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The Jonathan Pollard Spy Case: Plot Thickens

Free-Jonathan-Pollard-Poster

Deciding who is a spy and who isn’t—and who is a good spy or a bad one—is highly subjective. For the longest time, anyone from your side caught behind enemy lines either was just doing his or her job, or, we were told, was innocent of the charges. We see that phenomenon every time the US media reports—usually with transparent relief, even joy—that Americans accused of spying in foreign countries have been sent home and reunited with their families.

The whole business of what constitutes spying has become far murkier with the rise of the post-9/11 security state. There have been numerous examples of Americans, like the  soldier Bradley Manning, the CIA officer John Kiriakou, and the NSA analyst Thomas Drake, accused of traitorous behavior for acts that others might consider patriotic in the best sense. The most recent example is Barrett Brown, facing a potential hundred years in prison under the Espionage Act for posting links to documents that reveal troubling information to his fellow Americans about their own country.

But perhaps no spy case in recent decades has more sharply divided opinion than that of Jonathan Pollard, the American accused of spying on the US for Israel. Pollard is described in the subtitle of one book as “one of the most notorious spies in American history” and by others as no actual threat to the United States at all. Pollard was given a life sentence in 1987, and has thus far spent a quarter century behind bars. To some, the whole thing seemed a little strange, given the close relationship between the United States and Israel. How seriously could friends damage each other by “spying” on one another?

Now, new evidence raises doubts about whether the public was told the truth about Pollard, and the reasons he was prosecuted and given such a draconian prison term.

***

The Jonathan Pollard spy case was a huge international incident back in 1985, when the US Naval Investigative Service analyst was arrested and charged with spying for Israel. He clearly was no angel—among other things, he had taken the initiative of offering Israel his services, and accepting compensation for them. His primary motivation was seen as ideological, though, not financial.

Those who believed that allies could not exactly spy on allies, or thought that Israel always had the ability to get its way with the American establishment— were astonished by Pollard’s life prison sentence. His supporters argued at the time—and have argued since—that he was not harming the United States, and that his sentence was cruel and excessive. Many continue to carry the torch for him.

Now, documents that the CIA has been fighting to withhold for years, released to relatively little public notice in recent months, show that Pollard’s advocates may have been right. The documents were obtained and released by the nonprofit, private, National Security Archive. A federal panel agreed with the Archive that the CIA had no basis for continuing to withhold its 1987 Damage Assessment.

The whole idea behind Pollard’s conviction and life sentence was that he was harming the United States by spying on it for Israel. But one recently-released CIA document, a “damage assessment” of the case from 1987, suggests that the crux of what he was collecting for Israel was not about the United States at all.

The CIA document shows that Pollard’s Israeli handlers were particularly keen on getting information that they believed vital to Israel’s defense, including material on Egyptian missile programs, Syrian unmanned planes, and Soviet air defenses. They were especially interested in what Soviet advisers were talking to their Syrian clients about.

The new revelations are important because they cast a more nuanced light on a hot-button issue—and give credence to the notion that even allies constantly seek to obtain information from each other that they believe essential to their own security—regardless of how they obtain it.

The United States, naturally, never offers to discuss its constant spying on its allies, including for example, eavesdropping on them. During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the US spied on its allies with the help of Britain. In another instance, according to a former US military communications intercept officer, it spied on Britain itself—or rather on its then-leader, Tony Blair.

How was all this treated? Here’s ABC News’s site on the latter impropriety:

Collecting information on foreign leaders is a legal and common practice of intelligence agencies around the world but under a long-standing agreement, the U.S. and Britain have pledged “not to collect on each other,” according to several former U.S. intelligence officials.

The NSA works extremely closely and shares data with its British counterpart, the GCHQ, Government Communications Headquarters.

“If it is true that we maintained a file on Blair, it would represent a huge breach of the agreement we have with the Brits,” said one former CIA official.

***

A website dedicated to Pollard’s cause has asserted that Pollard was in no way harming US interests, and that, in fact, Israel was entitled, based on a 1983 memorandum of understanding, to the information—which was deliberately and wrongly withheld by factions in the US establishment hostile to Israel. (Contrary to popular sentiment, there have long been substantial elements in the government less than enthusiastic about Israel, starting with the State Department’s famous and long-running “Arabist” orientation, and continuing through the Bush family’s close ties to the Saudi royals.)

