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Supporters Jam Courtroom for Convicted Spy's Appearance
Associated Press ^
| September 3, 2003
Posted on 09/03/2003 1:55:54 PM PDT by Selmo
Edited on 04/22/2004 12:37:05 AM PDT by Jim Robinson.
WASHINGTON — For convicted spy Jonathan Pollard's first public appearance in 16 years, his father chose a back row seat.
Other supporters jammed the court's front rows, and some were turned away, as his lawyers tried Tuesday to help win Pollard an early release from his life sentence for selling military secrets to Israel.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: cokeaddict; execution; fatspy; hanghim; israelfirster; loser; neverrelease; traitor; willdieinjail
posted on 09/03/2003 1:55:55 PM PDT
Backing a traitor... YUCK. I wonder if these same scumbags are supporting Hansen as well.
Why are Pollard and his father estranged?
posted on 09/03/2003 2:01:02 PM PDT
(God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
Perhaps he's not too proud of his son's traitorous acts.
The Israeli government, which granted Pollard citizenship, repeatedly has pressed for his release.
So they can tell the next would-be traitor they recruit not to worry, the Israeli government will go to bat for them. For that reason alone, Pollard needs to rot in jail.
posted on 09/03/2003 2:08:00 PM PDT
(Genuine GOP Vigilante: Fair and Honest Elections - Or Else!)
Agree. He is an American citizen who sold out his country. He should have been executed.
To: Eric in the Ozarks
The Case Against Johnathon Pollard
In the last decade, Jonathan Pollard, the American Navy employee who spied for Israel in the mid-nineteen-eighties and is now serving a life sentence, has become a cause celebre in Israel and among Jewish groups in the United States. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a consortium of fifty-five groups, has publicly called for Pollard's release, arguing, in essence, that his crimes did not amount to high treason against the United States, because Israel was then and remains a close ally. Many of the leading religious organizations have also called for an end to Pollard's imprisonment, among them the Reform Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Orthodox Union.
Pollard himself, now forty-seven, has never denied that he turned over a great deal of classified material to the Israelis, but he maintains that his sole motive was to protect Israeli security. "From the start of this affair, I never intended or agreed to spy against the United States," he told United States District Court Judge Aubrey Robinson,Jr., in a memorandum submitted before his sentencing, in 1986. His goal, he said, was "to provide such information on the Arab powers and the Soviets that would permit the Israelis to avoid a repetition of the Yom Kippur War," in 1973, when an attack by Egypt and Syria took Israel by surprise. "At no time did I ever compromise the names of any U.S. agents operating overseas, nor did I ever reveal any U.S. ciphers, codes, encipherment devices, classified military technology, the disposition and orders of U.S. forces . . . or communications security procedures," Pollard added. "I never thought for a second that Israel's gain would necessarily result in America's loss. How could it?"
Pollard's defenders use the same arguments today. In a recent op-ed article in the Washington Post, the Harvard Law School professor Alan M. Dershowitz, who served as Pollard's lawyer in the early nineteen-nineties, and three co-authors called for President Clinton to correct what they depicted as "this longstanding miscarriage of justice" in the Pollard case. There was nothing in Pollard's indictment, they added, to suggest that he had "compromised the nation's intelligence-gathering capabilities" or "betrayed worldwide intelligence data."
In Israel, Pollard's release was initially championed by the right, but it has evolved into a mainstream political issue. Early in the Clinton Administration, Yitzhak Rabin, the late Israeli Prime Minister, personally urged the President on at least two occasions to grant clemency. Both times, Clinton reviewed the evidence against Pollard and decided not to take action. But last October, at a crucial moment in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations at the Wye River Conference Centers, in Maryland, he did tentatively agree to release Pollard, or so the Israeli government claimed. When the President's acquiescence became publicly known, the American intelligence community responded immediately, with unequivocal anger. According to the Times, George J. Tenet, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, warned the President that he would be forced to resign from the agency if Pollard were to be released. Clinton then told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Pollard's release would not be imminent, and ordered a formal review of the case.
The President's willingness to consider clemency for Pollard so upset the intelligence community that its leaders took an unusual step: they began to go public. In early December, four retired admirals who had served as director of Naval Intelligence circulated an article, eventually published in the Washington Post, in which they argued that Pollard's release would be "irresponsible" and a victory for what they depicted as a "clever public relations campaign." Since then, sensitive details about the secrets Pollard gave away have been made public by CBS and NBC.
In the course of my own interviews for this account, the officials who knew the most about Jonathan Pollard made it clear that they were talking because they no longer had confidence that President Clinton would do what they believed was the right thing -- keep Pollard locked up. Pollard, these officials told me, had done far more damage to American national security than was ever made known to the public; for example, he betrayed elements of four major American intelligence systems. In their eyes, there is no distinction between betraying secrets to an enemy, such as the Soviet Union, and betraying secrets to an ally.
