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Why hasn’t Jonathan Pollard applied for parole?

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There was a great exchange on Wolf Blitzer the other night between Rep Eliot Engel, a cosponsor of the most recent bill to get Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard released, and the prosecutor in the original case, Joseph di Genova, a former US Attorney for DC who prosecuted Pollard on the topic.  It’s here.

The remarkable aspect of this exchange:  Engel stuck robotically to his script – Pollard received the harshest sentence ever for someone spying for a “friendly” country. The gestalt: Pollard is the victim and so is Israel, because the U.S. was holding out on them on vital intelligence. 

Watching Engel was pathetic because he clearly had no depth on this issue. Di Genova set him straight on a lot of the facts that he had wrong about the case, especially the late Caspar Weinberger’s role in the harsh sentence.  What was even more interesting, from my view, was the effect Engel’s behavior had on di Genova.  My sense is that di Genova at the beginning of the exchange was sort of sympathetic to the view that Pollard had served enough time – recall as prosecutor he was willing to let Pollard cop a plea for less than the maximum sentence but the judge in the case ignored his recommendation and imposed it.  But by the end of the exchange, di Genova was so ticked off with Engel’s bloviating on this issue that he had clearly shifted to the “let Pollard rot camp.”

Di Genova pointed out that Pollard has never applied for parole.  My sense is that he has not done so because he would have to agree to work with the Intelligence Community on a damage assessment.  He also pointed out that Pollard had secretly taken Israeli citizenship and $500k in exchange for a 10 year deal with the Israelis to keep spying.  Finally, what di Genova did not mention, but I have read and heard from very senior counterintelligence people involved in the case, is that our “friend” Israel took some of the most sensitive material Pollard gave them and traded it to the Soviets in exchange for the release of Soviet Jews.

For intelligence professionals, the Pollard case is like the Liberty attack:  An open sore that the lobby keeps picking.  My take away from last night’s exchange is that Engel’s ham-handed and lunk-headed approach will ensure this sore continues to fester.

Michael Desch

Michael Desch is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. He was the founding Director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs and the first holder of the Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security Decision-Making at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University from 2004 through 2008.

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54 Responses

  1. justicewillprevail on June 15, 2012, 1:14 pm

    How revealing that senators for Israel like Engel simply do the lobby’s bidding, without actually bothering to inform themselves of any facts. Proof, if any were needed, that these useful fools for Israel simply do as they are told, have no real interest in what may or may not be good for the US, or for justice, and simply do as they are told. Uttering inanities and blatant lies seems to be a habit of the Israel lobby, who have grown so fat on the proceeds of their own success, that they blithely assume they can get whatever they want, by saying whatever they want, and the stupid American system will roll over for them. Transpose this to Iran, and you can see why so many shills for Israel have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, have no great interest in it, but are doing their job, faithfully doing their paymaster’s bidding. Truly sickening bunch of amoral patsies who fail the very first test, which is loyalty to the US, its way of life and its people. Americans died so that Israel could trade with the USSR, thanks to Pollard, now Israel demands that Americans could die in their pursuit of nuclear hegemony in the ME. A more callous, brutish country is hard to imagine.

  2. doug on June 15, 2012, 1:27 pm

    The pressure on Obama to pardon Pollard is enormous and I expect it to be approved. It should be instructive to watch the “hero’s welcome” Pollard gets upon his release to Israel.

    • Fredblogs on June 15, 2012, 5:36 pm

      Worse people have gotten heroes’ welcomes in Arab countries for deeds that were not only worse, but monstrous. Like the Lockerbie bomber in Libya and multiple mass murdering terrorists in Lebanon and Palestinian controlled areas.

      • ritzl on June 15, 2012, 6:05 pm

        And some Israeli “death from above/let God sort ’em out” types get to be President of their country and are “awarded” Medals of Freedom.

      • Citizen on June 15, 2012, 6:05 pm

        When has the US gone to war to benefit Libya, Lebanon, or Palestinians? Also, the US gives over $6Billion annually to Israel in direct and indirect aid; and, looking at direct aid alone, Israel, the size of a postage stamp, is the biggest recipient of US foreign aid in US history. Congress just cut off a few million dollars to Eastern European countries to help pay for a missile defense system as a way to reduce tax spending, while it simultaneously gave Israel another $1 BILLION for Israel’s missile defense system (on top of the usual $3 Billion annually). Israel is not even in NATO.

      • seafoid on June 15, 2012, 6:12 pm


        Israel kills more people faster .
        Cast Lead was monstrous.
        What your people are doing right now to Gaza is monstrous.
        And your whataboutery will never excuse Zionist depravity.

      • Woody Tanaka on June 15, 2012, 6:16 pm

        Pollard is the worst. His treachery on behalf of your apartheid state led to the death of my countrymen. But I guess what’s a few American’s lives to you… After all, there were russian jews yearning to oppress Palestinian children.

      • biorabbi on June 16, 2012, 2:22 am

        What do you men ‘my countrymen’? I honestly don’t understand. I’ve read that Pollard’s spying was sent to Israel and then the Russians got it? Is this it? I’m not defending Pollard. But is the stuff he took related to the Russians and American spies within Russia who were then killed? If this is the case, he should never be freed. As for Russian Jews yearning to oppress Palestinian children, the Russian Jews I know(including my wife)wanted to come to the United States and only went to Israel as a third tier option. I wish Casper Weinberger’s letter would be released at least. Pollard clearly revealed something more important than simply naval assets and satellite capability, but something more serious happened that has never been fully released.

      • annie on June 16, 2012, 3:09 am

        something more serious happened that has never been fully released.


        is the stuff he took related to the Russians and American spies within Russia who were then killed? If this is the case, he should never be freed.

        thank you, exactly.

      • Fredblogs on June 19, 2012, 4:31 am

        Except that it had nothing to do with spies in Russia. Pollard’s clearance level wasn’t that high. The only person listed on wikipedia as a proponent of that theory also thinks the U.S. government was behind 9/11

      • Woody Tanaka on June 19, 2012, 9:25 am

        Well, Fredo, when your country comes clean with the details of all of the documents Pollard gave it and what it did with those documents — declassifies everything and makes it available to the world — then we’ll know how many of my countrymen were killed as a consequence of your country, all so that more Russians could come and terrorize and murder Palestinian men, women and children.

      • Kathleen on June 19, 2012, 9:53 am

        That’s right release all of the documents having to do with exactly what Pollard did.

      • eljay on June 15, 2012, 6:28 pm

        >> Worse people have gotten heroes’ welcomes in Arab countries for deeds that were not only worse, but monstrous.

        Once again, Fraudblogs spells it out for anyone who hasn’t yet understood what Zio-supremacists stand for: “As long as there is a ‘worse’ injustice or immorality in the world, we see no reason to be better.”

        Reach for the bottom, Fraud! You’re a real inspiration.

      • libra on June 15, 2012, 7:13 pm

        Fred, as someone who’s previously stated on Mondoweiss his opinion that Pollard should remain in prison for life, this seems an odd topic to choose for your “two wrongs make it right” hasbara. Perhaps it’s become little more than a reflex reaction.

      • Fredblogs on June 18, 2012, 1:55 pm

        I do think he should remain in jail for life, for what he did, not for what some lunatic conspiracy theorist thinks he did. I also think the terrorists getting hero’s welcomes in Arab/Muslim countries should have been in jail for life. I also think worse leakers like Bradley Manning should be imprisoned for life, or executed.

      • Ellen on June 19, 2012, 8:54 am


        I do think he should remain in jail for life, for what he did,…

        What he did is in the public record. The consequences of his actions are not. We do not know that, not even the Federal Prosecuting attorney has those details. Only some parts of State and the NSA, of the time, including the CIA.

        Whatever the consequences were, they were big enough for the Judge to over turn the recommendation of 20 years (I think it was) to life. That is almost unheard of, but not outside the Judicial authority.

        So my question is: why do you think AIPAC and Israel are fighting so hard to free this guy? Why is he considered a hero in Israel?

      • Fredblogs on June 19, 2012, 1:32 pm

        If the prosecutor didn’t know then the judge didn’t know. The judge knows what the prosecutor tells him. I don’t buy into the idea that he is a hero in Israel. I doubt most people even know who he is. The Israeli government wants him out for the same reason that the U.S. would want one of our spies in Israel out if the Israelis caught him. Because countries don’t like having their own spies in prison, even though they like having foreign spies in prison.

      • Woody Tanaka on June 19, 2012, 2:18 pm

        “If the prosecutor didn’t know then the judge didn’t know. The judge knows what the prosecutor tells him.”

        The judge based the (much too lenient) sentence on Weinberg’s memorandum, not on what the prosecutor told him.