What was the real reason for the decision to prosecute Pollard, and to seek such draconian punishment? All sorts of explanations have been proffered, including a supposed concern that Israeli intelligence had been penetrated by other foreign powers. One can only guess at the agendas in play.

M.E. Spike Bowman, a former counterintelligence official who was a top legal adviser to the Navy at the time of Pollard’s arrest and has continuously opposed Pollard’s release, told WhoWhatWhy that it all came down to one memo:  “He wasn’t particularly aggressively prosecuted and the sentence was purely that of the judge after reading the classified affidavit that explained just what Pollard had compromised.”

That affidavit was submitted by Caspar Weinberger, Defense Secretary for the Reagan-Bush administration. Weinberger is remembered in part for his role in the tangled Iran-Contra scandal, and served for years as a top official with Bechtel, the engineering firm that virtually built modern Saudi Arabia. Presumably, Weinberger would have known of the CIA damage assessment, raising additional questions about why Pollard’s sentence went unchallenged. But it is interesting to note that the Iran-Contra scandal—which involved US-Israeli cooperation in the secret and illegal supply of weapons to bolster a faction in Iran—was exploding in the media at the same time that the media also zeroed in on Pollard and his illegal work for Israel “against” the United States. Was Weinberger’s “indignation” at Pollard and Israel in furtherance of cynical ends? Weinberger is deceased, so we cannot ask him.

***

As of now, most Americans have only heard the original story of Pollard’s infamy. But the new developments in the Pollard affair are likely to gain greater media attention when President Obama makes a planned visit to Israel later in March. Less certain to generate public discussion is the crucial question of what citizens are told about such matters, which are covered sensationally but superficially in the media, with a government-biased slant that often obscures the truth altogether.

It was only because President Clinton established the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel in 1995 that the privately financed and operated National Archive was able to secure the eventual release of the Pollard damage assessment. As recently as 2006, the CIA asserted that 147 pages of the report would have to be totally redacted —- which left not a single line of text.

Many organizations have argued for years that government agencies, particularly those associated with the vaguely defined term “national security,” employ over-broad classification procedures to hide material that ought to be released. (For another egregious example – in which the Obama Administration continues to block the release of long-held documents pertaining to the assassination of John F. Kennedy — see this WhoWhatWhy article.)

We’ve clearly entered a time when the term “national security” should no longer be accepted at face value. As the Internet mantra insists, “information wants to be free.” – and the lifeblood of democracy is open access to information that citizens need to carry out the obligations of citizenship. Draconian sentences based on secretive proceedings, whether imposed on the Israeli sympathizer Pollard or brandished at the low-level Jihadists languishing uncharged at Guantanamo, deserve our scrutiny. This is not about taking sides or choosing ideologies. It is about constancy and fairness.

 

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GRAPHIC: http://www.yjstudios.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Free-Jonathan-Pollard-Poster.jpg


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  • http://www.911Blogger.com/ Orangutan.

    Fox News Report: Israel Spying on the US Before 9/11 – Part 1 of 4

    Dancing Israelis on 9/11

    • Russ

      Listen–have you nothing new or original to say? You post the same kinds of things again and again, but they’re really old hat–and add nothing thoughtful. You have no idea what it means that some art students reacted the way they did–and in any case, none of that has anything directly to do with this article. We are getting complaints from the “silent majority”, the bulk of our readers who grow weary of a small number of ideologues doing the broken record act. Please respect this site and its audience. If you have a thoughtful, substantive point directly related to the content of the post, please make it. But don’t campaign endlessly.

      • http://www.911Blogger.com/ Orangutan.

        Sorry.. I wasn’t trying to campaign. I remembered that Carl Cameron piece from Fox News when I was reading through your article, so I thought I would link to it. Then I remembered the news out right after 9/11 about some mysterious Israelis being caught by the FBI and released. So in the spirit of investigative journalism I decided to compile the resources here for others and yourself to see. My main objective is an informed society, so that we can avoid some of these pitfalls in the future. We live in the information age and we might as well spread it and inform our compatriots as much as needed to restore some justice and rule of law in this country. That’s what I was thinking.