Officials are loath to talk publicly about it, but spying on allies is a fact of life: the United States invests billions annually to monitor the communications of its friends. Many American embassies around the world contain a clandestine intercept facility that targets diplomatic communications. The goal is not only to know the military and diplomatic plans of our friends but also to learn what intelligence they may be receiving and with whom they share information. "If a friendly state has friends that we don't see as friends," one senior official explained, sensitive intelligence that it should not possess -- such as that supplied by Pollard -- "can spread to others." Many officials said they were convinced that information Pollard sold to the Israelis had ultimately wound up in the hands of the Soviet Union.
JONATHAN JAY POLLARD was born in 1954 and grew up as the youngest of three children in South Bend, Indiana; his father, Dr. Morris Pollard, was an award-winning microbiologist who taught at Notre Dame. The young boy did not fit in well in South Bend, and members of his family have described his years in public school there as hellish:
he made constant complaints of being picked on and, in high school, beaten up, because he was Jewish. One of the boy's happiest times, the family told journalists after his arrest, came when, at the age of sixteen, he attended a summer camp for gifted children in Israel. He talked then of serving in the Israeli Army, but instead he finished high school and went on to Stanford University. His Stanford classmates later recalled that he was full of stories about his ties to Israeli intelligence and the Israeli Army. He also was said to have been a heavy drug and alcohol user.
He graduated in 1976, and in the next three years he attended several graduate schools without getting a degree. He applied for a Job with the C.I.A. but was turned down when the agency concluded, after a lie-detector test and other investigations, that he was "a blabbermouth," as one official put it, and had misrepresented his drug use. Pollard then tried for a job with the Navy, and obtained a civilian position as a research analyst in the Field Operational Intelligence Office, in Suitland, Maryland. The job required high-level security clearances, and the Navy, which knew nothing about the C.I.A.'s assessment, eventually gave them to Pollard. His initial assignments dealt with the study of surface-ships systems in non-Communist countries, and, according to Pollard's superiors, his analytical work was excellent. While at Suitland, however, he repeatedly told colleagues far-fetched stories about ties he had with Mossad, the Israeli foreign-intelligence agency, and about his work as an operative in the Middle East.
Pollard's bragging and storytelling didn't prevent his immediate supervisors from recognizing his competence as an analyst. He was given many opportunities for promotion, but at least one of them he sabotaged. In the early nineteen-eighties, Lieutenant Commander David G. Muller, Jr., who ran an analytical section at Suitland, had an opening on his staff and summoned Pollard for an interview. "I had respect for him," Muller recalled recently. "He knew a lot about Navy hardware and a lot about the Middle East." An early-Monday-morning interview was set up. "Jay blew in the first thing Monday," Muller recounted. "He looked as if he hadn't slept or shaved. He proceeded to tell me that on Friday evening his then fiancee, Anne Henderson, had been kidnapped by I.R.A. operatives in Washington, and he'd spent the weekend chasing the kidnappers." Pollard said that he had managed to rescue his fiancee "only in the wee hours of Monday morning" -- just before his appointment. Of course, Pollard did not get the job, Muller said, but he still wishes that he had warned others. "I ought to have gone to the security people," Muller, who is retired, told me, "and said, 'Hey, this guy's a wacko.' "
A career American intelligence officer who has been actively involved for years in assessing the damage caused by Pollard told me that Pollard had been desperately broke during this period: "He had credit-card debts, loan debts, debts on rent, furniture, cars." He was also borrowing heavily from his colleagues, in part to forestall possible garnishment of his wages -- an action that could lead to loss of his top-secret clearances. Despite his chronic financial problems, the intelligence officer said, Pollard was constantly spending money on meals in expensive restaurants, on drugs, and on huge bar bills.
In late 1983, shortly after the terrorist bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut, the Navy set up a high-powered Anti-Terrorist Alert Center at Suitland, and in June, 1984, Pollard was assigned to that unit's Threat Analysis Division. He had access there to the most up-to-date intelligence in the American government. By that summer, however, he had been recruited by Israeli intelligence. He was arrested a year and a half later, in November of 1985.
Pollard was paid well by the Israelis: he received a salary that eventually reached twenty-five hundred dollars a month, and tens of thousands of dollars in cash disbursements for hotels, meals, and even jewelry. In his pre-sentencing statement to Judge Robinson, Pollard depicted the money as a benefit that was forced on him. "I did accept money for my services," he acknowledged, but only "as a reflection of how well I was doing my job." He went on to assert that he had later told his controller, Rafi Eitan, a longtime spy who at the time headed a scientific-intelligence unit in Israel, that "I not only intended to repay all the money I'd received but, also, was going to establish a chair at the Israeli General Staff's Intelligence Training Center outside Tel Aviv."