        “I don’t buy into the idea that he is a hero in Israel.”

        Yeah, because Jerusalem renames squares near the PM’s residence after random people all the time.

      • Woody Tanaka on June 19, 2012, 5:10 pm

        typo: “Weinberg’s” should be “Weinberger’s” of course.

      • thankgodimatheist on June 15, 2012, 8:42 pm

        Let me translate: “We are bad but they are worse”.
        A very bright line of defense indeed..Having said that, celebrating the likes of the mass murderer Baruch Goldstein and Meir Kahane is not just bad it’s nauseating.

      • Koshiro on June 16, 2012, 4:19 am

        Oh, the tu quoque game, eh? Let’s keep it closer to home, shall we Fred?
        Like this:
        As long as Israel imprisons hundreds of people – at least – without charge, trial, legal counsel or any other of the many rights Pollard enjoyed and still enjoys, Israel and its apologists should keep their damn mouths shut about him. Concern yourself with Mamouhd Sarsak if you want to help someone who actually ist unjustly and inhumanely imprisoned.

      • Fredblogs on June 18, 2012, 1:58 pm

        Preaching to the choir on Pollard. I think he belongs in jail.

      • homingpigeon on June 16, 2012, 9:16 am

        “Worse people have gotten heroes’ welcomes in Arab countries for deeds that were not only worse, but monstrous. Like the Lockerbie bomber in Libya and multiple mass murdering terrorists in Lebanon and Palestinian controlled areas.”

        Yes indeed, and it would be really outrageous if American Senators and Congressmen regularly fell all over each other trying to compete to see who could voice the most sympathy for these bombers and to send a huge welfare check to the mobs that welcome them.

      • stevieb on June 16, 2012, 10:56 am

        The Lockerbie bomber(the one first convicted and then released) was innocent of the charge. As far as Lebanese and Palestinians – they are fighting an illegal occupation of their homeland – killiing occupiers who are murdering thousands of your people and stealing your land and water is is not crime(and never will be in the eyes of most people) unfortunately for you…

      • ColinWright on June 18, 2012, 1:55 am

        ‘Worse people have gotten heroes’ welcomes in Arab countries for deeds that were not only worse, but monstrous. ‘

        These countries don’t depend on US support for their continued existence.

      • Citizen on June 18, 2012, 5:28 am

        ColinW, also, 29% of Americans are evangelical christians. In my personal experience, these people know nothing about Zionism, nor do they pay any attention to what Israel has been doing to the Palestinian natives for decades–with their tax dollars. Jesus is very much a daily personal buddy of theirs. Basically, Israel/Zion is an icon to them, and the Jews are the chosen people of God’s plan (but the evangelicals believe themselves to be the ultimate beneficiaries of said plan). The evangelicals I know have no contact with actual living Jews at all.
        The Europeans are the most resistant to evangelical christianity, and the most agnostic people as a whole, worldwide.

        The US population of self-described Christians (of any sort) is, if memory serves, 81%.
        African countries, such as Kenya, have the highest internal proportion of evangelical christians.

      • ColinWright on June 18, 2012, 2:39 pm

        ‘Jesus is very much a daily personal buddy of theirs. Basically, Israel/Zion is an icon to them, and the Jews are the chosen people of God’s plan (but the evangelicals believe themselves to be the ultimate beneficiaries of said plan). The evangelicals I know have no contact with actual living Jews at all.’

        This is exactly what makes their support so fragile. All one has to do is to show that the reality doesn’t correspond to the icon, that it is not in fact a fulfillment of anything in the Good Book, and ‘Israel’ starts leaving a sour taste in their mouths. Quote the ‘Parable of the Evil Husbandmen’ at them. Jesus said Israel is no longer theirs. That’ll do it.

    • ritzl on June 15, 2012, 5:58 pm

      Before I read the comments on Blitzer’s Blog about this, I would have agreed with you. But read them. If Obama does this he loses. Certainty. So the blunt political calculus has to be between pardon = certain loss and no pardon = diminished campaign capacity/uncertain outcome. I think even Obama has to go with the no pardon option on this one.

  3. Leper Colonialist on June 15, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Parole was abolished in the federal system several decades ago. The best any federal inamte can hope for is a maximum 10% reduction in sentence for good beahvior.

