Newly Released CIA Documents Reveal that Jonathan Pollard Sought Intelligence on Arab States, Not US

December 14, 2012 1:59 pm 16 comments

Jonathan Pollard at the time of his arrest.

A newly declassified damage assessment reveals that convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard was seeking information for nuclear, military and technical information on the Arab states, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union, and not on the United States.

The damage assessment, which was classified by the CIA and only released today–though still heavily redacted– on appeal by the National Security Archive at George Washington University reveals that Pollard’s handlers “never expressed interest in US military activities, plans, capabilities, or equipment.”

The damage assessment further details the specific information requested of Pollard: Syrian drones and central communications, Egyptian missile programs and Soviet air defenses. The document also describes how Pollard’s handler told him to ignore a request from his bosses for U.S. “dirt” on senior Israeli officials.

According to the article on the NSA’s website the documents Pollard passed along revealed 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 damage assessment also paints a broader picture of Pollard the man, who at the time of his arrest was working as a civilian intelligence analyst.

A detailed 21-page chronology of Pollard’s personal life and professional career, including his work for the Israelis, highlights over a dozen instances of unusual behavior by Pollard that the CIA suggests in hindsight should have alerted his supervisors to the fact the he was a security risk. One such instance occurred when, upon arriving late for an interview, he gave his excuse that he spent the weekend rescuing his wife from the Irish Republican Army after they had kidnapped her.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Former Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel, and a confidant and friend of Jonathan Pollard who is active in the case, told The Algemeiner that “Based on my quick review of hundreds of pages [...] I think there are more questions now of why he is still in prison after 27 years.” He continued, “It looks like they put him away for a lot of ‘what ifs’ and those ‘what ifs’ didn’t happen. The court should go back and review all of this, basically say if we put him away for all the potentials and the potentials didn’t happen, we need to talk about that.”

But Jeffrey T. Richelson, Media Fellow at the National Security Archives, and author of the article that first outlined the newly released documents told The Algemeiner: “The arguments made by those in favor of a long life sentence for him were not simply dependent on whether he was spying on the United States in terms of giving away specific plans or military capabilities. It was the impact of the intelligence he gave the Israelis in terms of the risks he created.”

Richelson said that the U.S. was most concerned that Pollard’s spying would reveal “what the U.S. was able to collect, what judgments it made, and there was always the risk then that through the penetration of the Israeli community this information could then get to the Soviet Union. That argument isn’t changed by this new information.”

Pollard began spying for Israel after meeting Aviem Sella, an Israeli Air Force combat veteran who was studying at New York University. Pollard, who worked for U.S. Naval intelligence at the time, told him that the U.S. intelligence services were withholding information from Israel. Within days Pollard was spying for Israel.

Pollard was arrested in 1985 while trying to enter the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C. 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. He was given a life sentence.

Pollard’s case has remained in the public spotlight in part because of the effort by high level Israeli officials to secure his release. In 1995 Yitzhak Rabin petitioned U.S. President Bill Clinton for Pollard’s release, and only recently Benjamin Netanyahu did the same with U.S. President Barack Obama. Both were rebuffed.

On Thursday New York Congressman Eliot Engel  sent a letter to President Obama asking for the commutation of Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to one of time served. The letter was co-written by Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and signed by 42 Members of Congress.

The letter stated expressly: “Mr. Pollard broke the law and deserved to be punished.  On that there is no debate.  However, he has paid his penalty and, due to failing health, should be allowed to live out his days with his family.  Mr. Pollard’s sentence was disproportionately severe.  He passed classified information to our ally, Israel; an offense which is usually punishable by a fraction of the time served by Mr. Pollard.  The time has come to close this chapter, commute Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served, and allow the Pollard family to heal together.”

It continued: “President Obama ought to heed the numerous calls for justice from scores of Republican and Democrat members of Congress as well as those Senior US officials who are most familiar with the Pollard case and who served at the time of Pollard’s conviction. Millions of humanitarians worldwide – both Jew and Gentile alike, will greatly appreciate President Obama’s honorable gesture if he were to grant clemency.”

Rabbi Lerner expressed his hope that at the very least the revelation of this new material might actuate Pollard’s legal team. “I would hope that the Pollard team would go through this with a fine tooth comb and do whatever they can [...] to bring some of this new information to the fore and demand explanations.”