Charles S. Leeper, the assistant United States attorney who prosecuted Pollard, challenged his statement that money had not motivated him. In a publicly filed sentencing memorandum, Leeper said that Pollard was known to have received fifty thousand dollars in cash from his Israeli handlers and to have been told that thirty thousand more would be deposited annually in a foreign bank account. Pollard had made a commitment to spy for at least ten years, the memorandum alleged, and "stood to receive an additional five hundred and forty thousand dollars ($540,000) over the expected life of the conspiracy."
There was no such public specificity, however, when it came to the top-secret materials that Pollard had passed on to Israel. In mid-1986, he elected to plea-bargain rather than face a trial. The government agreed with alacrity: no state secrets would have to be revealed, especially about the extent of Israeli espionage. After the plea bargain, the Justice Department supplied the court with a classified sworn declaration signed by Caspar W. Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense, which detailed, by categories, some of the intelligence systems that had been compromised. Judge Robinson, for his part, said nothing in public about the scope of the materials involved in the case, and merely noted at the end of a lengthy sentencing hearing, in March, 1987, that he had "read all of the material once, twice, thrice, if you will." He then sentenced Pollard to life in prison. Pollard's wife, Anne (they had married in 1985), who had been his accomplice, was convicted of unauthorized possession and transmission of classified defense documents and was given a five-year sentence.
Once in jail, Pollard became increasingly fervent in proclaiming his support for Israel. In the Washington Post last summer, the journalist Peter Perl wrote that even Pollard's friends saw him as "obsessed with vindication, consumed by the idea that he is a victim of anti-semitism and that Israel can rescue him through diplomatic and political pressure." Pollard has also turned increasingly to Orthodox Judaism. He divorced his wife after her release from prison, in 1990, and in 1994 proclaimed that, under Jewish law, he had been married in prison to a Toronto schoolteacher named Elaine Zeitz. Esther Pollard, as she is now known, is an indefatigable ally, who passionately believes that her husband was wrongfully accused of harming the United States and was therefore wrongfully imprisoned. "This is the kind of issue I feel very strongly concerns every Jew and every decent, law-abiding citizen," she told an interviewer shortly after the marriage. "The issues are much bigger than Jonathan and myself.... Like it or not, we are writing a page of Jewish history."
ESTHER POLLARD and her husband s other supporters are mistaken in believing that Jonathan Pollard caused no significant damage to American national security. Furthermore, according to senior members of the American intelligence community, Pollard's argument that he acted solely from idealistic motives and provided Israel only with those documents which were needed for its defense was a sham designed to mask the fact that he was driven to spy by his chronic need for money.
Before Pollard's plea bargain, the government had been preparing a multi-count criminal indictment that included-along with espionage, drug, and tax-fraud charges -- allegations that before his arrest Pollard had used classified documents in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the governments of South Africa, Argentina, and Taiwan to participate in an arms deal for anti-Communist Afghan rebels who were then being covertly supported by the Reagan Administration. F.B.I. investigators later determined that in the fall of 1985 Pollard had also consulted with three Pakistanis and an Iranian in his efforts to broker arms. (The foreigners were quietly deported within several months of his arrest.)
Had Pollard's case gone to trial, one of the government's major witnesses would have been a journalist named Kurt Lohbeck, who had a checkered past. He had served seven months in prison after being convicted of passing a bad check in New Mexico in 1977, but by 1985 he was under contract to the CBS Evening News. Lohbeck, who now lives in Albuquerque -- (he received a full pardon from the governor of New Mexico two years ago), acknowledged in a telephone interview that he was prepared to testify, if necessary, about his involvement in Pollard's unsuccessful efforts in 1985 to broker arms sales for the rebels in the Afghan war. At one meeting with a foreign diplomat, Lohbeck said, Pollard posed as a high-level C.I.A. operative. Lohbeck, who was then CBS's main battlefield correspondent in the Afghan war, told me that Pollard had provided him, and thus CBS, with a large number of classified American documents concerning the war. He also told me that Pollard had never discussed Israel with him or indicated any special feelings for the state. "I never heard anything political from Jay," Lohbeck added, "other than that he tried to portray himself as a Reaganite. Not a word about Israel. Jay's sole interest was in making a lot of money."
Lohbeck went on to say that he had also been prepared to testify, if asked, about Pollard's drug use. "Jay used cocaine heavily, and had no compunction about doing it in public. He'd just lay it in lines on the table." In 1985, Lohbeck made similar statements, government officials said, to the F.B.I.
Pollard, told by me of Lohbeck's assertions, sent a response from a jail cell in North Carolina: "My relationship with Lohbeck is extremely complicated. I was never indicted for anything I did with him. Remember that."
