web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Revisiting Seymour Hersh’s Pollard Hit Piece


Media-Monitor-logo

The Monitor lately has been on the receiving end of a number of e-mails that either contain or link to a hit piece on Jonathan Pollard by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that appeared nearly nine years ago in The New Yorker (Jan. 18, 1999 issue). While the article is not accessible on The New Yorker’s website (the archives section of which is almost non-existent), it’s easily found on the Internet.

The Monitor examined Hersh’s story when it was first published and came away severely unimpressed. Here’s how the critique looked back then:

One can agree or disagree with the proposition that Jonathan Pollard ought to serve out his life sentence for spying on behalf of Israel, but alarm bells should go off – on both sides of the argument – when someone like Seymour Hersh slithers out from under his rock to take up the cudgels for the anti-Pollard position.

In his lengthy New Yorker article, titled “The Traitor,” Hersh recycled several allegations first aired in his 1991 book The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, the most serious of which is that an unknown quantity of the most highly-classified data stolen by Pollard ended up in Soviet hands.

The Samson Option was widely panned for its unsubstantiated charges and unseemly reliance on questionable sources. Hersh’s prime informant for the book’s most sensational claims was one Arie Ben-Menashe, an individual whom The Jerusalem Post labeled “a notorious, chronic liar” and whom journalist Steven Emerson described as “an abject liar” – and who indeed failed a lie-detector test administered by ABC News.

Another source for The Samson Option, a character named Joe Flynn, admitted that he’d deceived Hersh in exchange for money. According to the Near East Report, “After Flynn was exposed, Hersh said he regretted not checking his facts more carefully.”

Hersh first achieved notoriety in 1969 when, as a freelance journalist, he broke one of the biggest stories of the Vietnam War: the massacre of unarmed civilians by American soldiers in the South Vietnamese village of My Lai. Hired by The New York Times in 1972, he went on to cover (in some cases uncover) the CIA scandals that rocked Washington in the mid-1970’s.

But Hersh’s luster began to fade during his last few years at the Times as critics raised doubts about both his methods and his fairness. In Fit To Print, his 1988 biography of former Times executive editor A. M. Rosenthal, author Joseph Goulden wrote: “Rosenthal now concedes that he had serious second thoughts about some of Hersh’s reporting, even during the glory days of the 1970’s when his stories featured prominently on the Times’s front page.”

Hersh left the Times in 1979 and commenced work on a book about former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, whom Hersh made no secret of despising. When The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House was published in 1983, The New Republic’s Martin Peretz wrote that “there is hardly anything [in the book] that shouldn’t be suspect.”

The late former attorney general John Mitchell (cited by Hersh as a major source) insisted that “almost every episode or statement on Kissinger ascribed to him by Hersh [was] a distortion, an exaggeration, a misinterpretation, or an expletive-deleted lie.”

More recently, while researching The Dark Side of Camelot, his 1997 debunking of the mythology surrounding John F. Kennedy, Hersh fell for the claims of a forgerer whose material would have been included in the book if not for a last-minute investigation by ABC News that cast doubts on the man’s story.

In his New Yorker piece on Pollard, Hersh detailed various scenarios involving Israel’s alleged transfer of pilfered U.S. material to the Soviet Union, only to lamely confess that his sources “stressed the fact that they had no hard evidence – no ‘smoking gun’ in the form of a document from an Israeli or a Soviet archive – to demonstrate the link between Pollard, Israel and the Soviet Union…”

Hersh also alleged that the late CIA director William Casey told an associate (unnamed, of course) of his knowledge that “the Israelis used Pollard to obtain our attack plan against the U.S.S.R. – all of it. The coordinates, the firing locations, the sequences. And for guess who? The Soviets.”

But Robert Gates, who was appointed Casey’s deputy in 1986, told Hersh that the director “had never indicated to him that he had specific information about the Pollard material arriving in Moscow.”

Furthermore, said Gates, “The notion that the Russians may have gotten some of the stuff has always been a viewpoint [italics added].”

On such slender reeds did Hersh rest his case against Pollard.

Snake repellent, anyone?

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Revisiting Seymour Hersh’s Pollard Hit Piece”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Front-Page-102414

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/revisiting-seymour-hershs-pollard-hit-piece/2007/11/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: