Skip to comments.Jonathan Pollard
Posted on 09/02/2003 7:26:35 PM PDT by lsilver5
Shocking Revelations in Pollard Case Michael Stein - HaModia - June 13, 2003
A conversation with Eliot Lauer, Esq., Jonathan Pollards lead lawyer, confirms that new developments may benefit his client. Summary and analysis follow.
The case for the release of Jonathan Pollard has taken on a new twist with the recent publication of an article by noted author and former Justice Department attorney, John Loftus, in which he claims that Pollards severe punishment can be attributed to heretofore unknown information, and for which he was deliberately framed.
In a comprehensive article that was published in Moment Magazine, Mr. Loftus contends that the real reason for Pollards severe punishment was due to the widely-accepted assumption within intelligence circles that Pollard was inadvertently responsible for the capture and murder of all American spies in the former Soviet Union over the period of a year. This presumably happened because Pollard leaked this information to the Israelis, whose intelligence apparatus was compromised by the presence of a Russian mole. This mole allegedly passed on the information to the Russians, who then proceeded to rid themselves of all American spies.
However, in his article, Loftus asserts that in reality the Russians received their information directly from their agents planted within the FBI and CIA. These double agents, blue-blooded Americans so called WASPs had no qualms in betraying their colleagues to the Russians in exchange for huge sums of money.
Loftus identifies these traitors as Aldrich Ames and Robert Philip Hanssen, who were apprehended years after the Pollard case. Pollard was actually framed by the Russians, maintains Loftus, with help from Ames and Hanssen, in an attempt to safeguard and deflect attention from the Soviet moles that had penetrated the American security services. The revelations and new evidence, which Loftus avers are based on reliable intelligence sources, have exposed a gaping hole in the case against Jonathan Pollard. Where there seemed to be certainty that Pollard had committed terrible crimes against the U.S., there now seem to be more questions than answers.
The argument that Pollard is not guilty of what he was accused comes as no surprise to those who have dealt with the case recently, Rabbi Pesach Lerner told Hamodia. Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel, and one of the leaders in the fight for the release of Pollard, actually visited Pollard in prison as recently as this past Monday, June 2, 2002, in Butner, North Carolina.
For the past three years Pollards lawyers have put together a serious case, and have proven that there have been many miscarriages of justice in his case, says Rabbi Lerner. The legal case has gone very far, and they have a serious case to present, but the government is fighting not to allow the case to be heard. The feeling is that if a court would hear the case, the judge would be forced to vacate the sentence and free Jonathan. We believe that if the courts will hear the case, Jonathan would be out in a very short time.
Pollards Attorneys View
Hamodia contacted the lead attorney for Jonathan Pollard, Eliot Lauer, who, together with his partner, Jacques Semmelman, of the law firm of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, has been aggressively seeking justice for Pollard and working diligently to gain his release.
Mr. Lauer sees the new information as a positive development that reflects well on his client and ties in nicely with what he has been saying for the past few years. Obviously I am encouraged every time someone takes a serious interest in the injustice that was done to Pollard, Mr. Lauer told Hamodia. I certainly agree with the theme of the Loftus article, but I do not have personal access to his sources, so I cannot comment on the details.
Lauer and Semmelman were retained in May of 2000 by Jonathan Pollard. After reviewing the public file, they contacted the Department of Justice and requested permission to see the sealed file (which no one representing Pollard has seen since his sentencing on March 4, 1987).
I was told I had to go through a process to obtain security clearance, and I indeed obtained top-security clearance from the Department of Justice, says Lauer. The secret file with the evidence presented against Pollard is estimated to consist of 25-40 pages, according to people involved with the case. Most of it is portions of a 46-page declaration by then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger about the harm said to have been caused to the United States by Pollards actions.
Pollard himself wrote a comment on the Weinberger document, as did his defense attorney at the sentencing, Richard Hibey, and the government replied to Pollards comment. All of this is classified. During the sentencing hearing, the court had a conference that was not transcribed and was deemed classified, and that portion is also sealed and not available to the public.
We argued that the government should let us have access to the file, says Lauer. We argued that charges that were raised against Pollard, with the passage of time, could be positively proven not in fact to connect to Pollard. We argued that if we were shown the charges against Pollard we would be able to show that what was attributed to him was in fact not done by him.
At the time, in Fall, 2000, Lauer and Semmelman were actively involved with the process of getting then-President Clinton to commute Pollards sentence. We indeed argued that we needed to know what Pollard was charged with in order to lobby for his release. For example, the reporter Seymour Hirsch claimed that intelligence sources had disclosed to him that Pollard caused irreparable damage to the United States. We argued that we couldnt possibly defend him without knowing what he was charged with, but to no avail. The government did everything not to allow us access to the so-called secret file.
Access to the file doesnt mean getting a copy of it. It means being able to see the file in a special vault, in the Department of Justice, without being permitted to copy it or to remove it from the room. But at least Pollards lawyers would be able to see what he was charged with and know what they were dealing with.
The government took a two-pronged approach to prevent Pollards lawyers from seeing the file.
The government rejected our request, on the basis that I did not have the right [level of security] clearance, and that I could not demonstrate the need to know, says Lauer. (In order to gain access to material that is classified as secret, the appropriate level of security clearance is needed. In addition, there also has to be a proven need to know. The material that pertains to Pollard is classified as SCI - Sensitive Compartmentalized Information.)
Pollards lawyers filed suit in November, 2000, in the federal court in the District of Columbia and asked that the court order the government to give them access to the files. The case that Pollards lawyers, Lauer and Semmelman, have put together was so persuasive, that even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is a liberal organization, signed on the legal brief that was handed to the courts, says Rabbi Lerner. The ACLU submitted an amicus curiae friend of the court brief in support of Pollards lawyers getting access to the files.
The government argued that there was no proven need for them to see the material. As Lauer and Semmelman were attempting to get President Clinton to commute the sentence at the time, the government argued that the president could look at the material himself to decide if he wants to release Pollard. I argued that I need the information to be able to deal with the issue seriously and lobby for Pollard. The judge, Norma Holloway Johnson, denied our motion on Jan. 12, 2001, says Lauer.
The judge accepted the governments arguments. She ruled that Pollards lawyers couldnt access the files because they didnt have the appropriate security clearance to view these top-secret documents, and that they did not have a need to know the classified information.
Pollards lawyers went back to the judge and asked her to at least let them view the information that is not top secret. There are 85 redactions in the file (material that was erased throughout the files sometimes entire pages), but some are more sensitive than others. We asked to be allowed to see the material that is not classified as SCI, but a lesser classification, says Lauer.
The judge turned them down again and denied them access even to the material that was classified as lesser than SCI on August 3, 2001, on the grounds that there was no proven need, and that they didnt have the security clearance to view classified documents.
However, in an interesting turn of events, on the very same day, August 3, 2001, a letter arrived from the Department of Justice stating that Pollards lawyers clearance can apply to all classified material, including the top secret SCI classified material.
When asked if the government attorneys lied when they argued that Pollards lawyers didnt have the security clearance, Lauer responded simply: The government lawyers clearly misrepresented the facts.
Current Status: Stonewalled
Congressman Anthony Weiner (Democrat Queens, N.Y.) has been very involved in the Pollard issue, and has written many letters on his behalf. It usually takes a year until Weiner gets a proper response, complains Lauer. Despite that, Weiner has still not given up.
In one of his letters, Weiner wrote to Attorney General John Ashcroft asking whether anyone had access to the secret file. In April, 2002, a response arrived from the Department of Justice, stating that during an eight-year period the file was accessed 25 times. Whether 25 different individuals saw the file during that period once or the same person or people saw it 25 times, the fact remains that the file was accessed.
It is hard to imagine how someone else could have a need to see the files more than Pollards lawyers, wonders Lauer. If the government is prepared to let anyone that is opposed to leniency for Pollard view the files, why not allow us, too?
Currently, Judge Hogan is assigned to the case, and Pollards lawyers have asked that the original denial of access be overturned because it was based on the governments untrue argument that they lacked the proper security clearance.
In December, 2002, another motion was filed, requesting a status conference. We demanded that the government answer to the judge about the misrepresentation that was made to the court arguing that I dont have security clearance, says Lauer. Was it done purposefully and knowingly or was it an honest mistake? That motion is still pending.
Understanding the Scope of the Charges
In his article, Loftus quotes from American intelligence sources that accuse Pollard of providing the Israelis with information about American spies in Russia. Loftus claims that is the reason for the governments anger at Pollard. But Lauer doesnt agree.
I do not believe that is the case, says Lauer. Pollard was never even charged with disclosing agents. He was only charged with a conspiracy to commit espionage, but not even with an intent to harm the U.S.
Official records confirm that Pollard was never publicly accused of disclosing American agents. Rather, Weinberger charged Pollard with undermining American foreign policy in the Middle East by providing Israel with information about Arab troop movements or aerial maps of Iraqi chemical weapons facilities.
Weinberger felt that Pollards actions caused embarrassment to the United States, which was then nurturing and promoting a pro-Saddam stance. In the aftermath of the Iranian hostage crisis, the Americans were interested in supporting a secular, relatively moderate government in neighboring Iraq, and Pollard allegedly undermined that course. Contrary to the widespread belief that Pollard provided Israel with the information that led to the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Iraq, Lauer claims that Pollards spying began only after the bombing.
It was common knowledge that the French were building a nuclear reactor for the Iraqis. Pollard came in after that, says Lauer.
According to Lauer, the sequence of events was as follows: After Israel bombed Iraqs reactor in 1981, then-President Reagan joined the chorus of worldwide condemnation of Israel. But the attempts of the United States to soothe Iraq and perhaps other moderate Arab nations extended beyond words. As punishment for this action, the United States withheld crucial satellite information from Israel, information Israel was supposed to receive under the terms of previous agreements.
Pollard worked at Naval Intelligence at the time, and was said to have provided information that was crucial for Israel, including the surveillance techniques used by the Sixth Fleet. The information is believed to have led to the Israeli bombing of the PLO headquarters in Tunisia in 1985.
As far as the public docket reveals, the information that Pollard provided to Israel was not sensitive in the U.S.-Russian context. He did not disclose information that was detrimental to U.S. safety. It was information about Arabs, such as Arab troop movements much of which the United States had promised to provide to Israel in accordance with previous agreements.
What Pollard did is a crime that deserves to be punished, but its a qualitatively different crime than treason, or intending to harm the United States and it doesnt deserve the same punishment, says Lauer.
The penalty for this could be life imprisonment, Lauer noted. But it is different than espionage to harm and its far and distant from a conspiracy to commit treason. The spy Walker, for example, gave the Russians war-winning capability; [his information would have] enabled them to better strike at the United States. If you look at the government submissions against Pollard, you wont see anywhere the claim that Pollard gave the names of agents.
Lauer says that the arguments that Loftus presents are encouraging for him and are very much in line with what he and his partner have been claiming for the past three years. He states that his information comes from good sources. If it is true, his article is astonishing and confirms the hypothesis which we are working on, that there are serious charges in the file that can now be proven to have no connection to Pollard, says Lauer. Even if he is only fifty percent right, it is so outrageous that the government has not allowed us to see the file until now.
We are talking about two lawyers, says Lauer. My partner, Jacques Semmelman, is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney. Both of us have serious and unblemished reputations, but they are not allowing us to see the information. They are fighting tooth and nail and doing everything possible to make sure that we dont see the file.
This article does not intend to glorify or even condone Jonathan Pollards crime. Anyone who works for an organization like the Navy undertakes to Consider only the interests of the United States. In the absence of the ability to keep these interests paramount, it is irresponsible to join such an organization. [*J4JP notes that Jonathan Pollard was aware that the US was blindsiding Israel, withholding vital information that Israel had a legal right to receive. He did everything he possibly could to have this information released to Israel through regular legal channels, taking his battle all the way up the chain of command as far as the Pentagon. And failed.]
If after joining the Navy, Pollard felt that he couldnt see how the U.S. was ignoring the needs of Israel, perhaps he should have resigned and tried fighting the situation from the outside. There are many ways to work on behalf of Israel, all of them fully legal and morally acceptable, like lobbying, petitioning, organizing grass roots support, pressuring politicians, etc. [*J4JP See note above. Jonathans fears for Israel were not about ignoring Israels needs but about the threat to her very existence posed by the build-up of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in neighboring Arab States for use against her - information which the U.S. was illegally embargoing from Israel.] But it is wholly unfair to criticize and second-guess someone else, which is always easier in hindsight. [J4JP: Exactly!]
Having said that, it is time to acknowledge that questioning the fairness of Pollards sentence is not contradictory to being a loyal U.S. citizen. Pollard is entitled to his day in court, and to a fair and honest hearing. It seems that Pollard was denied exactly that, and the government steamrolled him into a life sentence without due process. His sentence seems to have been based more on speculation and the fanning of rumors, led by Caspar Weinberger. Many Jewish officials were also reticent, presumably fearful that they would also be accused of not being loyal to the United States.
Which brings us to the fundamental question: what is Pollard really charged with? Did his crime justify lifetime imprisonment?