        • Russ

          Our readership is quite intelligent by and large, but too often the comments lower the standard. I’m afraid that these kinds of posted links, ad nauseum, just dont offer much insight. Thousands read these articles, and most don’t feel any need to reflexively say the same things over and over, ignoring the actual content of the work we produce. . If this kind of thing continues, we will do what most sites do–bring on a comments editor and start blocking the repetitious stuff from the same small circle.

        • http://twitter.com/mad_hiddy ΩMephistophelesΩ

          Israel owns and controls America. Everyone should know this by now. Whoever owns Israel, whatever family, or families, are so powerful that they own practically half the world. I read a book about one particular family that used to pin countries against one another, and funded both sides. So whatever side won, they still gained. Throughout their reign (which exists today), they have caused the worlds most devastating events in the Earths history. Starting wars, sometimes never ending them. Profiting off of other people’s death and despair. They are the very same people who control the world today. They’re into the occult, and all sorts of strange stuff. At the end of the book (which was written in 2002), it says that they will eventually “infiltrate Libya, Syria, North Korea and China”. This stuff is very real, and I think our governments are going to give us a wake up call.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1278300472 Edward Rynearson

          The “international banking cartels” which control the petro dollar founded Israel

        • Russ

          These kind of crude generalizations add nothing constructive and are not appreciated. Either say something thoughtful about what you read in the article or don’t post here. Thanks.

    • http://charlesfrith.blogspot.com/ Charles Frith

      Thanks for this information. I found it useful because the claim that the Mossad agents were students is clearly naive and assumes Mossad carry business cards to convey who they really work for. It’s clear the dancing Israeli story is concrete though it’s by no means the tastiest evidence pointing towards Mossad invovlement in 9/11. There’s a ton of that.

      As an addendum it also seems from the research I’ve done that Pollard was nailed to the wall by Weinberger to distract from Iran Contra because we know Israel was selling Iran weapons in the good old days when all three parties were duplicitous. These days Iran has largely tidied up its act and the corrupt Israeli and US Governments are the least trustworthy and permanently warmongering.

      • Russ

        You’re about as transparently phony a blowhard as has washed up on these shores in some time. First you attack this artlcle, with a bizarre and utterly unsupported claim that you have some kind of expertise in Naval affairs, and that you “can assure” from “reliable sources” that Mossad had penetrated the Navy. Now you claim that your “research” shows that Weinberger went after Pollard to distract from Iran Contra–ignoring that this is what the article itself says. I’ve got to suggest you move on to some other site. We just have to have some kind of limits on nuttiness and trolls.

        • http://charlesfrith.blogspot.com/ Charles Frith

          Regrettably you are exhibiting classic signs of denial Russ and I sense inner rage too.. You may wish to portray me as phony but that is not the case. Cui Bono is as old as the hills.

    • Unibrow Chic

      Israel gave more warnings, of a more specific nature, about the 9/11 attacks than any of the other 12 countries that also gave us advanced warnings. One of the dirty little secrets about 9/11 is how it threatened to surface Washington’s long and sordid relationship with organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the House of Saud, and other terrorist outfits. Many of these organizations were operating right out of Herndon, VA.

      Not until John Loftus took Sami al-Arian to court was the Justice Department forced to pull the trigger on Operation Green Quest, which finally put the heat on these organizations, many of which were known sponsors of terror activities targeting Israelis, as well as others.

      Loftus did impeccable work using phone records to document direct links between specific operatives in the US, ordering specific attacks in Israel. Oddly, when he handed his evidence over to the DOJ, each and every person he’d been monitoring switched their phone service. Pure coincidence, I’m sure.

      I’m not at all surprised Israel would be the most aggressive of our allies in terms of espionage. Considering we, their ‘friend’, had been funding and covering for outfits that threatened their existence for decades, I’m not sure what else you’d expect them to do. Perhaps the ‘dancing’ was an expression of the fact that now Americans would understand the threat they live with daily. Tasteless? Maybe. I can’t relate. Evidence of their involvement in a conspiracy, or 9/11 itself? Positively not.

