• U.S. House and Senate lobby to get Jay Pollard released
By Keith Johnson
When Israeli President Shimon Peres came to the U.S. to collect his Medal of Freedom Award from Barack Obama, he brought with him a petition he’d received on behalf of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. Purportedly signed by more than 75K supporters, the petition states: “Out of great fear for Jonathan’s health and out of a desire to see him live out the remainder of his life as a free man, we are asking you to employ your extraordinary diplomatic skills and your close relationship to President Obama to work . . . without delay for the immediate release of Jonathan.”
Peres promised tomeet Obama in private to discuss the issue, but stressed, “I am doing it not as a diplomat . . . but as a human being.”
Pollard, an American who worked with the U.S. Naval Intelligence Command as a civilian intelligence analyst, was convicted in 1987 of spying for Israel and sentenced to life in prison.
However, despite supporters’ fears that Pollard will die in prison unless Obama grants clemency, the notorious spy’s days behind bars are already numbered, and it won’t be long before he goes free.
In an exclusive interview with AMERICAN FREE PRESS, Ronald J. Olive, author of Capturing Jonathan Pollard: How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice, told this reporter: “Pollard is due to get out of jail in three years. Nov. 21, 2015 is his scheduled date to leave prison. He just needs to stay there [until then], because no other spy in the history of our country has stolen so many highly classified secrets [and] in a short period of time—nobody!”
As the assistant special agent in charge of counterintelligence for the Washington office of the Naval Investigative Service, Olive headed the initial investigation against Pollard and garnered the confession that led to his arrest.
According to Olive: “After he was convicted in March 1987, he was sentenced under the old guideline, which says that if an individual accused of espionage gets life in prison, and keeps a good record in prison, he must be released in 30 years. One month later, they changed the sentencing guidelines, and Pollard would have stayed in jail forever. So he was very lucky.”
Those 30 years are calculated from the day of his arrest in 1985 rather than the 1987 conviction date, said Olive. Because notorious spies like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen were sentenced under espionage statutes enacted after 1987, he added, they are not privy to early release like Pollard and must serve their entire life terms.
The statutes do not justify why Ames and Hanssen are serving their time under harsh conditions in maximum-security prisons while Pollard is spending his days in relative comfort.
“Pollard was in solitary confinement in a very harsh prison earlier on,” said Olive. “But they eventually got him into Butner [Federal Correctional Complex, N.C.]. It’s not like he’s behind bars, like you see in Alcatraz. It’s like a ‘Club Fed’ there. It’s one of the best federal prisons there is.”
In fact, inmates of Butner refer to the facility as “Camp Fluffy.” It bears more resemblance to a campus than a prison—with landscaped yards, a gym, library, pool tables, a volleyball court and even an Indian sweat lodge.
In terms of the severity of Pollard’s crimes, Olive said: “He stole over 1M hard copy pages on some of the most highly classified information this country holds. I know the guy who did the damage assessment, [who said] it would fill a closet six feet wide, six feet high, and 10 feet long.”
Olive goes on to say that the nature of the material Pollard stole includes codes, frequencies, intelligence sources and details on how the U.S. collects its information.
The Obama administration has thus far resisted the pressure from Pollard supporters demanding his early release.
“Our position has not changed and will not change today,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney. “I would simply remind you that Mr. Pollard was convicted of extremely serious crimes.”
When asked if he thinks Obama will stay true to his commitment, Olive replied: “I think he’ll stick to his guns.We’ll see what happens as it gets closer to November. But he’s got the intelligence community and other entities of the government that do not want to see Pollard released.”
What disturbs Olive the most is the bipartisan support from both houses of Congress that are clamoring for Pollard’s release.
“They don’t know what the true story is,” said Olive. “I wrote my book to tell the story from the inside. It tells them everything they need to know. It’s the true story—not just what Jonathan Pollard is saying now. It’s who he really is, what he really did and the devastation that he caused.”
Keith Johnson is an independent journalist and the editor of “Revolt of the Plebs,” an alternative news website. Keith is also a licensed private detective.