    “The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 abolished parole eligibility for federal offenders who commit offenses on or after November 1, 1987. It also provided for the abolition of the United States Parole Commission on November 1, 1992. However, when the Congress provided for the abolition of the Parole Commission, it failed to make adequate provision for persons sentenced under the law in effect prior to November 1, 1987, who had not completed their prison terms by the phase-out date. Elimination or reduction of parole eligibility for such cases would raise serious ex post facto clause issues. Therefore, the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990 extended the Commission an additional five years (until November 1, 1997) to handle “old law” cases. The Parole Commission Phaseout Act of 1996 again extended the Parole Commission for an additional five years (until November 1, 2002) for the same reason. In addition, the Parole Commission Phaseout Act of 1996 requires the Attorney General to report to Congress yearly, commencing in May 1998, as to whether it is most cost-effective for the Parole Commission to remain a separate agency or whether its functions (and personnel) should be assigned elsewhere. If the Attorney General recommends incorporating the Parole Commission’s functions in another component of the Department of Justice, the Attorney General’s plan shall take effect in November of the year in which it is submitted, unless Congress by law provides otherwise. If the parole functions are transferred pursuant to this provision, they will continue as long as necessary without respect to the November l, 2002, expiration date provided elsewhere in the legislation. The Act also reinstates the twelve-year limitation on service as a Parole Commissioner contained in the Parole Commission and Reorganization Act of 1976, and provides for the reduction in the number of Commissioners to two Commissioners on December 31, 1999, and to one Commissioner on December 31, 2001.”

    It is typical of the free-Pollard crowd that they have consistently tried to play for sympathy for JJP on the basis that he is serving time with no possiblity of parole. Yeah, just like pretty much every other federal inmate. Interestingly, as Pollard’s criminal acts took place prior to November 1, 1987, he might still be eligible for parole after he has served sufficient time [which by now he certainly has] to become parole-eligible?

    As to why JJP has failed to apply for parole, as a practical matter it’s clear that to do so would be a further admission of guilt, which he, his masters in the Mossad, and The Israel Lobbyists want at all costs to avoid

    • Denis on June 15, 2012, 4:33 pm

      Whew, nice summary, Lep. That whole tough-on-crime parole elimination initiative caused a lot of problems at the federal and state level. I had a case where the jury was not told parole had been eliminated and they sent the dude up for 40 years thinking he would do 4, based on a 10:1 reduction of a previous sentence in some totally unrelated case. That was always the problem with parole — the jury trying to figure out how to adjust the sentence so the perp would do the time they thought he/she should do.

      No doubt Pollard is eligible. But if he applies and goofs it, he can’t apply again for 15 years. And if he is denied parole, it would make it a lot tougher for a president to spring him. Also, that $500k reward from Israel does not look good. If it is true, that would be enough to keep him locked up for good. What would Chas. Manson’s parole board say if he had a contract to star in a second re-make of Helter Skelter once he got out?

      • MRW on June 15, 2012, 6:13 pm

        Also, if he’s out on parole, he has to report in. They want a complete pardon for this guy so he can escape the country. He was an American when he was put in jail.

      • Fredblogs on June 15, 2012, 6:58 pm

        I don’t think he meant half a mil now. I think he was saying that was what he got offered for spying in the first place.

        I think the problem with the Pollard case is that other people should get that much time, not that Pollard shouldn’t.

  4. Philip Munger on June 15, 2012, 3:57 pm


    The video link at the bottom of the first paragraph now seems to go only to Blitzer’s intro to the segment with Engel and di Genova. Here’s a link to a Youtube video of the entire feature:

  5. Denis on June 15, 2012, 4:40 pm

    @Michael: “Pollard is the victim and so is Israel, because the U.S. was holding out on them on vital intelligence.”

    That would be about right. Israel is so arrogant they probably believe that they are entitled to all US intel and that the US w/holding any intel constitutes an existential threat.

    It’s amazing how much mileage they try to get out of that existential threat crap. It’s almost as ubiquitous as anti-Semite. Somebody get Abe Foxman on the line. Surely he has something to say about all this.

    • Citizen on June 16, 2012, 6:55 am

      Abe can just point here to this article declaring Obama’s pre-Peres award ceremony stance as “no change” on Pollard simply reflects Obama is anti-semitic:
      Obama’s Attitude Towards Pollard Anti-Semitic – Jewish World – News – Israel National News:

  6. ritzl on June 15, 2012, 5:34 pm

    If I was Obama and wanted to plant a “never saw it coming” haymaker on the chin of the Israel Lobby, I’d let this Pollard thing fester for a few months publicly. Hell, I’d even promote that discussion (but then that would take away the fun “never saw it coming” part). The comments on Blitzer’s blog are 99% emphatically broad-spectrum negative and link Pollard to Israel as a specific bad act and observe this as generic Israeli behavior toward the US (spy and whine).