There seems to be reason enough to believe that the damage he caused is not as serious as it was claimed to be, and therefore his sentence is unduly harsh. Leaving a man to rot away in jail without justification is un-American, and fighting for him is the true American way.
Approximately twenty years have passed. In the interim, the world has changed. Communism collapsed, the once-formidable Soviet Union disintegrated, the Cold War is over, even Iraq is no more .
There is no doubt that the landscape has changed tremendously since then and a lot of material that was classified at the time can be unclassified by now. If all the files and incriminating evidence cannot be released, at least the material that could be released should be shown, and his lawyers should have access to it.
In fact, Congressman Anthony Weiner also wrote a letter asking that the exact classification of each document be provided and when it will be declassified, but we have been stonewalled, Lauer told Hamodia.
It is quite natural to assume that a lot of the material that was previously classified has become obsolete and irrelevant in terms of its worth to the intelligence community. It also seems reasonable for upstanding American citizens to demand an end to the continued withholding of evidence, in order to ensure that justice is finally attained.
J4JP Note If one compares this article, written in the U.S. for an American Jewish readership with an article like the BSheva Special Investigation by Ofra Lax, written in Israel for an Israeli audience, it is impossible not to be taken by the obviously worried undertone in this article about possible charges of dual loyalty. The fear of being accused of dual loyalty continues to be prevalent amongst American Jews. That American Jews are still so obviously fearful of calling a spade a spade and crying foul! nearly two decades later when the injustice of the Pollard case is so blatant that it screams to the Heavens, speaks volumes.
The Truth About Jonathan Pollard by John Loftus The US - IRAQ Complicity Page The Court Case Page BSheva Special Investigation - Part One B'sheva Interview: The G-d of Israel Will Free Jonathan BSheva Special Investigation - Part Two In the House of Slavery
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Considering the way that Wen Ho Lee and other Chinese were treated when it could no longer be denied that they were stealing nuclear secrets, Pollard actually has a pretty good case for getting his sentence reduced.
And Pollard is the poster boy for it.
He spied for Israel against the country he was sworn to protect. What's so hard to understand? U.S. foreign policy was trying to play nice with Saddam at that time, and Israel didn't like it. American spies in Russia were killed, and is Pollard sure he wasn't responsible? Does he even care? If they had been Israeli spies in the Soviet Union, Pollard would have definitely cared. That's the differance.
Absolutely not. Should have got the chair.
Surely the stonewalling has to do with facesaving and covering the asses of those whose job it was to prevent spies in the FBI and CIA.
Loftus has written that the intelligence Pollard had access to was, as the extant article states, information Israel was entitled to by existing agreements.
The serial betrayal of Israeli security to serve the Arab/oil interests is the theme of John Loftus and Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against The Jews, St. Martin's Griffin, 1994.
In Pollard's position, he would not have had the ability to jeopardize agents in the Soviet Union; such a charge serves to placate the Arab/oil interests.
How could CIA and FBI allow the likes of Ames and Hanssen to continue their spying for so many years?
Obviously there are more Communists in government than the New York Times is willing to admit.
Had Pollard merely emptied his revolver in the direction of President Reagan he would be allowed supervised furloughs to the mall.
James Woolsey, DCI from 1993-1995 encountered the same stonewalling over confidential files used against his clients.
Reno was infamous for sealing files under grand jury rules which permitted the likes of Wen Ho Lee to spy for China with impunity (see Notra Trulock [FReeper ntrulock], Code Name Kindred Spirit.
Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to free Pollard, but traitorrapist42 was looking for cash and sex, hence Marc Rich went free on a $400 million misunderstanding with the IRS, having been the Soviet Union's bag man for years.
John Loftus - Moment Magazine - June 2003 When American intelligence broke the Soviet wartime code, we learned that the Soviets had infiltrated the American government. The American intelligence communitys penchant for secrecy and its refusal to admit that it had been infiltrated was so great that it failed to disclose this to President Harry S. Truman. This is how Daniel Patrick Moynihan described it:
"The Soviets knew we knew they knew we knew. The only one who didnt know was the President of the United States. Our politics was injured for 30 years by this. Quoted in the New York Times, March 30, 2002
There is a good reason why neither Congress nor the American Jewish leadership supports the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison: They all were told a liea humongous Washington whopper of a lie. The lie was first whispered in the "bubble," the secret intelligence briefing room on Capitol Hill, but it quickly spread.