The documents that Pollard turned over to Israel were not focussed exclusively on the product of American intelligence -- its analytical reports and estimates. They also revealed how America was able to learn what it did -- a most sensitive area of intelligence defined as "sources and methods." Pollard gave the Israelis vast amounts of data dealing with specific American intelligence systems and how they worked. For example, he betrayed details of an exotic capability that American satellites have of taking off-axis photographs from high in space. While orbiting the earth in one direction, the satellites could photograph areas that were seemingly far out of range. Israeli nuclear-missile sites and the like, which would normally be shielded from American satellites, would thus be left exposed, and could be photographed. "We monitor the Israelis," one intelligence expert told me, "and there's no doubt the Israelis want to prevent us from being able to surveil their country." The data passed along by Pollard included detailed information on the various platforms -- in the air, on land, and at sea -- used by military components of the National Security Agency to intercept Israeli military, commercial, and diplomatic communications.
At the time of Pollard's spying, select groups of American sailors and soldiers trained in Hebrew were stationed at an N.S.A. listening post near Harrogate, England, and at a specially constructed facility inside the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, where they intercepted and translated Israeli signals. Other interceptions came from an unmanned N.S.A. listening post in Cyprus. Pollard's handing over of the data had a clear impact, the expert told me, for "we could see the whole process" -- of intelligence collection -- "slowing down." It also hindered the United States' ability to recruit foreign agents. Another senior official commented, with bitterness, "The level of penetration would convince any self-respecting human source to look for other kinds of work."
A number of officials strongly suspect that the Israelis repackaged much of Pollard's material and provided it to the Soviet Union in exchange for continued Soviet permission for Jews to emigrate to Israel. Other officials go further, and say there was reason to believe that secret information was exchanged for Jews working in highly sensitive positions in the Soviet Union. A significant percentage of Pollard's documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world, was of practical importance only to the Soviet Union. One longtime C.I.A. officer who worked as a station chief in the Middle East said he understood that "certain elements in the Israeli military had used it" -- Pollard's material -- "to trade for people they wanted to get out," including Jewish scientists working in missile technology and on nuclear issues. Pollard's spying came at a time when the Israeli government was publicly committed to the free flow of Jewish emigres from the Soviet Union. The officials stressed the fact that they had no hard evidence -- no "smoking gun," in the form of a document from an Israeli or a Soviet archive -- to demonstrate the link between Pollard, Israel, and the Soviet Union, but they also said that the documents that Pollard had been directed by his Israeli handlers to betray led them to no other conclusion.
High-level suspicions about Israeli-Soviet collusion were expressed as early as December, 1985, a month after Pollard's arrest, when William J. Casey, the late C.I.A. director, who was known for his close ties to the Israeli leadership, stunned one of his station chiefs by suddenly complaining about the Israelis breaking the "ground rules." The issue arose when Casey urged increased monitoring of the Israelis during an otherwise routine visit, I was told by the station chief, who is now retired. "He asked if I knew anything about the Pollard case," the station chief recalled, and he said that Casey had added, "For your information, the Israelis used Pollard to obtain our attack plan against the U.S.S.R. all of it. The coordinates, the firing locations, the sequences. And for guess who? The Soviets." (boldface mine - Ronin)Casey had then explained that the Israelis had traded the Pollard data for Soviet emigres. "How's that for cheating?" he had asked.
In subsequent interviews, former C.I.A. colleagues of Casey's were unable to advance his categorical assertion significantly. Duane Clarridge, then in charge of clandestine operations in Europe, recalled that the C.I.A. director had told him that the Pollard material "goes beyond just the receipt in Israel of this stuff." But Casey, who had many close ties to the Israeli intelligence community, hadn't told Clarridge how he knew what he knew. Robert Gates, who became deputy C.I.A. director in April, 1986, told me that Casey had never indicated to him that he had specific information about the Pollard material arriving in Moscow. "The notion that the Russians may have gotten some of the stuff has always been a viewpoint," Gates said, but not through the bartering of emigres. "The only view I heard expressed was that it was through intelligence operations" -- the K.G.B.
In any event, there was enough evidence, officials told me, to include a statement about the possible flow of intelligence to the Soviet Union in Defense Secretary Weinberger's top-secret declaration that was presented to the court before Pollard's sentencing. There was little doubt, I learned from an official who was directly involved, that Soviet intelligence had access to the most secret information in Israel. "The question," the official said, "was whether we could prove it was Pollard's material that went over the aqueduct. We couldn't get there, so we suggested" in the Weinberger affidavit that the possibility existed. Caution was necessary, the official added, for "fear that the other side would say that 'these people are seeing spies under the bed.' "
The Justice Department further informed Judge Robinson, in a publicly filed memorandum, that "numerous" analyses of Soviet missile systems had been sold by Pollard to Israel, and that those documents included "information from human sources whose identity could be inferred by a reasonably competent intelligence analyst. Moreover, the identity of the authors of these classified publications" was clearly marked.
A retired Navy admiral who was directly involved in the Pollard investigation told me, "There is no question that the Russians got a lot of the Pollard stuff. The only question is how did it get there?" The admiral, like Robert Gates, had an alternative explanation. He pointed out that Israel would always play a special role in American national security affairs. "We give them truckloads of stuff in the normal course of our official relations," the admiral said. "And they use it very effectively. They do things worth doing, and they will go places where we will not go, and do what we do not dare to do."