Mr. Richelson was more muted in his response to the new information: “I can’t speak for how people will respond to this new information, but if nothing else it will add to the historical record of the case.”

16 Comments

  • …Can one say craven to the apologists who are “manufacturing” lies so that justification can be given to Pollard’s deeds? He betrayed the United States period. There was no secret US government conspiracy to get Pollard, he is a traitor who at Israel’s hand threw the US under the bus. One must be quite amazed at “some Jews” who have the audacity to claim Pollard’s innocence, but this is what Jew’s do when they want something even know it betrays others. Self Serving, Craven, and without any moral compass to speak of. This is what Israel is, and its government.

    • Jonathan Pollard was working for the security of his country, not to hurt the United States. I would do the same to save my country against our enemies. Israel has rockets rained down on them everyday as it is the duty of Islam to kill Jews and Christians. As for me, Israelis are blood to me and their G*d is my G*d, the G*d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

      • Douglas Presler

        “Jonathan Pollard was working for the security of his country, not to hurt the United States.”

        Well, at least someone is honest enough to state straightfowardly Pollard’s loyalites, as well as her own.

  • Where was the USA and the rest of the free world during world war two, while those German-Nazi butcherers of the 6,000,000 Jews and other innocents under the jackboots of the Third-Reich were being slaughtered on a daily industrial basis. America and their allies have a lot to answer for, how many more Jewish lives could have been saved from the hands of the Nazis. Nopbody really wanted Jewish refugees in their countries, Some of those countries that did allow some in were only considering how much each Jew was worth in payment, which was dolled out to them by the World Jewish Congress. The USA today is full of Jew-hating Arabs.

    • Douglas Presler

      “The USA today is full of Jew-hating Arabs.”

      True, sadly. As well as being the home of not a few Arab-hating Jews.

  • All I can say is I thank ‘Hashem’ that I don’t live in the USA, they seem to convict the wrong people. if Jonathan Pollard would have been anything but Jewish, he would have been released years ago, If he was an Arab-Muslim or any Muslim or from any other ethnic group for example he would have never served such a long gaol sentence. In some ways the USA treats it’s Jewish-Citizens differently from all other groups. As they judge Israel with a different set of rules to any other Country, so they apply the same method of judgement to their Jewish-Citizens. I hope that John Pollard will be released very soon from his very long incarceration.

  • What did Pollard do for the Jews that Obama didn’t do for the Muslims?

  • It was clearly Anti Semitism at the time and still is.

  • He sentence is disproportionate with his crime. This is another Dreyfus Affair.

  • Seemingly Pollard discovered information “dirt” about the “ruling elite” or “world shadow government”. The
    “puppet masters” want to hide. Why else would he be given a life sentence? May justice be enabled, by the will of G-d.

  • Pollard’s life sentence and continued captivity after 27years is preposterous! It is an unprecedented miscarriage of justice.

    While murderers, pedophiles, have either received more lenient sentences, or released on humanitarian or other grounds, he still languishes in one of the US’s harshest prisons.

    Notwithstanding clemency granted to arch murderer Megrahi of Pan Am flight 103 responsible for 259 deaths, Pollard’s severe ill health does not seem to elicit any compassion.

    His Life sentence, without a trial, can only be explained on Anti-semitic grounds. Period!

  • I wonder if he found some suspicious ties of the US admin to Arab terrorists/ Govts/PLO? Prescott Bush, his son HW and hid son GW have been in bed with the Arabs for years. Prescott’s ties began in the 1920s. If you read this book, it lays it all out and exposes how American has been screwing the Jewish people and Israel for nearly a century.

    “The Secret War Against the Jews”
    How Western Espionage Betrayed The Jewish People
    John Loftus and Mark Aarons

    • I’m so happy that people still read this FUNDAMENTAL BOOK, very serious and written by someone with the HIGHEST POSSIBLE SECURITY CLEARANCE, so essential to understand the REAL position of the Jews in America and who is or is not our friend.

      I ALWAYS RECOMMEND IT as unsurpassed together with David Wyman’s “The Abandonment of the Jews”!