Just before Pollards sentencing, Senator Chic Hecht of Nevada, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, telephoned the leaders of every major Jewish organization to warn them not to support Pollard in any way. Pollard had done something so horrible that it could never be made public. Several senior intelligence sources confirmed the message: No matter how harsh the sentence, Jewish leaders had to keep their mouths shut; dont make a martyr out of Jonathan Pollard.
Washington insiders thought they knew the big, dark secret. David Luchins, an aide to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, announced to reporters that he had seen "secret documents confirming that Pollards spying had resulted in the loss of lives of U.S. intelligence agents." Luchins later recanted his statement, but not until the damage had already been done.
Pollard had supposedly given Israel a list of every American spy inside the Soviet Union. On several occasions Soviet agents in New York had posed as Israelis. The CIA reasoned that that was also true in Israel: The Mossad had been infiltrated by one or more Soviet spies. In the trade this is called a "false flag" operation: Your enemy poses as your ally and steals your secrets. In this case, the CIA reasoned in attempting to explain its horrendous losses, Pollard had passed the information to Israel he had stolen, which in turn fell victim to the "false flag" operation. Soviet agents in Israel, posing as Israeli intelligence agents, passed the information to Moscow, which then wiped out American human assets in the Soviet Union.
Pollard hadnt meant for this to happen, but the result of the "false flag" mistake was mass murder. In a matter of months, every spy we had in Russiamore than 40 agentshad been captured or killed. At least that was the accusation, but the basis for it had been kept secret from Pollard and his defense counsel.
The public could not be told the horrifying truth: American intelligence had gone blind behind the Iron Curtainwe had lost all our networks, as the intelligence community publicly admitted more than a decade later. The Soviets could have attacked the United States without warning. Everyone who knew at the time (including me) blamed Pollard.
On March 5, 1987, at 2:22 p.m., the sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., began in Criminal Case No. 86-207, United States of America v. Jonathan Jay Pollard. The prosecutors produced a secret letter and memo from Secretary of Defense Caspar "Cap" Weinberger referring to the "enormous" harm that Pollard had done to our national security. In his memo, Weinberger directly accused Pollard of betraying Americas "sources and methods," which is to say, he had betrayed our spies in foreign countries.
Weinberger publicly stated that Pollard was the worst spy in American history: "It is difficult for me, even in the so-called year of the spy, to conceive of a greater harm to national security than that caused by the defendant." Despite his plea agreement to the contrary with the government, Pollard was given the maximum sentence, life in prison. Weinberger later said that he wished Pollard had been shot.
A week after the sentencing, the Washington Times reported that the United States had identified Shabtai Kalmanovich as the Soviet spy in Israel who supposedly worked for the Mossad but was actually working for the KGB; he had betrayed American secrets to Moscow. Kalmanovich had been flying under a false flag. Washington insiders winked knowingly at one another: Pollards contact in Israel had been caught.
Just to make sure that Pollard was blamed, U.S. intelligence sources, several months later, leaked word to the press of the Kalmanovich connection. "A Russian mole has infiltrated the Mossad and is transmitting highly sensitive American intelligence information to the Russians," was the report flashed around the world by United Press International on Dec. 14, 1987.
Citing "American intelligence sources," the UPI announced that the "sensitive intelligence material relayed to Israel by Jonathan Pollard had reached the KGB."
But it was all untrue. Every bit of it. Pollard wasnt the serial killer. The Jew didnt do it. It was one of their own WASPsAldrich Ames, a drunken senior CIA official who sold the names of Americas agents to the Russians for cash. Pollard was framed for Amess crime, while Ames kept on drinking and spying for the Soviets for several more years. In fact, Israeli intelligence later suspected that Ames played a direct role in framing Pollard. But no one in America then knew the truth.
Ames was arrested in February 1994, and confessed to selling out American agents in the Soviet Union, but not all of them. It was only logical to assume that Pollard had betrayed the rest of them, as one former CIA official admitted shortly after Amess arrest. Even one life lost was too many. So Pollard continued to rot in jail. No one dreamed that yet another high-level Washington insider had sold us out to Soviet intelligence. Years passed, and eventually a Russian defector told the truth. A senior FBI officialSpecial Agent Robert Hanssenhad betrayed the rest of our agents. Hanssen was arrested in February 2001, and soon confessed in order to avoid the death penalty. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Would the Americans now admit that they had been conned into blaming Pollard? Beltway bureaucrats do not readily admit to mistakes of this magnitude. Instead, they convinced themselves that Pollard might still be at least partly to blame for the worst debacle in U.S. intelligence history. One desperate analyst from the National Security Council, looking for something to pin on Pollard, had his own theory. Maybe the Russians didnt initially believe that their own spies (Ames and Hanssen) had procured all the names of U.S. agents in the Soviet Union. Maybe Pollards list tipped the scales.