Nevertheless, he said, it was understood that the Soviet intelligence services had long since penetrated Israel. (One important Soviet spy, Shabtai Kalmanovitch, whose job at one point was to ease the resettlement of Russian emigrants in Israel, was arrested in 1987.) It was reasonably assumed in the aftermath of Pollard, the admiral added, that Soviet spies inside Israel had been used to funnel some of the Pollard material to Moscow.
A full accounting of the materials provided by Pollard to the Israelis has been impossible to obtain: Pollard himself has estimated that the documents would create a stack six feet wide, six feet long, and ten feet high. Rafi Eitan, the Israeli who controlled the operation, and two colleagues of his attached to the Israeli diplomatic delegation -- Irit Erb and Joseph Yagur -- were named as unindicted co-conspirators by the Justice Department. In the summer of 1984, Eitan brought in Colonel Aviem Sella, an Air Force hero, who led Israel's dramatic and successful 1981 bombing raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. (Sella was eventually indicted, in absentia, on three counts of espionage.) Eitan's decision to order Sella into the case is considered by many Americans to have been a brilliant stroke: the Israeli war hero was met with starry eyes by Pollard, a chronic wannabe.
Yagur, Erb, and Sella were in Washington when Pollard was first seized by the F.B.I., in November, 1985, but they quickly left the country, never to return. During one period, Pollard had been handing over documents to them almost weekly, and they had been forced to rent an apartment in northwest Washington, where they installed a high-speed photocopying machine. "Safe houses and special Xeroxes?" an American career intelligence officer said, despairingly, concerning the Pollard operation. "This was not the first guy they'd recruited." In the years following Pollard's arrest and confession, the Israeli government chose not to cooperate fully with the F.B.I. and Justice Department investigation, and only a token number of the Pollard documents have been returned. It was not until last May that the Israeli government even acknowledged that Pollard had been its operative.
In fact, it is widely believed that Pollard was not the only one in the American government spying for Israel. During his year and a half of spying, his Israeli handlers requested specific documents, which were identified only by top-secret control numbers. After much internal assessment, the government's intelligence experts concluded that it was "highly unlikely," in the words of a Justice Department official, that any of the other American spies of the era would have had access to the specific control numbers. "There is only one conclusion," the expert told me. The Israelis "got the numbers from somebody else in the U.S. government."
THE men and women of the National Security Agency live in a world of chaotic bleeps, buzzes, and whistles, and talk to each other about frequencies, spectrums, modulation, and bandwidth -- the stuff of Tom Clancy novels. They often deal with signals intelligence, or SIGINT, and their world is kept in order by an in-house manual known as the RASIN an acronym for radio-signal notations. The manual, which is classified "top-secret Umbra," fills ten volumes, is constantly updated, and lists the physical parameters of every known signal. Pollard took it all. "It's the Bible," one former communications-intelligence officer told me. "It tells how we collect signals anywhere in the world." The site, frequency, and significant features of Israeli communications -- those that were known and targeted by the N.S.A. -- were in the RASIN; so were all the known communications links used by the Soviet Union.
The loss of the RASIN was especially embarrassing to the Navy, I was told by the retired admiral, because the copy that Pollard photocopied belonged to the Office of Naval Intelligence. "He went into our library, found we had an out-of-date version, requested a new one, and passed it on," the officer said. "I was surprised we even had it."
The RASIN theft was one of the specifics cited in Defense Secretary Weinberger's still secret declaration to the court before Pollard's sentencing hearing. In fact, the hearing's most dramatic moment came when Pollard's attorney, Richard A. Hibey, readily acknowledged his client's guilt but argued that the extent of the damage to American national security did not call for the imposition of a maximum sentence.
"I would ask you to think about the Secretary of Defense's affidavit, as it related to only one thing," Judge Robinson interjected, "with reference to one particular category of publication, and I fail to see how you can make that argument." He invited Hibey to approach the bench, along with the Justice Department attorneys, and the group spent a few moments reviewing what government officials told me was Weinberger's account of the importance of the RAISIN. One Justice Department official, recalling those moments with obvious pleasure, said that the RASIN was the ninth item on the Weinberger damage-assessment list. After the bench conference, Hibey made no further attempt to minimize the national-security damage caused by its theft. (Citing national security, Hibey refused to discuss the case for this article.)
The ten volumes of the RASIN were available on a need-to-know basis inside the N.S.A. "I've never seen the monster," a former senior watch officer at an N.S.A. intercept site in Europe told me, but added that he did supervise people who constantly used it, and he described its function in easy-to-understand terms:
"It is a complete catalogue of what the United States was listening to, or could listen to -- information referred to in the N.S.A. as 'parametric data.' It tells you everything you want to know about a particular signal -- when it was first detected and where, whom it was first used by, what kind of entity, frequency, wavelength, or band length it has. When you've copied a signal and don't know what it is, the RASIN manual gives you a description." A senior intelligence official who consults regularly with the N.S.A. on technical matters subsequently told me that another issue involved geometry.
