Pollard’s release a New Year’s present for Israel.
By Richard Walker
Under cover of darkness, on Dec. 30, 2020, a private jet left the United States with a very special VIP on board and landed in Jerusalem 12 hours later to be met on the tarmac by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu.
The VIP who stepped off the plane was 66-yearold Jonathan Jay Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst, notorious for selling America’s most precious secrets to Israel, and possibly to other countries including Pakistan. He pleaded guilty to espionage in 1987 and received a life sentence. It is alleged that materials from the massive quantity of documents he stole from a classified naval facility and gave to Israel may have ended up in the hands of the Soviet Union and resulted in a greater compromise of U.S. national security.
Pollard’s unannounced return to Israel, where a plaza in Jerusalem is named after him, could reasonably be interpreted as a parting gift from President Donald Trump to Netanyahu. He has lobbied every American president since Bill Clinton to have Pollard returned to Israel where he was awarded citizenship in 1995 while serving his well-deserved time in a U.S. prison. For the past five years, Pollard had been under house arrest after serving almost 30 years of a life sentence for espionage.
The jet that took him to Jerusalem was owned by President Trump’s most prominent Zionist donor, Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire, who was on board the plane with his wife. The decision to let Adelson and the traitor Pollard leave America in such a crafty fashion was made by Mr. Trump, who has given Israel all it has demanded during his presidency. This gift in particular is the one that Israeli leaders have longed for, even though it took Israel years after Pollard’s arrest and prosecution to admit that he had been their paid spy. His sudden arrival in Israel may boost Netanyahu’s prospects for reelection in 2021. However, Netanyahu made no big deal of it, just as Mr. Trump remained silent, both leaders choosing not to alert the U.S. public to a transfer that would have generated headlines and controversy across America.
During Pollard’s incarceration, there was a campaign to show that he did not steal the most important U.S. secrets and that he only became a spy to help Israel. His backers even argued that he was just a lowly naval intelligence analyst. The evidence, however, pointed in the opposite direction, which is why major U.S. intelligence agencies for three decades refused to cut Pollard any kind of release deal. In 1985, when he was caught, he had the highest possible security clearance and worked at the Anti-Terror Alert Center, the Navy’s most secret establishment in Suitland, Md. Inside was the Navy’s most secret store of intelligence, including codes for nuclear submarines.
Pollard removed files and photocopied them with guidance from his Israeli handler, famed Mossad spy Rafi Eitan, and others who worked at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. The stolen information not only contained details of how U.S. intelligence ran global operations but also how it kept “eyes,” some in the sky, on Israel, including on its Washington Embassy and other facilities. It also detailed sources and methods the CIA and the National Security Agency were deploying against the Soviets and Israelis.
One of the most telling pieces written about Pollard was a 1999 exposé in The New Yorker by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh who learned that the late William J. Casey, CIA director at the time, was so alarmed that this is what he told one of his station chiefs in Israel:
The Israelis used Pollard to obtain our attack plan against the USSR. All of it. The coordinates, the firing locations, the sequences. And for guess who? The Soviets. Casey had then explained that the Israelis had traded the Pollard data for Soviet emigrés. “How’s that for cheating?” he had asked.
According to Hersh and others, Pollard, who was paid handsomely by the Israelis, admitted that he gave Eitan documents that would have made a stack 10 feet long, six feet wide and six feet high. Most of those documents were never accounted for or retrieved, even though the FBI requested them from the Israelis.
Some of Pollard’s supporters have long argued that the materials he stole were not shared with the Soviets. Instead, Moscow had its own mole in U.S. Intelligence. That has a ring of truth about it since two of the biggest moles of the 1980s were FBI traitors, Aldrich Ames and Robert Hansen. Nevertheless, it does not detract from the serious damage done by Pollard, who approached nations other than Israel to sell intelligence that related to them. Pollard was the first American to receive a life sentence for spying and he was, as Hersh pointed out, a traitor who provided massive quantities of intelligence to the Israelis.
The very fact that he was spirited out of the U.S. without any notice to the media speaks to the fact that President Trump did not wish to answer questions about this “Benedict Arnold,” who is hailed as a national hero in is Israel.
Richard Walker is the nom de plume of a former New York mainstream news producer who grew tired of seeing his articles censored by his bosses.