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June 1, 2016 / 24 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Pollard’

Pollard Still Imprisoned After 27 Years: An Object Lesson for Jews?

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Highly redacted CIA document about Jonathan Pollard case. Click for larger version.

Highly redacted CIA document about Jonathan Pollard case.

I haven’t written about Jonathan Pollard in a while. I’m prompted to do so again by two things: a recent news report that Pollard was taken to the hospital after collapsing in his cell (he is now back in jail), and the release today of formerly classified documents about his case.

Pollard, a Navy intelligence analyst, was arrested for passing classified information to Israel in 1985 and sentenced in 1987 to life imprisonment, when the government reneged on a plea deal. The judge in the case ruled after receiving confidential information about the damage that Pollard’s spying allegedly caused from former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

Weinberger’s memo to the court has now been declassified, but unfortunately the content that persuaded the judge to send Pollard to prison for life has been redacted, so we still don’t know exactly what Pollard is supposed to have done that justified his hugely disproportionate sentence. You can read more about the case here.

Some commentators think that Pollard was accused of being the source of information which led to the deaths of American agents at the hands of the Soviet KGB, when in fact this was provided by traitors Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen. But this can’t be determined from what’s left of Weinberger’s memo.

One interesting item that appears in the declassified documents are details about some of what Pollard provided:

The documents provided information on PLO headquarters in Tunisia; specific capabilities of Tunisian and Libyan air defense systems; Iraqi and Syrian chemical warfare productions capabilities (including detailed satellite imagery); Soviet arms shipments to Syria and other Arab states; naval forces, port facilities, and lines of communication of various Middle Eastern and North African countries; the MiG-29 fighter; and Pakistan’s nuclear program. Also included was a U.S. assessment of Israeli military capabilities.

The government has not provided any additional information that makes the reasons for keeping Pollard in prison clear. While he certainly is guilty of transmitting classified information to an ally, his is the only case of this kind that has resulted in a life sentence. I can’t believe, if the government actually has information to justify the sentence, that it could not be provided in a manner that would be convincing without revealing damaging secrets.

There are at least two other possible reasons for not releasing Pollard that come to mind: either:

  1. Pollard knows something which still, after 27 years, would embarrass the CIA or some other government entity or official; or,
  2. The administration believes that it is absolutely necessary to send a message that Jewish disloyalty will be treated with maximum harshness.

I’m going with number 2.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Vic Rosenthal

Declassified: Pollard’s Handlers Wanted Arab and Soviet, Not US Information

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

When Naval Investigative Service analyst Jonathan Pollard spied for Israel in 1984 and 1985, his Israeli handlers asked primarily for nuclear, military and technical information on the Arab states, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union – not on the United States – according to the newly-declassified CIA 1987 damage assessment of the Pollard case, published Friday by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

According to the GWU National Security Archive, the damage assessment (PDF) includes new details on the specific subjects and documents sought by Pollard’s Israeli handlers, such as Syrian drones and central communications, Egyptian missile programs, and Soviet air defenses. The Israelis specifically asked for a signals intelligence manual that they needed to listen in on Soviet advisers in Syria. The document describes how Pollard’s handler, Joseph Yagur, told him to ignore a request, from Yagur’s boss, for U.S. “dirt” on senior Israeli officials and told Pollard that gathering such information would terminate the operation.

Under the heading “What the Israelis Did Not Ask For,” the assessment remarks that they “never expressed interest in US military activities, plans, capabilities, or equipment.”

Jonathan Pollard's I.D. Photograph

Jonathan Pollard’s I.D. Photograph.                                                       Photo: U.S. Naval intelligence

The assessment also notes that Pollard volunteered delivery of three daily intelligence summaries that had not been requested by his handlers, but which proved useful to them, and ultimately handed over roughly 1,500 such messages from the Middle East and North Africa Summary (MENAS), the Mediterranean Littoral Intelligence Summary (MELOS), and the Indian Ocean Littoral Intelligence Summary, in addition to the more than 800 compromised documents on other subjects that Pollard delivered to the Israelis in suitcases.

The damage assessment (PDF) also features a detailed 21-page chronology of Pollard’s personal life and professional career, including his work for the Israelis, highlighting more than a dozen examples of unusual behavior by Pollard that the CIA suggests should have, in retrospect, alerted his supervisors that he was a security risk. Prominent on the list were false statements by Pollard during a 1980 assignment with Task Force 168, the naval intelligence element responsible for HUMINT collection. Pollard is now serving a life sentence in prison for espionage.

The CIA denied release of most of the Pollard damage assessment in 2006, claiming for example that pages 18 through 165 were classified in their entirety and not a line of those pages could be released. The Archive appealed the CIA’s decision to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, established by President Clinton in 1995 and continued by Presidents Bush and Obama. The ISCAP showed its value yet again as a check on systemic overclassification by ordering release of scores of pages from the Pollard damage assessment that were previously withheld by CIA, and published today for the first time.

According to Jeffrey T. Richelson, writing for the GWU Archive, until his arrest, Pollard delivered approximately 800 documents, many of which were classified top secret or codeword. In addition, he stole an estimated 1,500 current intelligence summary messages.