Such things had happened before. Once again, Washington insiders circled their alphabet agencies to fire back at the critics who dared to suggest that Pollard might have been innocent of the major charge against him.
Meanwhile, deep inside the Navys intelligence service, a low-level decision was made to re-examine the Pollard case in view of the convictions of Ames and Hanssen. With sickening chagrin, the Navy discovered that the evidence needed to clear Pollard had been under its nose all along.
As my source in Naval intelligence explained, the list of our secret agents inside Russia had been kept in a special safe in a special room with a special "blue stripe" clearance needed for access. When I was a lawyer in the Justice Department and would be sent over to the CIA to do research, I was permitted to use only a blue-striped, CIA-issue legal pad for note-taking. Nothing with a blue stripe could leave the building without being scrutinized by CIA security.
But Jonathan Pollard didnt have "blue stripe" clearance, according to intelligence sources I spoke with. That was the bombshell that would clear him of any possible connection to the deaths of our Russian agents.
Just to make sure, I checked it out, even visiting Pollard in prison to confirm it. Sure enough, there is no way on earth Jonathan Pollard could have entered the file room, let alone the safe where the list was kept.
But the intelligence communitys failure to catch this and thereby discredit a critical piece of prosecutorial evidence was, to put it mildly, a bit of an oversight. Some would say it was an obscene blunder. I regard it as an understandable mistake that was overlooked in the avalanche of phony evidence the KGB was planting that pointed to Pollard and away from Ames and Hanssen, whom the Soviets wanted to protect. Both of them had "blue stripe" clearance, as was well documented in several books that have been written on each man and his exploits.
The lack of "blue stripe" clearance was the final proof that Pollard could not possibly have betrayed our Russian agents. It should certainly have gotten him a new hearing. As a former federal prosecutor, I can state that it would be hard to rebut this kind of evidence.
The Justice Department, in one of its briefs, had specifically mentioned the "false flag" theory as grounds to support Pollards heavy sentence, arguing in part, that spying even for friendly countries can be damaging if information ultimately falls into the wrong hands. In this, the Justice Department had unwittingly misled the judge. Weinberger also raised the "false flag" issue in his top-secret memorandum to the judge.
The only possible way to uphold the sentence might be the "harmless error" doctrine. The government could admit that Pollard had never stolen the Russian agent list, but so what? Maybe he had passed other information that was equally damaging, so he would still deserve to remain in prison for the rest of his life.
The problem with the "harmless error" strategy is that the rest of the material that Pollard gave the Israelis was itself pretty harmless.
In fact, the original damage assessment from the intelligence community confirmed that the impact on our national securityof the release of information other than the agent nameswas not serious. This assessment came after Pollards initial grand jury appearance, but before the Soviets began to frame Pollard with the phony Kalmanovich connection. No less a figure than Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Leeper had characterized damage caused by the release of the information that Pollard actually gave Israel as "minimal."
The reason America suffered so little harm is simple: Pollard was stealing Soviet secrets for Israel, not American secrets for the Soviets. Before the fall of communism, the Soviets were shipping guns to nearly every terrorist group in the Middle East. Pollard knew that U.S. intelligence had been ordered to share this information with Israelunder an executive order signed by President Reaganbut had not done so.
In fact, as Pollard himself admitted in one of my three prison interviews, many, if not most, of the documents he handed over were cover sheets showing the titles of files that the U.S. was supposed to share with Israel, but were holding back. (The U.S government, according to Israeli intelligence sources, mistakenly counted the cover sheets as if they were full files and came up with the mythical "room full of stolen documents," instead of the small boxfulls or so that Pollard actually passed.) In the long run, though, the issue is not how many boxes Pollard passed, but whether anything he gave Israel did harm to America.
After the governments "false flag" theory was blown up by the "blue stripe" discovery, the anti-Pollard members of the intelligence community had to come up with a new PR campaign for damage control. In order to justify Pollards life sentence, they had to show that he did do some potentially catastrophic damage to America. What they came up with was a bit of a stretch. Pollard had given Israel a set of radio frequency guidebooks, a worldwide listing of short-wave radio bands. It takes a lot of time and money to compile one of these guides, but essentially they are just publicly available information, openly deduced by listening to who is talking to whom on which radio bands.
