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June 21, 2016 12:28 pm

US Intelligence Community Leaders Petition Against Easing of Convicted Spy Jonathan Pollard’s Parole Conditions

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Jonathan and Esther Pollard, following the convicted spy's release from prison. Photo: Justice for Jonathan Pollard.

Jonathan and Esther Pollard, following the convicted spy’s release from prison. Photo: Justice for Jonathan Pollard.

Leaders of the US intelligence community have petitioned against easing the parole conditions of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, on the grounds that doing so would breach national security, the Daily Beast reported on Tuesday.

Petitioners claimed that though Pollard — a former US intelligence analyst who shared classified secrets with Israel — was imprisoned for more than 30 years, he still holds top-secret information that, if divulged, could harm American interests.

Since his release from federal prison last year, Pollard has been living in New York City under very strict parole conditions. He has petitioned the US Parole Commission to stop the monitoring of his and any potential employer’s computer — something that caused a job offer as a research analyst to be rescinded — and to remove the GPS monitoring ankle bracelet, which he claims is causing him to have health problems and to violate the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. 

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According to a declaration against Pollard filed on Friday by Jennifer L. Hudson, a senior official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI):

Intelligence Community (IC) elements have confirmed that certain information believed to have been compromised by Mr. Pollard remains currently and properly classified at the Top Secret and Secret levels. As such, any unauthorized disclosure of this information could risk harm to our national security, as it could enable terrorist organizations, foreign intelligence services, and other hostile groups to discern and thwart the use of particular sources and methods to collect such information…to our detriment…Some of the sources and methods used to develop some of intelligence exposed by Mr. Pollard not only remain classified but are still in use by the Intelligence Community today.

Hudson is not the only intelligence official to come out against easing Pollard’s parole. In February, invoking national security, DNI Director James Clapper issued his own warning to the US Parole Commission, writing:

Mr. Pollard was convicted to conspiring to deliver national defense information to a foreign government…IC elements have confirmed that certain information compromised by Mr. Pollard remains currently and properly classified at the Top Secret and Secret levels…the unauthorized disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security…

The IC believe then, and still believes, that the imposition of special conditions would be an appropriate means to mitigate concerns of future unauthorized disclosures of classified information by Mr. Pollard.

In response to Clapper’s claims, Pollard’s lawyers wrote a letter to the US Parole Commission, which stated, “Even assuming some information is still ‘classified’ as a practical matter, it is extremely unlikely that Mr. Pollard remembers, or could possibly remember, the details of 30-year old information to an extent that it could be of any value to anyone.”

The lawyers argued that current parole conditions would feasibly not prevent Pollard from disclosing sensitive information, “even though he has no such information and has not intention of jeopardizing his freedom.”

“There simply is no relationship between the underlying offense and the need to monitor Mr. Pollard’s whereabouts, where the commission’s supposed concern is a conversation that could theoretically occur anywhere,” they wrote. “Mr. Pollard’s ability to disclose supposedly confidential information could occur at any time of day. And the monitoring of Mr. Pollard’s computer use would not prevent him from disclosing the classified information in person, over the phone, or via regular mail.”

According to a former US intelligence official familiar with Pollard’s case who spoke with the Daily Beast, while there is “no doubt” that Pollard probably knows information that is still pertinent to US national security, a different, unspoken motivation is driving the intelligence community in relation to Pollard’s parole conditions. 

“They want to f**k with him,” the former official said.

In 1987 — despite entering into a plea agreement with the US government and pleading guilty to one count of providing defense information to a foreign government — Pollard was handed down the maximum punishment and sentenced to life imprisonment. Prominent US officials — such as former CIA director James Woolsey and former US secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger — called for Pollard’s unusually harsh sentence to be commuted. On November 20, 2015, following a 30-year prison term — and what some suspect was the Obama administration’s attempt to placate Israel over the Iran nuclear deal — Pollard was released.

Aside from having his computer activity and physical movement monitored, Pollard has a strict curfew and is forbidden from leaving the US for five years. This restriction is reportedly aimed at preventing him from going to Israel, where he granted citizenship by the Knesset during his incarceration.

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  • Bill

    Antisemitism of the highest order. Snowden has a higher clearance than Mr. Pollard, yet the president has already given him a blanket pardon.