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    So he was spying on our enemies. Seems like a sane reason to throw him a hole for life, doesn’t it?

    • Now that it has come out that Mr Pollard was not a traitor to the USA and was only looking at what the Arab countries were up to, it is time for him to be released – with a full pardon and compensation. The USA and the rest of the world will see that Arbas can’t be trusted. They only take and take and take.

      Ben Zion
      Melbourne
      Australia

    • You have to wonder, maybe THIS is why Pollard is still in prison? coubouwas not surprise me at all if the brutally long sentence is an accommodation to the Arab countries he was trying to get intelligence on. By now, Americans would have released him. Even American people like Cap Weinberger and George Schultz said he should be let go! But the Arabs would not hesitate to let him die in prison.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Sports Gold on the Galilee: Israeli Kayaker Comes of Age, Eyes Olympics (VIDEO)

    Gold on the Galilee: Israeli Kayaker Comes of Age, Eyes Olympics (VIDEO)

    JNS.org – Three years ago, kayaking coach Roei Lev found aspiring Olympian Ilya Podpolnyy crying on the steps of the Jordan Valley Sprint Kayak Club overlooking the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Podpolnyy, then 17 years old, had just been disqualified from the Israeli kayaking championship. He couldn’t survive the heats. He didn’t make the start line. He was devastated—and he had no one with whom to share his hopes, his dreams, and his disappointment. His divorced parents still live in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    “Girls” creator Lena Dunham responded on Tuesday to charges of antisemitism over an article she had penned for the New Yorker, saying it was all in good humor. Speaking to Variety, Dunham reflected on her “tight-knit Jewish family, where Jew jokes were part of the essential fiber of our communication.” The article Dunham referred to was called “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” with options such as “He doesn’t Tip” and “He’s Crazy for Cream Cheese.” Among Dunham’s critics, Anti-Defamation [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Retired NBA player Keyon Dooling tweeted a link on Wednesday to a wildly antisemitic article that accuses Jews of seizing control of the world’s media and using it to promote their own interests. The article, published by an obscure blog in April 2013, highlights six companies it claims are owned by Jews — such as Time Warner, Inc. and the Walt Disney Company – that allegedly “control 96 percent of the world’s media.”  The post includes allegations of “Jewish control” and says [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz responded to an outcry from Jewish fans on Tuesday, saying he will go ahead and play in the season opener despite the fact that it falls on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. “Keep getting tweets about that being the first night of Rosh Hashanah… Don’t know what I’m supposed to tell you. It’s a tough break,” the Jewish athlete wrote, referring to the Giants’ on-the-road game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    JNS.org – When David Blatt was hired as head coach of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers last June, he was not often recognized when he walked the streets of downtown Cleveland. What a difference a year makes. Now, Blatt can go few places without being recognized. For good reason. The Jewish coach has the Cavaliers in the mix to win the city of Cleveland’s first championship in a major sport since the Browns won the National Football League title in [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    A Hebrew tattoo sported by Croatian soccer star Mario Mandzukic became an internet sensation in Israel after it was exposed on Tuesday during a Champions League match between Ateltico Madrid and Real Madrid A first glance, the tattoo, on the athlete’s back, might leave one with the impression that it was an unfortunate artistic mistake, since the Hebrew letters do not make sense as they are written. However, a closer look at the tattoo shows that it was actually written [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    For the past two years, I have served as Opinion Editor at The Algemeiner. I’m perhaps most proud of the paper’s commitment to publishing diverse and opposing viewpoints on the controversial issues of the day. We pride ourselves on voicing different opinions because we know that most issues are not black and white, and because our community is better served by a public debate. In my life outside of the paper, I am a professional actor and playwright. And similarly, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    In ‘America in Retreat,’ a Real-Life Risk Board

    JNS.org – “Risk: The Game of Strategic Conquest,” the classic Parker Brothers board game, requires imperial ambitions. Players imagine empires and are pitted against each other, vying for world domination. Amid this fictional world war, beginners learn fast that no matter the superiority of their army, every advance is a gamble determined by a roll of the dice. After a defeat, a player must retreat. Weighted reinforcement cards provide the only opportunity to reverse a player’s fortunes and resume the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.