      There is evidence pointing to Saudi Arabia. There is literally none pointing to Israel – no one rational iota. It is among the very least credible of all hypotheses, and I’m no kind of Israel apologist. I just want the facts. This theory is driven by irrationality, entirely.

  • larry payne

    Russ,
    I have been vacillating back and forth as to whether you are a trustworthy source of information. Noting your comment to Orangutang, I have to lower your rating again.
    I have not seen you do any articles on the events he lists.
    You have done articles that implicate Saudis in the 9/11 attacks, however. I don’t see any motive that would benefit the Saudis.

    I’m getting the same old feeling that you are here to protect Israel.

    • Russ

      Larry, there’s a whole Internet out there for you to patrol. Time to move on and slay bigger dragons. You and I already dealt with this issue before–and I invited you to go to what you will surely consider greener pastures for your preconceptions and narrow agenda. We’re looking for people who can read an article and see what it actually says.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1278300472 Edward Rynearson

      The Saudis are proxies for the “international banking cartels”

      • Russ

        Stop with the bumper sticker jargon. You seem to have nothing thoughtful to add regarding the content.

    • http://charlesfrith.blogspot.com/ Charles Frith

      Me too. I’m a big fan of Russ’s Family of Secret’s work but if he’s unable to analyse and process new information that is critical of Israel then the obvious and most profitable career change is a PR position in the Knesset post rationalizing Likud bombing Gaza with F-16 jets securing a 50 child body count on their last adventure.

  • http://charlesfrith.blogspot.com/ Charles Frith

    I’m an Office of Naval Intelligence watcher and I can assure you they run a much tighter ship than the other alphabet soups. However what interests me most is how their office in the Pentagon was deliberately targeted to be taken out on 9/11 by what many reliable sources claim is a Mossad directed faction. Now some blogs wont accept that claim and some do. But that is how the information stands and it can be researched quite extensively for or against the readers satisfaction. I have my own view and there’s no need to air it here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1278300472 Edward Rynearson

      Simply “who, what and why”

    • Russ

      “many reliable sources claim..” Idiotic. That kind of rubbish was banned in journalism school–you’d be bounced right out. Please don’t make wild claims here that you have absolutely no evidence of at all. Our readers tell us, again and again, that they absolutely hate the recklessness of some commenters. (btw, it’s ok for the “silent majority” who ARE thoughtful to post comments too)

      • http://charlesfrith.blogspot.com/ Charles Frith

        As a journalist Russ, I thought you were trained to ask questions? That’s quite a chewing off.. “Calling me a liar, bouncing me right out, wild claims, no evidence and rubbish” why don’t you challenge me to lay out the evidence of Mossad/Likud involvement (one of many interested groups) in 9/11?

        However if your opinion is fixed for eternity and rejects new information I fully accept any information I provide will be wasted.

        I look forward to you grilling me as intensely as you please. Maybe I’ll learn something.

        • Russ

          You don’t have any real information, you’re just blowing smoke. It’s clear from the language you use. Please identify the “reliable sources,” explain what it is that makes them so reliable, and indicate what you mean by “many.” You also try and make it sound like you have some kind of inside knowledge of ONI. What is it? In what ways does your being a self-described “watcher” of ONI make you able to lay out wild scenarios with certitude? Would you, say, bet me a large sum of money on any of your claims? I doubt it. The proof, my friend, is in the pudding, and the internet is full of blowhards who know in their heart of hearts that they are just shooting wildly in the dark.

        • http://charlesfrith.blogspot.com/ Charles Frith

          OK I’ll bet you 9 thousand and eleven dollars.

        • CecilMills

          Oooohhh… I await Russ’ retort with baited breath.

        • http://www.eyestir.com/ Bill Owen

          Hi Russ
          You are asking him to make his case in a post. I suppose he could do that, so could I, but as he said, there is a LOT of evidence out there. The case is complicated of course.