    Are you seeing a pattern here?

  • Harold Rosenthal

    The individuals protesting vacating the harsh requirements of parole, were not in members of the Intelligence community when Pollard was sentence 30 years ago. It is unlikely they know what secrets existed that time. To claim 30 year old intelligence has not been superseded in all those years is an indictment of the capabilities of our Intelligence operations and their employees.

    To demand an employer’s computers be observed is to find that employer guilty of potential espionage without indictment nor trial.

    Reaching gossamer justification for continuing to harass Pollard who already served a longer prison sentence than anyone else convicted of his crime, smells. If not antisemitism, why else do they “want to f**k with him?”

    • Andrew Harrison

      I’m not Jewish but the sentence did seem pretty harsh, especially since it was an ally that he gave it to. As for the sensitive information, Hillary Clinton should be on the same list since she let Top Secret information be retrieved from her ‘private server’. Why isn’t she up on espionage charges? Hang in guys… maybe America will come to it’s senses and relations can go back to normal.

  • My comment is this…

    There was anti-semitism in the past.
    There is anti-semitism now.
    There will be anti-semitism in the future.

    Pollard deserved to be incarcerated, but for a far shorter period of time.
    He was incarcerated far longer than anyone ever has been for a similar offence.
    Continuing to monitor him and not allowing him to move to Israel is wrong.

    The reasons: See above concerning anti-semitism.

    Thank you.

  • Franklin Delano Paskutnik

    I smell anti-semitism here!

  • Holy Shirt

    22 comments? Really? Are they classified Top Secret?

  • Holy Shirt

    The greatest threat to the National Security of the United States is its Commander-in-Chief, who purged its senior supervisors and trainers since early 2009, replacing them with Holyland Foundation unindicted co-conspirators? Can U.S. forces succeed when the enemy knows every move?

  • The truest statement in this article was from the former U.S. Intelligence Agent: “THEY WANT TO F++K WITH HIM.” Having watched this case for 30 years, I have seen that play out over and over.

    Pollard never had a jury trial. Promised leniency if he would enter a plea agreement, he did – and then the government abrogated the deal. No jury trial meant NO EVIDENCE EVER HAD TO BE SUBMITTED OR PROVED.

    The lies continue; so does the cruel and unusual punishment.

  • Francois

    The US is still bothered by Mr. Pollard and they are still (messing) with him. But e-mail scandals and infiltration and compromise by the muslim brotherhood is ok.

    • Robyn

      Hillary in Jail, Pollard in Israel.

      • Robyn

        Hillary should be in jail for cheating Bernie and denying people the right to vote along with her friend Debbie.

  • John Train

    This is another despicable attempt to further punish Pollard.

    The Jewish community should realize that this insult is directed at them and that certain US authorities regard Jews as impotent

    The court should require that those who maintain that Pollard still has sensitive classified information testify under the penalty of perjury as to their personal knowledge of the specifics.

    Otherwise this filing is hearsay much of which originated with an agent of the Soviet Union when penetrated the CIA and much more had originated with anti- semitic elements within the intelligence community.

  • stevenl

    Here we go again with antisemitism.

  • Pearl

    Let’s be clear about one thing, although Jonathan Pollard may have deserved punishment, the punishment was way out of proportion to his crime. The Obama administration wants to release prisoners from gitmo that are know terrorists and murderers and Mr. Pollard is being held under such stringent condition smacks of one thing only. dare I say it? Or have you anticipated my claim that anti-Semitism is in full force in the halls of our government and judicial system. It saddens me that this once great country had fallen so low. But then Jews were never really welcomed here initially. It took the opening of the gates of hell for America to accept Jewish refugees.
    So Mr. Pollard will have to suffer because those who hate us are stronger than those who live us.

    • Robyn

      I hate Gitmo, I think many innocent people are there as well. I also think that Jonathan Pollard should be allowed to go to Israel. It’s wrong to force him to live in the United States when he just wants to go to Israel. The restrictions are unfair and the sentence was never just in the first place. 2-4 years is the normal sentence, not 45 years, not a life sentence. He agreed to a plea bargain and honored it. Then that liar Joseph DiGenova and his fellow conspirators broke it and gave Pollard a life sentence. Justice for Yonathan Pollard.