A senior intelligence official who consults regularly with the N.S.A. on technical matters subsequently told me that another issue involved geometry. The RASIN, he explained, had been focussed in particular on the Soviet Union and its thousands of high-frequency, or shortwave, communications, which had enabled Russian military units at either end of the huge land mass to communicate with each other. Those signals "bounced" off the ionosphere and were often best intercepted thousands of miles from their point of origin. If, as many in the American intelligence community suspected, the Soviet communications experts had been able to learn which of their signals were being monitored, and where, they could relocate the signal and force the N.S.A. to invest man-hours and money to try to recapture it. Or, more likely, the Soviets could continue to communicate in a normal fashion but relay false and misleading information.
Pollard's betrayal of the RASIN put the N.S.A. in the position of having to question or reevaluate all of its intelligence collecting. "We aren't perfect," the career intelligence officer explained to me. "We've got holes in our coverage, and this" -- the loss of the RASIN -- tells where the biases and the weaknesses are. It's how we get the job done, and how we will get the job done."
"What a wonderful insight into how we think, and exactly how we're exploiting Soviet communications!" the retired admiral exclaimed. "It's a how-to-do-it book -- the fireside cookbook of cryptology. Not only the analyses but the facts of how we derived our analyses. Whatever recipe you want."
Pollard, asked about the specific programs he compromised, told me, "As far as SIGINT information is concerned, the government has consistently lied in its public version of what I gave the Israelis."
In the mid-nineteen-eighties, the daily report from the Navy's Sixth Fleet Ocean Surveillance Information Facility (FOSIF) in Rota, Spain, was one of America's Cold War staples. A top-secret document filed every morning at 0800 Zulu time (Greenwich Mean Time), it reported all that had gone on in the Middle East during the previous twenty-four hours, as recorded by the N.S.A.'s most sophisticated monitoring devices.
The reports were renowned inside Navy commands for their sophistication and their reliability; they were based, as the senior managers understood it, on data supplied both by intelligence agents throughout the Middle East and by the most advanced technical means of intercepting Soviet military communications. The Navy's intelligence facility at Rota shared space with a huge N.S.A. intercept station, occupied by more than seven hundred linguists and cryptographers, which was responsible for monitoring and decoding military and diplomatic communications all across North Africa. Many at Rota spent hundreds of hours a month listening while locked in top-secret compartments aboard American ships, aircraft, and submarines operating in the Mediterranean.
The Navy's primary targets were the ships, the aircraft, and, most important, the nuclear-armed submarines of the Soviet Union on patrol in the Mediterranean. Those submarines, whose nuclear missiles were aimed at United States forces, were constantly being tracked; they were to be targeted and destroyed within hours if war broke out.
Pollard's American interrogators eventually concluded that in his year and a half of spying he had provided the Israelis with more than a year's worth of the daily FOSIF reports from Rota. Pollard himself told the Americans that at one point in 1985 the Israelis had nagged him when he missed several days of work because of illness and had failed to deliver the FOSIF reports for those days. One of his handlers, Joseph Yagur, had complained twice about the missed messages and had asked him to find a way to retrieve them. Pollard told his American interrogators that he had never missed again.
The career intelligence officer who helped to assess the Pollard damage has come to view Pollard as a serial spy, the Ted Bundy of the intelligence world. "Pollard gave them every message for a whole year," the officer told me recently, referring to the Israelis. "They could analyze it" -- the intelligence -- "message by message, and correlate it. They could not only piece together our sources and methods but also learn how we think, and how we approach a problem. All of a sudden, there is no mystery. These are the things we can't change. You got this, and you got us by the balls." In other words, the Rota reports, when carefully studied, gave the Israelis "a road map on how to circumvent" the various American collection methods and shield an ongoing military operation. The reports provide guidance on "how to keep us asleep, thinking all is working well," he added. "They tell the Israelis how to raid Tunisia without tipping off American intelligence in advance. That is damage that is persistent and severe."
NOT every document handed over by Pollard dealt with signals intelligence. DIAL-COINS is the acronym for the Defense Intelligence Agency's Community On-Line Intelligence System, which was one of the government's first computerized information-retrieval-network systems. The system, which was comparatively primitive in the mid-nineteen-eighties -- it used an 8088 operating chip and thermafax paper -- could not be accessed by specific issues or key words but spewed out vast amounts of networked intelligence data by time frame. Nevertheless, DIAL-COINS contained all the intelligence reports filed by Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine attaches in Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East. One official who had been involved with it told me recently, "It was full of great stuff, particularly in HUMINT -- human intelligence. Many Americans who went to the Middle East for business or political reasons agreed, as loyal citizens, to be debriefed by American defense attaches after their visits. They were promised anonymity -- many had close friends inside Israel and the nearby Arab states who would be distressed by their collaboration -- and the reports were classified. "It's who's talking to whom," the officer said. "Like handing you the address book of the spooks for a year."