          I do fail to understand why someone asserting that 911 was a black op by elements of the US government probably in collaboration with elements in Israel collaborated – to either let it happen, perhaps even actively helping – or worse doing it themselves to advance their agenda, is met with such hostility.

          Who killed Kennedy?

          They completely made up a story to allow them to attack Iraq and thousands of Americans died, not to mention at least 100k Iraqis. People like Cheney, who is clearly a sociopath – are capable of anything.

          History is replete with real conspiracies. Do I have to list them for you?

          No, the problem is not that the evidence is not presented to you personally, in a post, the problem is that you probably haven’t looked at it with an open mind. The other problem is that most Americans have this weird idea that their President and his men are somehow some kind of superiour human beings, who fly far above us morally and intellectually. And when faced with real evidence that 911 was a false flag operation, they reject it whole cloth as to accept it they would have to discard their entire world view.

          America is well on it’s way to becoming a police state, run by and for the ultra rich. That did not happen by “accident”. Do you really think that all these repressive measures, the spying, the security, are there to stop a few Arabs? Is militant Islam such a threat that that needed to be done? America faced down Nazi Germany without resorting to VIPR stops on the interstate.

          I believe America landed on the moon, Obama was born in Hawaii. I am not a nut. I have devoted thousands of hours to studying this question. 911 was an inside job.

        • http://www.facebook.com/rbethany1 Roxanne Bethany

          The proof.of the pudding is in the eating.

  • hidflect

    “…the crux of what he was collecting for Israel was not about the United States at all.”

    So what? It would still damage America. You’re not in a position to judge. And what would you do? Signal to all bad actors it’s OK to spy on the US so long as you can convolutedly justify it? Bah! Back to your hasbara paymasters.

  • KerryOK

    As a neighbor and former teacher of Jonathan Pollard, I followed his case closely and sometimes “first hand” during the first decade. I can attest that Pollard, and to a certain extent his wife Ann, were subjected to the same psychological-distress treatment that Manning went through in the early days of his imprisonment (padded cell, isolation, no sleep, constant noise and light…). I was present when Ann phoned Pollard’s parents to tell of her humiliation at having to undergo gynecological exams in prison with her security detail present in the room. Pollard never denied his guilt in transmitting information to Israel but he always claimed, rightfully as it turn out, that the information dealt with third countries. Nevertheless, he was persecuted – I think that’s the right word – by Weinberger & Co., not just as a distraction from the Iran-Contra Affair but also because the CIA had not been able to explain leakage in Russia, which was eventually attributed, in the mid 1990s, to another government spy. Casper Weinberger himself even said after that that there was no reason to keep Pollard in prison any longer. Pollard was eligible for parole after 22 years; he has been denied both parole and a presidential pardon, several times. THAT is vindictiveness. People do not understand under the Constitutional definition, that Pollard was accused of “spying” and not “treason”. He has long since overpaid his debt to the USA. Further incarceration is just going to expose the ugly underbelly of our democracy for scrutiny and self-inflict image damage. If Pollard stays another year in prison he should be awarded substantial monetary compensation for breach of justice. President Obama should pardon Pollard to keep injustice from festering another minute in this case.

  • Mel Gliss

    In the United States, the WHOs are held closer than the WHATs or the WHYs.

    We routinely demand that documents be released, but we fail to demand that previously redacted names be un-redacted. Once we learn the names (the WHOs), it will be surely much easier to piece together the WHATs and WHYs.

    For instance, imagine what we could learn by having George H.W. Bush’s name un-redacted from key (and not so key) CIA documents from the early sixties. We’d presumably be able to piece his activities together from one document to another by tracking his associations and business interests. We’d certainly end up with a much more comprehensive perspective on the operations in Cuba and maybe even the JFK assassination.

    More than likely, Jonathan Pollard learned the names of some of the intelligence players. That would explain Caspar Weinberger’s uncommon concern. Weinberger himself was an Army Intelligence man from the MacArthur days.

    • Russ

      Wouldn’t that be fascinating!

    • http://charlesfrith.blogspot.com/ Charles Frith

      Excellent excellent suggestion. I’m going to share share this.