  • Arthur Safir

    Blatant anti-semitism masquerading as “national security.”

  • Brian Shapiro

    To suggest that Pollard is a threat to National security is
    the mind set of sadistic antisemites. They petition to keep a sick old man who got screwed from reuniting with his beloved homeland. These are the same government hacks who hid Nazis after WW2.
    It never changes. They are always out there. These were the people who persecuted Dreyfuss. It is infuriating to see a fellow Jew trapped by sadists. They will never let up until he is dead. They will have gained a despicable victory. They tortured and killed another Jew.

  • Joyce Elais

    What an absolute joke, Pollard a danger to US security ! I think that anything Pollard knew would already be known to those countries that are the real threat to the United State and that would not include Israel

  • meron levitats

    Rubbish. He served longer than many terrorists who physically harmed Americans and America, many of whom returned to terrorist acts after their release. Pollard broke the law and deserved to be punished, but he didn’t do it to harm America. Rather he was probably misguidedly trying to help a beleaguered U.S.ally, a valuable Middle East asset and miners’ canary for Americans. We don’t treat our enemies as badly.

  • Larry

    Whatbull. The DOJ and our Intelligence Community couldn’t stop a mass killing by a Muslim terrorist in Orlando. There worried about Pollard release from parole. Pollard has been in prison over 30 years If we haven’t changed our intelligence process then we are really in trouble.. The vendetta against Pollard is for 2 reasons, one he is Jewish and second it involve Israel. He should have been released 15 years ago. What a farce.

  • Leonard Feinman

    I doubt anybody knows what is in Jonathan Pollards head after all these years. And, any secrets he might have had were already known to any interested party. The only people kept in the dark about these issues are ordinary citizens, and governments have moved on to newer secrets.
    There was a push against Israel instituted by the American government. The punishment has to do with Israel not accepting a subservient role in determining their future. Chinese hackers have knowledge of government activities that Mr. Pollard never thought about yet.
    I suspect that there is still ire in intelligence circles over the USS Liberty being targeted. We know the story; In fact, we are aware of several of these stories, official and unofficial. Pollard is the punishment handed to him, Israel, and Jews in America. He is a warning to us, a reminder if you will. We are second class, and we must NEVER FORGET. We must be kept in our place.

  • Always thought Pollard was shafted. The anti-Semites in the State dept. and the Arabists were responsible for keeping him in prison longer that any other so called traitor in American history. Could it be because he was a Jew? I believe so. It is a shame that their are still haters out there who want to put the knife further in. Also many self-hating Jews
    made it clear that they supported his incarceration. Let him go, for God’s sake. He is not well and is getting up there in age.

  • Jeffrey Zucker

    It seems strange that tops secret information from 30 years ago would be any less meaningful 5 years from now. There is probably an alternate motive for these intelligence people to want to keep him imprisoned.

  • Linda

    Who in the government has it still in for Pollard? His sentence was ridiculously long compared to other captured spies. The Walkers were released. I suspect it is someone like Caspar Weingarten. Or his clique.

  • Dani

    This humillation is only because he is Jewish. Pollard has already payed and overpayed for his national ofense. This circus has nothing to do with security.

  • Jay Kabat

    Double standards again by the Obama administration. They let a Cuban spy go home to appease Castro, but Obama doesn’t want to give Netanyahu the same deal. This is vindictive.

  • brenrod

    the use of classified label is often to cover up the crimes of the gov officials.

  • Peter

    Give him the same conditions as Vanunu.

  • Steven Katz

    Unless and until someone informs the public about just what they fear he will reveal, this has EVERY appearance of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic behavior.

    It needs to be stopped, and I mean TODAY.

    This is about as biggest travesty of justic as I could possibly imagine.

  • Anon

    This traitor shouldn’t even be running around like a free man he should be in front of a firing squad

  • Esther Noodelman

    Thank Heaven that these brilliant officials aren’t dealing with REAL problems like Arab terrorism.The only true statement in the article is how a former official described why they are not releasing POLLARD- EVEN THOUGH HE WAS GIVEN A LIFE SENTENCE INSTEAD OF PLEA BARGAIN AGREEMENT OF 2 YEARS..”They want tof**k with him”. SHAME ON YOU,AMERICA!

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