Seymour Hersh is a famous reporter and long-time friend. (I was his secret source in his 1983 book The Price of PowerKissinger in Nixons White House (Summit Books). But Sy had his leg pulled on Pollard by his CIA sources, as a result of which Sy published a story in the New Yorker in January 1999 claiming that these radio guides were just about the crown jewels of U.S. intelligence. The truth is that certain portions of the guide had already been sold to the Soviets by the Walker spy ring, according to courtroom testimony, which also revealed that the Soviets thought so little of the guides value that they did not even bother to ask their top spies, Ames and Hanssen, to steal the remainder of the set. Moreover, as previously noted, the governments own damage assessment report originally concluded that the loss of the guides was a minor matter.
So much for the crown jewels. If that is the best spin the intelligence community can come up with, Pollard is probably entitled to immediate release for time served. The truth is that without the "false flag" theory, and the accompanying "worst spy in history" hysteria, Pollard would probably have been served no more than five years in prison. He has already served 18 years.
After 9/11, though, I began to realize that Pollards tale was only the beginning of a much bigger story about a major America intelligence scandal, which is the subject of a book I am now working on. Although Jonathan Pollard did not realize it, he had stumbled across the darkest secret in the Reagan administrations closet. It is one of the reasons that I am serving as the intelligence advisor on a trillion-dollar federal lawsuit filed in August 2002 against the Saudis on behalf of the victims of 9/11.
Pollard in fact did steal something that the U.S. government never wishes to talk about. Several friends inside military intelligence have told me that Pollard gave the Israelis a roster that listed the identities of all the Saudi and other Arab intelligence agents we knew about as of 1984. (This has been corroborated by Israeli sources, as well.) At that time, this list, known in intelligence circles as the "blue book," would have been relatively unimportant to the United Statesbut not to Israel.
Since 9/11, however, Pollards "blue book" is of profound interest to everyone, including the U.S. These particular agents are now a major embarrassment to the Saudis and to the handful of American spy chiefs who had employed these Saudi intelligence agents on the sly. Some of the names on this listsuch as Osama Bin Ladenturned out to be leaders of terrorist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and what we now call Al Qaeda.
In hindsight, we now know that Pollard stole the one bookthat, incidentally, was alluded to in Weinbergers secret memorandumthat unquestionably proves that the Americans knew as early as 1984 about the connection between the Saudis and terrorist groups.
How does this all fit together? During the Reagan-Bush administrations, the National Security Council wanted to throw the Soviets out of Afghanistan using Arab soldiers instead of American. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but no one thought about the long-term consequences. In imitation of the Soviet strategy of hiring terrorists, we asked the Saudis to recruit a proxy army of Islamic terrorists whom we would supply with guns and pay indirectly, according to intelligence sources. By having the Saudis hire the "freedom fighters," we could avoid embarrassing questions in Congress about giving the taxpayers money to known Arab terrorists.
In 1982, I went on "60 Minutes" to expose Nazi war criminals I had been assigned to prosecute who were then working for the CIA. It was one of those Cold War blunders. The CIA didnt have a clue it was dealing with Nazi war criminals. It thought they were "freedom fighters." In 1985, I ended up testifying before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee about Nazis on the intelligence payroll.
Sadly, the only lesson the intelligence bosses learned was to put the bad guys on someone elses payroll (the Saudis for one), and then reimburse them under the table. Because of my whistle-blowing during the early 1980s, the CIA was still pretty sensitive about hiring Nazi "freedom fighters" without background checks, so they were mostly kept out of the loop about the Arab terrorists hired clandestinely by the Saudis to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
The Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989. The naive Americans walked away from the Frankenstein monster they had created, but the cynical Saudis kept the terrorists on the payroll. From the Saudi perspective, it was safer to keep paying the terrorists groups to attack Israel, Bosnia or Chechnya rather than letting them all back into Saudi Arabia. As one U.S. intelligence bureaucrat cynically confided to me, "Sure we knew that the Saudis were giving money to terrorist groups, but they were only killing Jews, they werent killing Americans."
In this "Keystone Cops" affair, one wing of U.S. intelligence was hunting terrorists while another winked at the Saudis recruitment of them. I have spoken to numerous FBI and CIA counter-terrorist agents, all of whom tell a similar story. Whenever the FBI or CIA came close to uncovering the Saudi terrorist connection, their investigations were mysteriously terminated. In hindsight, I can only conclude that some of our own Washington bureaucrats have been protecting the Al Qaeda leadership and their oil-rich Saudi backers from investigation for more than a decade.