    • sgtdoom

      Mr. (assumption on my part) Gliss makes some most cogent and valuable points!

      Just as we now know that Cleveland Amory’s brother as a deputy director at the CIA, and Joseph Alsop’s cousin was Kermit Roosevelt of the CIA, and from the former CIA director’s comment regarding how many faux newsies were on the CIA’s (and DoD’s) payroll, we slowly glean the true reality of their Matrix of illusion.

  • Pingback: Did Jonathan Pollard ever spy on the United States? If not, why is he still in prison? :: News From Underground

  • The Puppetburglar

    Khaaan! Khaaaaan!!

  • http://twitter.com/and_then_sum Andrea Summers

    “This is not about taking sides or choosing ideologies. It is about constancy and fairness.”
    No, actually. It’s about selling critical information about America’s Nuclear arsenal to a foreign state, who then sold it to the U.S.S.R. in return.
    Pollard was punished for treason. Full stop.

    • Russ

      I think you’re mixing Pollard up with someone else–John Anthony Walker. Neither Pollard nor Israel supplied the Soviets with intelligence. (Love these comments, folks!)

  • JOE

    Now, documents that the CIA has been fighting to withhold for years, released to relatively little public notice in recent months, show that Pollard’s advocates may have been right. The documents were obtained and released by the
    nonprofit, private, National Security Archive. A federal panel agreed with the Archive that the CIA had no basis for continuing to withhold its 1987 Damage Assessment.

    The whole idea behind Pollard’s conviction and life sentence was that he was harming the United States by spying on it for Israel. But one recently-released CIA document, a “damage assessment” of the case from 1987, suggests that the crux of what he was collecting for Israel was not about the United States at all.

    The CIA document shows that Pollard’s Israeli handlers were
    particularly keen on getting information that they believed vital to
    Israel’s defense, including material on Egyptian missile programs,
    Syrian unmanned planes, and Soviet air defenses. They were especially interested in what Soviet advisers were talking to their Syrian clients about.

    The new revelations are important because they cast a more nuanced light on a hot-button issue — and give credence to the notion that evenallies constantly seek to obtain information from each other that they believe essential to their own security — regardless of how they obtain it.

  • MO

    Atty. John J. Loftus
    4488 Elkcam Blvd SE
    St. Petersburg, FL 33705

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

    I am a former federal prosecutor with Q/Cosmic/code word clearances. I have personally visited Jonathan Pollard in prison several times and am intimately familiar with his case, including the classified issues. I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that he is truly remorseful for what he has done, and deserves to be pardoned, or in the alternative, to have his sentence commuted to time served.
    No comparable prisoner in American history has received a sentence of this magnitude. Quite frankly, Pollard was a handy receptacle for shifting blame from the intelligence community. As I discovered, Pollard could not possible have leaked our Soviet Humint assets as he lacked the necessary blue stripe security clearance to even gain access to their identities.
    Finally, the first damage assessment on Pollard showed that our national security suffered minimal, if any, damage from Pollard’s disclosure to Israel. The second damage assessment, prepared with the assistance of Soviet spy Aldridge Ames, intentionally sought to shift blame towards Pollard and away from Ames. The “blame Pollard” mantra did substantial damage to our national security as it allowed Ames and his co-spy at the FBI to continue funneling our secrets to the Soviets for several more years.
    It is not necessary to assign blame to one agency or another for the Pollard sentencing debacle. It is necessary and just to do the right thing.
    Sincerely,
    John J. Loftus

    Formerly GS-13 Supervisory Trial Attorney
    Office of Special Investigations, Criminal Division
    Headquarters, US Department of Justice, Washington DC