Government investigators discovered that one of the system's heaviest users in 1984 and 1985 was Jonathan Pollard. He had all the necessary clearances and necessary credentials to gain access to the classified Pentagon library; he also understood that librarians, even in secret libraries, are always eager to help, and in one instance he relied on the library security guards. With some chagrin, officials involved in the Pollard investigation recounted that Pollard had once collected so much data that he needed a handcart to move the papers to his car, in a nearby parking lot, and the security guards held the doors for him.
Pollard also provided the Israelis with what is perhaps the most important day-to-day information in signals intelligence: the National SIGINT Requirements List, which is essentially a compendium of the tasks, and the priority of those tasks, given to various N.S.A. collection units around the world. Before a bombing mission, for example, a United States satellite might be re-deployed, at enormous financial cost, to provide instantaneous electronic coverage of the target area. In addition, N.S.A. field stations would be ordered to begin especially intensive monitoring of various military units in the target nation. Special N.S.A. coverage would also be ordered before an American covert military unit, such as the Army's Delta Force or a Navy Seal team, was inserted into hostile territory or hostile waters. Sometimes the N.S.A.'s requests were less comprehensive: a European or Middle Eastern business suspected of selling chemical arms to a potential adversary might be placed on the N.S.A. "watch list" and its faxes, telexes, and other communications carefully monitored. The Requirements List is "like a giant to-do list," a former N.S.A. operative told me. "If a customer" -- someone in the intelligence community -- "asked for specific coverage, it would be on a list that is updated daily." That is, the target of the coverage would be known.
"If we're going to bomb Iraq, we will shift the system," a senior specialist subsequently told me. "It's a tipoff where the American emphasis is going to be." With the List, the specialist added, the Israelis "could see us move our collection systems" prior to military action, and eventually come to understand how the United States Armed Forces "change our emphasis." In other words, he added, Israel "could make our intelligence system the prime target" and hide whatever was deemed necessary. "The damage goes past Jay's arrest," the specialist said, "and could extend up to today."
Israel made dramatic use of the Pollard material on October 1, 1985, seven weeks before his arrest, when its Air Force bombed the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Tunisia, killing at least sixty-seven people. The United States, which was surprised by the operation, eventually concluded that the Israeli planners had synergistically combined the day-to-day insights of the SIGINT Requirements List with the strategic intelligence of the FOSIF reports and other data that Pollard provided to completely outwit our government's huge collection apparatus in the Middle East. Even Pollard himself, the senior official told me, "had no idea what he gave away." The results of President Clinton's requested review of the Pollard case by officials in the intelligence community and other interested parties were to be presented to the White House by January 11th. A former Justice Department official told me, "Nobody can believe that any President would have the gall to release this kind of spy." But as the report was being prepared the nature of the questions that the White House was referring to the Justice Department convinced some intelligence officials that Clinton was considering a compromise, such as commuting Pollard's life sentence to twenty-five years in prison.
The queries about commutation were coming not from Roger Adams, the President's pardon attorney, but from Charles F. C. Ruff, the White House counsel. "Pollard would get half a loaf," one distraught career intelligence official told me. The deal believed to be under consideration would provide for his release, with time off for good behavior, in the summer of 2002. The solution had a certain "political beauty," the official added -- in the eyes of the White House. "Pollard doesn't get out right away, and the issue doesn't cause any trouble. And getting the United States to bend would be a serious victory for Israel."
A senior intelligence official whose agency was involved in preparing the report for the White House told me, somewhat facetiously, that he would drop all objections to Pollard's immediate release if the Israeli government would answer two questions: "First, give us a list of what you've got, and, second, tell us what you did with it." Such answers are unlikely to be forthcoming. The Israeli government has acknowledged that Pollard was indeed spying on its behalf but has refused -- despite constant entreaties -- to provide the United States with a complete list of the documents that were turned over to it.
Some members of the intelligence community view themselves today as waging a dramatic holding action against a President who they believe is eager to split the difference with the Israelis on Pollard's fate. They see Bill Clinton as a facilitator who would not hesitate to trade Pollard to the Israelis if he thought that would push Israel into a peace settlement and result in a foreign-policy success. The officials emphasize that they support Clinton's efforts to resolve the Middle East crisis but do not think it is appropriate to use Pollard as a bargaining chip.
Adding to their dismay, some officials made clear, is the fact that Clinton himself, having studied the case years ago, when he was considering Yitzhak Rabin's request for clemency, knows as much as anyone in the United States government about the significance of Pollard's treachery. One informed official described a private moment at the Wye peace summit when George Tenet, the C.I.A. director, warned the President that Pollard's release would enrage and demoralize the intelligence community. "What he got back," the official told me, "was 'Nah, don't worry about it. It'll blow over.' "
posted on 09/03/2003 2:31:15 PM PDT
I doubt that's it. They have been estranged, according to the article, for seven years.