    I don’t know if Obama is smart or courageous or tough enough to use a “rope-a-dope” strategy against the aggression of the Lobby, but the opportunity is there. A Pollard pardon always seems to crop up at times of political weakness, so the Lobby is obviously sensing weakness in pushing this now. But as Michael Desch says here, the more a pardon is publicly discussed as a possibility, the angrier normal people get about it and who’s promoting it.

    Keep pushing this Lobby people! Keep pushing it.

    • Denis on June 15, 2012, 10:31 pm

      Rope-a-dope, indeed. Obama is a master at that game. Remember how he sucked Donald “b-is-for-birther” Trump into the WH press corps dinner, released his long-form birth certificate on the day of the dinner, and then diced and sliced Trump in front of 3000 people, or whatever? My guess is that before this election cycle has ended there will be a lot of dopes on ropes.

      One of them might be Sabra lawyer Yoram Sheftel who defended, er . . . failed to defend . . . John Demjanjuk and then wrote a book about it.

      Today Sheftel is making a hit with the Israeli press by calling Obama . . . yep, you guessed it! . . . an anti-Semite for refusing to release Pollard.

      Imagine that, a Jew calling someone they disagree with an anti-Semite! What won’t they think of next??

      Of course, Demjanjuk was convicted and then died. I guess if your client gets convicted and dies and you can’t bill him anymore, one way to keep your cash flow positive is to write a book about him. And you keep your name in the press by calling the most powerful man in the world an anti-Semite.

  7. MRW on June 15, 2012, 5:50 pm

    Wolf Blitzer is being disingenuous, but he always was about his: Pollard was not spying for a friendly country. Read Sy Hersh. He knew at the time he reported that Pollard was spying for Russia via Israel.

    This business now of “spying for a friendly country” is absolute bullshit. I remember the incident and trial when I was in Manhattan. What was being kept covered up THEN, kept out of the press because it was the Cold War years, was Israel’s betrayal of the US with Russia. What Blitzer should be telling the nation now–and you’ll understand why he’s still not coming clean if you read the article linked above–is that Pollard was spying for Russia with Israel’s help, and that he and Israel betrayed the US at the height of the Cold War.

    Neither is it sufficient to say that Israel was passing along info to the Russians; could have been pie recipes under that rubric. That does not get at the heart of the issue. It was what Israel was passing to the Russians, which they denied for over a decade afterward.

    Pollard stole a ten-foot foot cube of the nation’s most sensitive documents containing our global nuclear missile sites, launch codes, NATO missiles sites, our complete nuclear defense plan, the names of all CIA assets behind the Iron Curtain, our NOC agents, enough to perform the greatest breach of national history in 225 years. EDIT: And that’s just what sources will admit to. The rest is classified.

    When Russia fell in 1990 or 1991, a high-ranking intel official (had complete White House access) told me directly that now he could exhale after what Pollard had done. That he lived in terror knowing what the Russians had as a result of that traitor.

    Pollard isn’t Robert Hanson. He’s not even Kim Philby. What Pollard did, according to my source, was worse than all of the 20th C spies put together times ten. My source told me he deserves three life sentences and that the US should keep him alive to serve them.

    Now we’re being bamboozled about this in the press is by introducing Israel as the meek friendly nation that Pollard was trying to help. It’s a flat-out lie.

    Pollard genuinely threatened the life of every citizen in this country. And so did Israel.

    • NickJOCW on June 16, 2012, 5:40 am

      US foreign policy and Israeli purposes are often mistakenly conflated. They are, of course, quite separate, they just partially overlap right now much as planetary bodies overlap in an eclipse. It is a dangerous mistake to assume that either consists only in those parts that lie outside the area of overlap. Engel shows himself intellectually or morally deficient in making this mistake and di Genova is quite right to call him dangerous.

    • Kathleen on June 19, 2012, 9:47 am

      Always spinning Israel as a friendly country is also disingenuous. When one former CIA analyst after the next as well as other experts repeat that Israel’s illegal activities have and continue to undermine U.S. National Security…this is clearly not “friendly” Hell they even mentioned this threat to U.S. National Security in the 9/11 report.