  • jo

    Atty. John J. Loftus
    4488 Elkcam Blvd SE
    St. Petersburg, FL 33705
    Dear President Obama,
    I am a former federal prosecutor with Q/Cosmic/code word clearances. I have personally visited Jonathan Pollard in prison several times and am intimately familiar with his case, including the classified issues. I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that he is truly remorseful for what he has done, and deserves to be pardoned, or in the alternative, to have his sentence commuted to time served.
    No comparable prisoner in American history has received a sentence of this magnitude. Quite frankly, Pollard was a handy receptacle for shifting blame from the intelligence community. As I discovered, Pollard could not possible have leaked our Soviet Humint assets as he lacked the necessary blue stripe security clearance to even gain access to their identities.
    Finally, the first damage assessment on Pollard showed that our national security suffered minimal, if any, damage from Pollard’s disclosure to Israel. The second damage assessment, prepared with the assistance of Soviet spy Aldridge Ames, intentionally sought to shift blame towards Pollard and away from Ames. The “blame Pollard” mantra did substantial damage to our national security as it allowed Ames and his co-spy at the FBI to continue funneling our secrets to the Soviets for several more years.
    It is not necessary to assign blame to one agency or another for the Pollard sentencing debacle. It is necessary and just to do the right thing.
    Sincerely,
    John J. Loftus
    Formerly GS-13 Supervisory Trial Attorney
    Office of Special Investigations, Criminal Division
    Headquarters, US Department of Justice, Washington DC

    • eric82

      cool story, bro

  • eric82

    It doesn’t matter if he was harmful, neutral or helpful to US interests in the short term. Pollard was a technician, not a policymaker. It is not possible to operate a cohesive foreign policy if every clerk, accountant and line officer has cabinet level authority to decide which foreign states to release what to, when.

    I suppose some people might find this interesting as a minor historical footnote. *shrug* It probably doesn’t merit more than a sentence or two in some future book on the Pollard affair.

    • Russ

      That’s clearly NOT the point of the article. It is about the government’s false representation of the actual damage done, and the incredibly long jail sentence. Focus, people.

      • eric82

        In the conclusion of the article the author writes, “Many organizations have argued for years that government agencies,
        particularly those associated with the vaguely defined term “national
        security,” employ over-broad classification procedures to hide material
        that ought to be released.”
        The case of Thomas Drake is also used as a direct point of juxtaposition in the framing paragraph of the article.

        Unless the author is unable to clearly express himself in written form, these two facts leave only one option as to the author’s intent: to present Pollard’s espionage as a case of libertine disclosure.

        The name of Thomas Drake cannot be simply dropped into the article as flavor and then unacknowledged. It is there for a purpose. To frame the story as a civil rights issue when it is not. Persons reporting on real-world events do not have the luxury of defining the narrative in the way a writer of fiction does. So what the author hopes and dreams the point of the article will be is utterly irrelevant.

        Unlike, a whistleblower, Pollard did not “release” the documents. He never gave them over to the Times or CBS News or the Ladies’ Home Journal. He denied them to the public. He gave them to a foreign government which continued to maintain their secrecy. He inserted himself, of his own volition and initiative, into the foreign policymaking process when he had no elected authority to chart the foreign policy of the United States. The damage was in that act alone, even if the documents contained nothing more than pencil sketches of Tip O’Neil naked.

        His life sentence is deserved.

        Thomas Drake is a hero. Jonathan Pollard is a spy.

        • Russ

          The point of referencing Drake, and it seems clear to everyone but you, is that the government is quite active these days in using the espionage act against a variety of individuals, none of whom fit the classic portrait of enemy spies, and that in many cases, inquiry finds that there’s more to each story. There’s no other equivalency….Also, for whatever reason, you choose to ignore the heart of the current matter: the CIA’s own long-suppressed admission that the case was never about what we were told it was about.

          Nobody is saying that Pollard did the right thing, or that he should not have been jailed. But, given the recent revelations as described above, the imposition of such a long sentence does seem highly questionable. Particulars actually do matter.

        • eric82

          “and it seems clear to everyone but you”

          Clearly we’re not reading the same comments section.

          I appreciate you’ve become very upset that the reaction to this short summary of the files GWU obtained a few months ago produced a less-dramatic reaction than may have been hoped. I don’t think that is cause to continue biting snipes. There is room for civil dialog. Don’t you agree? I’m sure you do.