The documents provided information on PLO headquarters in Tunisia; specific capabilities of Tunisian and Libyan air defense systems; Iraqi and Syrian chemical warfare productions capabilities (including detailed satellite imagery); Soviet arms shipments to Syria and other Arab states; naval forces, port facilities, and lines of communication of various Middle Eastern and North African countries; the MiG-29 fighter; and Pakistan’s nuclear program. Also included was a U.S. assessment of Israeli military capabilities.

Pollard’s disclosures were alarming to U.S. officials for several reasons, some of which were noted in their official declarations (Document 6, Document 8). One, despite the fact that both the U.S. and Israeli considered each other legitimate intelligence targets, was Israel’s willingness to run a human penetration operation directed at the U.S. government. Another, was the damage to the intelligence sharing arrangement with Israel – since its acquisition of material from Pollard weakened the U.S. position vis-a-vis intelligence exchanges with Israel.

In addition, there was no guarantee that such documents, revealing both sources and methods as well as assessments, would not find their way to the Soviet Union via a Soviet penetration of the Israeli intelligence or defense community – as had happened with a number of other allies. Further, since Israel was a target of U.S. intelligence collection – particularly technical collection – operations, the documents could be used by Israeli counterintelligence and security organizations to help Israel neutralize or degrade U.S. collection operations.

Jewish Press Staff

Jonathan Pollard Returned to Prison

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

After a week of medical tests in the hospital, Jonathan Pollard was returned on Sunday to his prison cell.

After falling seriously ill a week ago, Pollard was taken to a hospital were tests were performed,including an MRI of his brain.

The results are not yet in, but his condition stabilized enough that the authorities decided to return him to his cell to await the results of the tests.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Time To Let Jonathan Pollard Go

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Jonathan Pollard’s long incarceration has taken its toll and he is now seriously ill. While he is not the first inmate to suffer in this manner, most are given consideration for compassionate early release. It in no way diminishes the severity of his crimes to suggest he should be sent home. His sentence was Draconian, as attested to by a growing number of former senior federal officials, including several from Congress and the intelligence community.

In this connection, we were disappointed that retiring Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who in the past pointedly refused to get involved with the issue, still does not seem interested – this despite his call for Congress to have “mercy” on United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, who has been heavily criticized for her statements after the Benghazi attack. The circumstances are obviously very different but we were struck, nevertheless, by his compassion for Ms. Rice, which stands in such stark contrast to his disinterest in Mr. Pollard’s plight.

Several years ago his Senate colleague, New York’s Charles Schumer, said in an interview after being asked about his reported review of the classified Pollard case file:

Pollard should have been punished, he spied on the United States. But the sentence he received is disproportionate. When I got the top-secret briefing you alluded to, it didn’t teach me anything that I didn’t know from open sources.

Sen. Lieberman once told an interviewer that he had had “a classified briefing” in the matter and noted that “Pollard did some terrible things” – though he also acknowledged that “he’s been in a long time…but if you’re asking if I’m going to get involved, no.” When pressed further he said,

He’s been in a very long time. Our system of justice unfortunately sometimes produces results like this. Two people, even in the same state, can both be charged with murder and convicted of murder. One gets a life sentence for some reason and maybe that is commuted to 25 years; the other gets executed. I mean, that’s just the way it is.”

Mr. Lieberman’s words speak for themselves.

Editorial Board

Netanyahu on Pollard and a Palestinian State

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

PM Netanyahu said today at a cabinet meeting that, “a Palestinian state will not be established until they recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people along with a decision to end the conflict. Israel will not let Judea and Samaria turn into a terror base where missiles will be launched at Israel.”

In addition, Netanyahu spoke about Jonathan Pollard and said, “Over the weekend we heard news of Jonathan Pollards illness. I am sending, from the entire government, our well wishes that he get better. We will continue to try all methods to return Jonathan Pollard home.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Pollard Collapsed in Jail over the Weekend

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

The committee to release Jonathan Pollard says the Jewish spy was hospitalized after he had collapsed in prison. His condition is unknown. His wife was informed by the prison authorities a short while ago.

A source inside the committee told Ynet that over the past few weeks Pollard has been suffering great pain, but it is not yet known if the that was the cause of his collapse.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Give ‘Em Hell, Sheldon: Adelson Presses Romney on Pollard, Jerusalem Embassy

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Sheldon Adelson, a major contributor to Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, has asked Romney to speak out publicly for the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, has said he needs to see the relevant intelligence material accessible to a president before deciding whether to grant Pollard clemency, sources told the Daily Beast website.

Pollard was working as an American civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy when he passed classified information to Israel. He was convicted and received a life sentence in 1987.

Adelson also has asked Romney to state publicly that the Palestinians are not willing to make peace and that the peace talks are a waste of time, according to the Daily Beast article. The billionaire casino owner also wants Romney to come out more firmly and commit to moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Romney has not come out against the peace talks and has said that he favors moving the embassy, but would do so only after consultation with the Israel government.

Adelson is considered to be close with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

JTA

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