News You Really Need To See: “Who Is Jonathan Pollard, and Why Is His Spy Case Inflammatory?”

“Who Is Jonathan Pollard, and Why Is His Spy Case Inflammatory?”

The Christian Science Monitor, April 1, 2014

“The United States is talking with Israel about releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard to the Israeli government as an incentive to keep troubled Middle East peace negotiations going, according to the Associated Press and other US and Israeli media reports.  Wow, really?  That would be huge, a big geopolitical move that would please many in Israel, meet with the approval of pro-Israeli lawmakers in the US Congress, and infuriate a US defense and intelligence community, already angered by the revelations of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. … Jonathan Pollard was a Jewish American who from an early age was determined to aid Israel, according to a CIA damage report drafted in 1987 and declassified in recent years.  He did well as an undergraduate at Stanford University but at times frightened classmates by claiming to be a Mossad agent, waving a pistol in the air, and screaming that everyone was out to get him.  ‘Pollard’s fantasies regarding involvement with clandestine US and Israeli intelligence operations continued during his employment with US naval intelligence from 1979 to 1985,’ reads the CIA report, which is heavily redacted for security reasons.  … US intelligence officials are incredulous that this deal may be in the works.  They have long described Pollard as a troubled individual who was motivated by money more than ideology and who tried to peddle secrets to at least three other countries. … He reportedly offered material to South Africa, Argentina, and Taiwan, and was in touch with officials in Pakistan.  Then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger testified in court that the US national security community suspects that much of what Pollard stole ended up with the Soviet Union, through the USSR’s own network of spies and moles.”

Quickie analysis:  Pollard volunteered to give classified US military information to Israel and is serving a life sentence for that choice.  When he was arrested in 1985, Israel disavowed him.  In 1995, Israel gave him Israeli citizenship.  However, it seems he was less choosy than is generally understood about who he was willing to play spy for.

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