutors after he was caught and has talked freely to the media after he made an agreement with them that he and his wife would not.
Is Jonathan Pollard a Jewish American hero or an embarrassment to Jewish Americans who plays into the hands of anti-Semites who state that Jewish Americans have divided loyalties and care far more about Israel than their home country? Since the Pollard affair, U.S. intelligence agencies are loathe to hire Jews who profess any Zionist feelings and to recommend top security clearances and even to Sephardic Jews who speak perfect Arabic, even though they need desperately to hire more Arabic translators (report on the Zev Brenner Show).
In closing, this was an exhaustive search of what was available on the Internet using half a dozen sources and will go against what the armchair Israelis, the chuchems in your shul say on Friday night. JJP is a total scumbag. Any American Jew who loves Pollard and wants him released because he thinks JJP is a “Jewish American hero” is a traitor to the U.S. I can understand the argument that he has served enough time and get rid of him already but if you think he is a “hero”, get on the next El-Al flight, make your aliyah and leave this country. “Yimach shmo vezichro- shem reshaim yirkav”.