Jonathan Pollard on Prison, Torture, Politics, & More!

July 21, 2023 | 7 Comments »

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  1. Israel and the US were allied nations at the time, but they also saw each other as legitimate intelligence targets.

    This move by Israel, however, to so successfully penetrate US security measures, appeared to have been quite a point of tension between the US and Israel, but more particularly between the US intel services and Israel, and this tension persisted for decades. Recall that Tenent threatened to resign if Pollard was released early. Also the CIA assessed that the details of the Pollard Damage Assessment Report to be so sensitive that they would not release pages 18-165 from the 166 page report. This provided the false implication that the report was too sensitive to be released, when in fact, this was hardly the case. The CIA used the classified status of the report as leverage against any support for Pollard’s release. When this report was finally released in 2012, most of the political opposition to Pollard being released began to dwindle and he was released two and a half years later.

    It has been suggested that the greatest injury to the US by Pollard’s intelligence penetration would have been the potential revelation of sources and methods gained by Israel being intercepted by any potential Soviet penetration of Israeli intelligence, which is absurd. To believe this, it would require that we ignore the fact that the Soviets had directly penetrated the US security with the Walker spy ring penetration of Naval Intelligence, Ronald Pelton’s penetration of the NSA, and Edward Lee Howard having penetrated the CIA. All of these ongoing Soviet penetrations were ended in the same year that Pollard was arrested. It had been stated at the time that Kmart had better security than the Navy, but the truth would seem to indicate that this was far more systemically true of US intelligence than just the Navy.

    Pollard, like the members of the Walker spy ring and Ronald Pelton, received a sentence of life in prison. The rationale for the severity of the sentencing has never been explained or justified, but neither has the rationale for hiding the unimpressive non-sensitive nature of the Damage Assessment Report behind the classified classification. Personally, I think the answer is fairly clear.

    **Edward Lee Howard escaped to Russia as the only US agent to successfully defect to the East.

  2. @Bear

    True, these espionage incidents were vastly less damaging than Pollard’s crime,

    I don’t see this as true. The US wasn’t damaged in a significant way. What do you think.

  3. Pollard was convicted of a single count of disclosing documents to an ally foreign government, in violation of Title 18, section 794c. The far more serious crime of selling classified information to an enemy nation, such as Iraq or the Soviet Union, violates section 794b, and generally fetches a life sentence. But in contrast, those who divulge the nation’s secrets to allies, section 794c, always receive lesser sentences.

    For example, Navy Lt. Cmd. Michael Schwartz (not Jewish), who passed classified documents to the Saudis from 1992 to 1994 was simply discharged from the military, but never prosecuted, and served no jail time. Others who sold or disclosed documents to friendly countries such as Great Britain, Egypt, the Philippines or South Africa, generally received terms from two to four years and were released early. True, these espionage incidents were vastly less damaging than Pollard’s crime, and often did not involve compensation. Israel paid Pollard in cash, jewels, and expensive travel for his espionage, which his first wife Anne abetted.

  4. @ John Galt, Yes it is understandable that Pollard was convicted and sent to prison. The term and conditions were extreme to anything comparable or worse. Including the original parole terms.

    Question is why? Is it because he was Jewish and doing it for Israel?

  5. I was a spy. I don’t like other spies disclosing a damn thing to anyone.
    Pollard was not innocent. He was guilty.
    I don’t care if he was Methodist, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. It makes no difference.

    Let’s put this a little differently.
    How would Israel react if one its Mossad spies did what Pollard did?
    Oh, let’s add that the spy who was caught was secretly a Christian or a Hindu.
    Just asking.

  6. Poem submitted by Jeremy Zeid:


    While Pollard rots in an American can
    For passing US intel of an attack by Iran
    Three decades plus locked up, and no chance of appeal
    A culture of silence with unseemly zeal
    Obama by contrast reveals Zion’s securities
    Her nuclear deterrent to all of her enemies
    Pollard punished for helping a friend
    Successive Presidents maintained that trend
    But no other broke the Holy land bond
    Of her Leader, Obama isn’t particularly fond
    He trades Israeli lives for Iranian lies
    He really should give back that Nobel Peace Prize
    Given for what, a peaceful golf round
    A more pointless award will never be found
    Pollard’s actions saved lives while he risked his all
    Obama’s could turn them all into molten glass pool
    There’s no better time to unseal Pollard’s fate
    As posthumous pardons are rather too late.

    ©Copyright, Jeremy Zeid 03/04/2015