Pollard was exposed and convicted 16 years ago and never showed any remorse.
So his dad was OK with his son being a traitor for at least 9 years.
posted on 09/03/2003 2:31:40 PM PDT
(God bless our brave soldiers and their Commander in Chief)
Comment #9 Removed by Moderator
How many other turncoats/spies have fan clubs that would overflow a courtroom by turning out in such mass to support their hero?
Pretty disgusting....I hope the FBI had the cameras out.
posted on 09/03/2003 3:09:13 PM PDT
Bluntly, Pollard would not be getting the support he is getting were he not Jewish. This is a perfect example of Jewish centric thinking. In order for anti-semitism to end, Jews must look into their own souls and recognize the racism they themselves have.
The only thing that comes close to disgusting me as much as Jonathan Pollard is the support he gets from the Jewish community.
What utter shamelessness.
posted on 09/03/2003 4:16:40 PM PDT
(The World According to Imal: http://imal.blogspot.com)
To: veronica; Catspaw; dennisw; Yehuda; Nachum; Cachelot; Poohbah; Lent
posted on 09/03/2003 4:41:37 PM PDT
posted on 09/03/2003 4:43:00 PM PDT
"How many other turncoats/spies have fan clubs that would overflow a courtroom by turning out in such mass to support their hero?"
I assume that you weren't around for the Ethel and Julius Rosenberg trial
That was a real circus!
posted on 09/03/2003 4:45:56 PM PDT
Pollard should thank God he's still breathing.
posted on 09/03/2003 4:46:07 PM PDT
(Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.)
Such a nice story. The author "forgot" the part where the government sentenced him on secret evidence that the defence attorneys were not allowed to see. Then he kindly omitted the part about how the judge violated the prosecution's own plea bargain agreement and sentenced him to life after he made his plea based on the agreement.
posted on 09/03/2003 4:54:23 PM PDT
The secret evidence is irrelevant. Nobody is denying his guilt. However, the plea bargain agreement is indeed an issue, but not one that should inspire legions of supporters. Regardless, the more Israel presses this issue, the more likely Pollard will die in prison. The president cannot afford to appear to cave in on a national security issue. If it was off the radar screen for a few years, his release would likely occur... quitly as possible. If the release does occur, it better come with an agreement from Israel to NEVER turn an American into a traitor again.
The secret evidence is irrelevant.
Hardly. The verdict of the court and reneging of the agreement was done because of it.
Regardless, the more Israel presses this issue, the more likely Pollard will die in prison
The only reason this is being heard again is because of the volume of complaint about it.
If the release does occur, it better come with an agreement from Israel to NEVER turn an American into a traitor again.
That was the only reason that he has been abused in the first place. His punishment has been far and away the harshest of any spy of a similar nature. If his release does occur, it is only because his value as a hostage has been somehow reduced. With the large amount of espianage that goes on here from all directions, I doubt seriously that there has been any reduction in activity.
posted on 09/03/2003 7:37:37 PM PDT
To: Nachum; archy
Can anyone explain this (and what's the source?):
"Israel made dramatic use of the Pollard material on October 1, 1985, seven weeks before his arrest, when its Air Force bombed the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Tunisia, killing at least sixty-seven people."
Was this a bad thing?
" The United States, which was surprised by the operation, eventually concluded that the Israeli planners had synergistically combined the day-to-day insights of the SIGINT Requirements List with the strategic intelligence of the FOSIF reports and other data that Pollard provided to completely outwit our government's huge collection apparatus in the Middle East."
If we have such a "huge collection apparatus in the Middle East..." how come we were taking it on the chin from the arabs since Beirut (Lockerbie, WTC 1 and 2, Bon Laden et al...)
"...Some members of the intelligence community view themselves today as waging a dramatic holding action against a President who they believe is eager to split the difference with the Israelis on Pollard's fate. They see Bill Clinton as a facilitator who would not hesitate to trade Pollard to the Israelis if he thought that would push Israel into a peace settlement..."
Isn't this acknowledging that the proposed "peace settlement" was not in Israel's interests?
posted on 09/03/2003 8:09:22 PM PDT
Pollard should've been hung. He's a traitor. I don't give a damn who he spied for or what religion he is.
posted on 09/03/2003 8:20:10 PM PDT
(Sending the UN back to Iraq is like sending the Taliban back to Afghanistan)
To: Selmo; Sabramerican
Where is that guy Sabramerican? Haven't seen him for years
posted on 09/04/2003 5:06:31 AM PDT
(G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
|The Truth About Jonathan Pollard
by 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.
posted on 09/04/2003 5:18:25 AM PDT
(G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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