          “the CIA’s own long-suppressed admission that the case was never about what we were told it was about”

          In the public portion of Weinberger’s brief to the court he was surgically clear the issue was about a technician making unilateral changes to US foreign policy. This was an unambiguous characterization of the nature of Pollard’s crime. I understand some of those in the general public may have a more coarse understanding of the nuances of language. No one expects a reporter to be an expert on all topics; only to seek expert counsel to help decipher those items outside his area of knowledge or life experience.

      • http://www.williamsstudiogallery.com William C Crain

        i agree that is precisly what this article is about. nothing more than advocacy ~ lets Free Vanunu first.

  • tony bonn

    the treatment of pollard is the same knee-jerk archie bunker horse crap which was used in the rosenberg witch hunt….when you see the negligee flimsy evidence used in that case, you see the same nazis against pollard who were against the rosenbergs.
    national security is nazi speak for totalitarianism

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  • Dave Fryett

    I challenge Russ’ assertion, made several times, that the sentence was “draconian.” By what standard? Compared to whom? Has anyone accused of divulging state secrets ever received a lesser sentence than this? It seems to me that all those who have reached Pollard’s security level and betrayed it have gone away for good. Hanson certainly did.

    Moreover, at the time, true or not, it was said that the information passed to the Israelis resulted in the exposure of moles working for the West in the USSR. If that is the case, then, at least from the security apparatus’ point of view, the punishment is not excessive.

    If Pollard is innocent, or if his fecklessness didn’t undermine the US’ espionage efforts, then perhaps the sentence is too long. However, Russ’ article doesn’t come anywhere near establishing either of those things, there’s just a vague allusion to the possible cynical motives of interested parties.

    I must say that this piece reads more like advocacy than journalism.

  • jo

    THE FOLLOWING IS A LETTER FROM JOHN LOFTUS

    Atty. John J. Loftus
    4488 Elkcam Blvd SE
    St. Petersburg, FL 33705

    Dear President Obama,

    I am a former federal prosecutor with Q/Cosmic/code word clearances. I have personally visited Jonathan Pollard in prison several times and am intimately familiar with his case, including the classified issues. I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that he is truly remorseful for what he has done, and deserves to be pardoned, or in the alternative, to have his sentence commuted to time served.

    No comparable prisoner in American history has received a sentence of this magnitude. Quite frankly, Pollard was a handy receptacle for shifting blame from the intelligence community. As I discovered, Pollard could not possible have leaked our Soviet Humint assets as he lacked the necessary blue stripe security clearance to even gain access to their identities.

    Finally, the first damage assessment on Pollard showed that our national security suffered minimal, if any, damage from Pollard’s disclosure to Israel. The second damage assessment, prepared with the assistance of Soviet spy Aldridge Ames, intentionally sought to shift blame towards Pollard and away from Ames. The “blame Pollard” mantra did substantial damage to our national security as it allowed Ames and his co-spy at the FBI to continue funneling our secrets to the Soviets for several more years.

    It is not necessary to assign blame to one agency or another for the Pollard sentencing debacle. It is necessary and just to do the right thing.

    Sincerely,

    John J. Loftus
    Formerly GS-13 Supervisory Trial Attorney
    Office of Special Investigations, Criminal Division
    Headquarters, US Department of Justice, Washington DC

  • http://www.eyestir.com/ Bill Owen

    Hi Russ

    Just wanted to add that this is my first visit to your site and you are obviously doing some very fine work. We disagree on some very important details, but I am impressed. Thanks!

  • Pingback: | Cold War Truth: Pollard and Israel gave Soviets nuclear first strike Intel! | | truthaholics

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.braverman.5 Richard Braverman

    Russ,

    In the first paragraph of the linked NSA article, Mr. Richelson states that Pollard’s Israeli handlers asked primarily for nuclear, military and technical information on the Arab states, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union.

    In his book Every Spy a Prince, Dan Raviv included one sentence that hinted at a long standing relationship between Israel and Pakistan on the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons.

    Fast forward fifteen years later and Sibel Edmonds talks of a Nuclear marketplace were weapons and technology are up for sale to the highest bidder.

    Each reference connects Pakistan to Israel and Israel to Pakistan.

    Did both parties work together to advance their individual atomic dreams? From your experience is there any evidence to support this story.

  • Superabound

    Jonathan Pollard should be executed