Recently, American Jewish naval intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard who is serving a life sentence for espionage in favor of Israel has reentered the news. Apparently, the Obama administration is strongly considering his early release in exchange for Israeli concessions in the "peace process".
Israel only admitted that Pollard was their agent in 1998, thirteen whole years after his arrest and three years after granting him Israeli citizenship and officially asking Bill Clinton for clemency. The main reason for this reticence is of course, Israel's desire to minimize the damage its spy inflicted on America, a country that is Israel's main supporter and protector and the source of billions of dollars in aid. Especially outrageous was the fact that most likely, some of the classified documents he sold to Israel ended up in Soviet hands, quite possibly leading to the execution of American sources.
Another reason for Israel's denial of Pollard is that the man is simply an embarrassment to any serious intelligence agency. Let us face it, Jonathan Pollard was unfit to serve as a mall cop, let alone an intelligence analyst during the Cold War. Known as a heavy drug user in college who later bounced from grad school to grad school and loved to brag about his supposed links to the Mossad and CIA, Pollard was denied a job by the CIA for lying about the extent of his drug abuse. Hired by the Naval Intelligence Command, Pollard exhibited clear signs of instability. He told his coworkers tall tales about his father's links to the CIA, his own links with Mossad, and offered to start an operation with South African intelligence. One of his supervisors demanded his termination, but Pollard was instead reassigned to another analyst position.
Later, Pollard was invited to an interview for yet another position within Naval Intelligence. Upon arriving, the visibly disheveled Pollard told the interviewer a story that should have sent him straight to the psych ward. The future hero of Israel claimed that his fiancee was kidnapped by a group of IRA operatives and he spent the whole weekend chasing after them throughout the DC area.
But this host of red flags did not result in Pollard's dismissal. Perhaps, he was protected by a powerful individual or group inside the Pentagon. More likely, he was allowed to continue because of the egregious negligence of the intelligence community - a negligence that reached its pinnacle on 9/11 and continues today.
Contrary to claims from his supporters, Pollard's prime motivation was money. He received tens of thousands of dollars from his Israeli handlers, and according to US officials, was to receive over half a million dollars during the course of the conspiracy. This supposedly committed Zionist had no qualms in reaching out to Pakistan, in the hopes of selling classified information, and passed information to Australia and South Africa. According to four former directors of Naval Intelligence, Pollard "offered classified information to three other countries before working for the Israelis".
The traitor's supporters also claim that the US government wrongfully reneged on the plea bargain and he ended up with a life sentence. In reality, the prosecutor asked for a "substantial", not a "maximum" or "life" sentence during the sentencing hearing and the life term handed out to Pollard was solely the judge's decision. Even the hardline Zionist Rabbi Meir Kahane supported a harsh sentence for Pollard:
"Of course, Pollard should have been given a jail sentence, and a harsh one. He is an American citizen and revealed his country's secrets to Israel. That is a crime in America and one that should be punished."
What is surprising in the whole wretched affair, is the extent of the Israelis' efforts to have Pollard released. Why would a serious country adopt as its hero a drug-abusing, money grubbing fraud who offered to sell US secrets to anyone willing to subsidize his extravagant lifestyle. And how could a seemingly serious leader like Netanyahu even consider releasing scores of convicted murderers and budge on national security issues, so a washed out loser like Pollard could live out the rest of his days in a Tel Aviv villa.
Eugene Girin is a New York-based attorney and commentator.