I am not the only one to reach this conclusion. In his autobiography, Oliver North confirmed that every time he wanted to do something about terrorism, Weinberger stopped him because it might upset the Saudis and jeopardize the flow of oil to the U.S. John ONeill, a former FBI agent and our nations top Al Qaeda expert, stated in a 2001 book written by Jean Charles Brisard, a noted French intelligence analyst, that everything we wanted to know about terrorism could be found in Saudi Arabia.
ONeill warned the Beltway bosses repeatedly that if the Saudis were to continue funding Al Qaeda, it would end up costing American lives, according to several intelligence sources. As long as the oil kept flowing, they just shrugged. Outraged by the Saudi cover-up, ONeill quit the FBI and became the new chief of security at the World Trade Center. In a bitter irony, the man who could have exposed his bosses continuous cover-up of the Saudi-Al Qaeda link was himself killed by Al Qaeda on 9/11.
Congress has been told repeatedly that American intelligence never knew the identities of the Arabs who threw the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Inadvertently, Pollard stole the ultimate smoking gun that shows exactly what the leaders of our intelligence community knew and when they knew it. The "blue book" Pollard stole flatly establishes that all the dots were connected many years before 9/11, and the only thing the intelligence chiefs did competently was cover up the fact that we had long known about the Saudi-terrorist link.
In the ultimate irony, Pollard may have to be let out of prison to testify before Congress about the negligence of his own superiors. Like ONeill, Pollard had tried to warn his superiors that a wave of terrorism was coming out of the Middle East, but no one would listen. Pollard himself told me this. Pollard has admittedto me and in writing to President Clintonthat he was wrong and stupid in passing the information to Israel on his own, but in the long run he may have committed the most unpardonable sin of all: He was right and the bureaucrats were wrong.
Pollard never thought he was betraying his country. And he never did, although he clearly violated its laws. He just wanted to help protect Israelis and Americans from terrorists. Now in prison for nearly two decades, Pollard, who is in his late 40s, grows more ill year by year. If, as seems likely, American bureaucrats choose to fight a prolonged delaying action over a new hearing, Pollard will probably die in prison. There are people in power inside the Beltway who have been playing for time. Time for them ran out on 9/11. Sooner or later, they are going to be held accountable. I hope that Pollard lives to see it.
John Loftus of St. Petersburg, is a former Justice Department Attorney and co-author with Mark Aarons of The Secret War Against the Jews published by St. Martin's Press.
Frequent reference has been made to the 1981 Israeli air strike on the Iraqi reactor--that this prevented Saddam's nuclear deterrent to Gulf War I.
Yet at the time and later during Pollard's acquisition of the intelligence on Arab order of battle promised to Israel, precedence was given to the now deposed Hussein.
Pollard's actions killed nobody, and his further imprisonment serves no cause.
Yet the so-called Road Map is the fantasy du jour, rose-colored glasses making the panorama of dead Israeli children merely "obstacles to peace".
It's a war on terror, and Israel is our ally; denial is no virtue and acceptance is no vice.
Except Pollard didnt start spying for the Israelis until several years after the Israeli air strike. Fry Pollard and then release him.
I am for Pollard being released.
I stipulate he did not cause the death of anybody; that he was after the intel on Arab order of battle due Israel per agreements.
The subtitle of Robert Baer's new book is how America sold its soul for Saudi crude--the corollary being, how America betrayed Israel to Arab oil interests.
Of course Baer has only 24 years CIA case officer experience--what does he know?
Want that book after his See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War On Terrorism.
Also, Richard Miniter, Losing bin Laden: How Bill Clinton's Failures Unleashed Global Terror.
And of course the Trulock book on Wen Ho Lee. When the FBI raided Lee's house up the hill here it was thought to be "a group of men on their way to a sports event who were lost". The only thing of significance they found after three hours' search was their own flashlight lost in the first twenty minutes.
U.S. counterintelligence in all its breathtaking ineptness.
That statement, if true, is absolutely irrelevant. But it most likely is NOT true.
Ames and Hanssen may have given names, and some data that might or might not confirm with certainty. Pollard gave a great deal of data that would confirm that those names were indeed the actual names of spies and not an American disinformation scheme, because he dealt with a lot of "methods and sources" material.
One of Pollard's case officers in Tel Aviv was arrested for espionage on behalf of the USSR about three weeks after Pollard's arrest. If Pollard saw it, then the case officer saw it. If the case officer saw it, then it went to Moscow.