  8. atime forpeace on June 15, 2012, 5:57 pm

    Poor poor Pollard, poor poor Israel. whaaaaa!

  9. Nevada Ned on June 15, 2012, 8:57 pm

    I have looked at Pollard’s web page, where his supporters argue he is getting a longer sentence than other prisoners who have committed comparable crimes.

    Believe it or not, I think that argument is right. Pollard is really getting a stiffer sentence than others.


    Because letting Pollard out sends a message. And keeping him in prison sends exactly the opposite message. To the Israelis and their supporters.

    Seymour Hersh, a reporter who has sources in the American intelligence community, has written that among the strongest supporters of keeping Pollard in jail are American Jews who are involved in the always-growing national security community. They want to throw the book at Pollard. In order to send a message to the Israelis, to their supporters, and to possible future Pollards.

  10. piotr on June 15, 2012, 9:30 pm

    It is a bit strange that of tens of thousands of people in prisons who are probably not guilty at all or with absurdly high sentences, honorable congressmen are interested in one.

    Then there is a question in what sense, or why, spying for the friendly country is better.

    However, the advantage of spying for a hostile country is that there exists periodic exchanges of prisoners. Israel should catch some American spies and exchange them. Either Americans have superior intelligence, or Israel has inferior counterintelligence, or somehow we do not have spies in Israel. The latter would mean to me that CIA is not doing its job.

    On a different plane, I see a certain mental paradigm: if you want something, apply pressure without offering to exchange things of value. This is the way we negotiate with Iran, and this is the way Israel negotiates with us. For example, there was a time when Obama wanted to preside over peace talks and tried to bribe Israel into another 6 months of settlement freeze. Netanyahu could add Pollard to the deal, and I guess he would get him. Note that Shalit was not freed by lobbying PA legislators.

  11. Taxi on June 16, 2012, 6:35 am

    “Why hasn’t Pollard applied for parole?

    Self-hating jewish guilt?

  12. Citizen on June 16, 2012, 7:11 am

    Just a side note: Pollard and his new prison buddy Madoff reside in the cushiest prison in the USA. Not bad, considering Pollard gave Israel a map of our missile site defenses against the USSR during the height of the cold war, and he did so knowing Israel would use them as a bargaining chip to get Russia to release Jews to Israel, and Madoff did more than any one man to wreck our finance system. And both did it basically because they were greedy.

  13. Dan Crowther on June 16, 2012, 12:07 pm

    If barry lets this cat walk, i gotta think there will be some new “leaks” out of the “intelligence” community that will make him look terrible. almost makes it worth it.

  14. andrew r on June 16, 2012, 4:32 pm

    Much as coke-addled spies don’t deserve sympathy, it’s too bad Pollard’s taking the fall for Israeli intel. Wouldn’t it be nice if Aviem Sella and Rafi Eitan (There are two Raphael Eitans – this is not the “roaches in a bottle” guy who drowned in the Med) could be extradited? Throw in Peres for good measure.

    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. (Sorry for the freep link)

  15. Gaius Baltar on June 17, 2012, 8:35 am

    “Engel stuck robotically to his script – Pollard received the harshest sentence ever for someone spying for a ‘friendly’ country. The gestalt: Pollard is the victim and so is Israel, because the U.S. was holding out on them on vital intelligence.”

    The Rosenbergs spied for our friend Uncle Joe Stalin and were fried at Sing Sing. So much for the disinformation line about “the harshest sentence” for spying for an ally.

    By Engel’s reasoning, the USSR and Rosenbergs also were victims because FDR wasn’t giving Stalin the results of the Manhattan Project.

  16. Kathleen on June 19, 2012, 9:41 am

    I believe part of the plea deal was that the documents that proved how serious Pollard’s betrayal was were locked in a vault in D.C. never to be really examined or released. Release those documents so all can know just how serious is betrayal was. Damage assessment…..

  17. Kathleen on June 19, 2012, 9:57 am

    Contact the Reps who are pushing for his release. Ask them to push for all documents that have to do with what Pollard actually did be released.

  18. eGuard on June 19, 2012, 10:14 am

    Isn’t James Woolsey (CIA 1993-1995, McCain 2008 advisor) saying a bit too much at 5:12 in the video? “… and Israel is a friend, I think we ought to …”

    “Israel is our friend” as a drive to release Pollard: must be new to Rep. Engel.

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