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MSM avoids central Pollard question: Did Israel trade secrets to Soviets for emigres?


A year back we called for Jonathan Pollard’s release on humanitarian grounds– the guy’s been in prison 30 years. But we’re both a little irritated by the media’s coverage of his crimes. The media aren’t talking about an issue at the center of the case: how much of Pollard’s disclosures were turned over to the Soviet Union, and put others’ lives at risk.

Typical is a New York Times piece on Pollard by Ronen Bergman, an Israeli, saying that the reason Pollard spent so much time in prison was the “nationalistic campaign” mounted by Israelis and his wife, which evidently irked US authorities. Bergman writes:

At the heart of their campaign was the argument that Mr. Pollard acted purely out of concern for Israel’s security, that he stole classified documents only when he found out that America wasn’t sharing information vital to Israel’s security. They also claim that Mr. Pollard has been imprisoned “six times longer” than any other spy – proof of anti-Semitism, in their eyes.

This is simply not the case. The reason that Pollard was kept in prison for so long is that American authorities knew that he had taken a vast amount of US intelligence, including a top secret manual detailing methods for the collection of intelligence around the world. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is adamant that Pollard shouldn’t be freed; he publishes a letter he wrote to his boss George W. Bush in 2001, in which he was joined by seven former Defense Secretaries opposing Pollard’s release.

The Times has ignored the Soviet question here and here. The Washington Post ignored it in the main news story and in a followup story on the extent of Pollard’s damage. Politico merely touches on it. Tim Phelps in the LA Times gets to it nine paragraphs down in his story:

“It was a gigantic amount of information, and stuff of the highest top-secret code word classification,” Joseph diGenova, the Washington lawyer who prosecuted Pollard, said in an interview Tuesday.

DiGenova said that U.S. intelligence authorities suspect that some of the material obtained from Pollard was bartered to the Soviet Union in return for the release of Soviet Jews to Israel, and that U.S. intelligence “assets” in the Soviet Union were compromised and possibly killed as a result.

The American public would be interested to know about this angle; and legislators ought to demand an accounting of the damage before Pollard is freed.

Allan Brownfeld addresses the Soviet issue at Community Digital News:
Some U.S. intelligence analysts believe that documents stolen by Pollard were handed over to Moscow by Soviet moles within the Israeli intelligence service. Neil Livingstone of Georgetown University argued, “There’s no question that Mossad [Israel’s intelligence agency] is penetrated. A lot of what Pollard stole wasn’t related to Israeli security. Israel is a great trader in intelligence. To get an advantage someplace, they get something someone else wants and they create an indebtedness.”

The leading source of the theory is The Traitor, a 1999 piece by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, detailing the allegations that the material ended up in Soviet hands, as a trade for Soviet emigres to Israel:

A number of officials strongly suspect that the Israelis repackaged much of Pollard’s material and provided it to the Soviet Union in exchange for continued Soviet permission for Jews to emigrate to Israel. Other officials go further, and say there was reason to believe that secret information was exchanged for Jews working in highly sensitive positions in the Soviet Union. A significant percentage of Pollard’s documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world, was of practical importance only to the Soviet Union. One longtime C.I.A. officer who worked as a station chief in the Middle East said he understood that “certain elements in the Israeli military had used it” — Pollard’s material — “to trade for people they wanted to get out,” including Jewish scientists working in missile technology and on nuclear issues. Pollard’s spying came at a time when the Israeli government was publicly committed to the free flow of Jewish emigres from the Soviet Union. The officials stressed the fact that they had no hard evidence — no “smoking gun,” in the form of a document from an Israeli or a Soviet archive — to demonstrate the link between Pollard, Israel, and the Soviet Union, but they also said that the documents that Pollard had been directed by his Israeli handlers to betray led them to no other conclusion.

High-level suspicions about Israeli-Soviet collusion were expressed as early as December, 1985, a month after Pollard’s arrest, when William J. Casey, the late C.I.A. director, who was known for his close ties to the Israeli leadership, stunned one of his station chiefs by suddenly complaining about the Israelis breaking the “ground rules.” The issue arose when Casey urged increased monitoring of the Israelis during an otherwise routine visit, I was told by the station chief, who is now retired. “He asked if I knew anything about the Pollard case,” the station chief recalled, and he said that Casey had added, “For your information, the Israelis used Pollard to obtain our attack plan against the U.S.S.R. 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 emigres. “How’s that for cheating?” he had asked.

In subsequent interviews, former C.I.A. colleagues of Casey’s were unable to advance his categorical assertion significantly. Duane Clarridge, then in charge of clandestine operations in Europe, recalled that the C.I.A. director had told him that the Pollard material “goes beyond just the receipt in Israel of this stuff.” But Casey, who had many close ties to the Israeli intelligence community, hadn’t told Clarridge how he knew what he knew. Robert Gates, who became deputy C.I.A. director in April, 1986, told me that Casey had never indicated to him that he had specific information about the Pollard material arriving in Moscow. “The notion that the Russians may have gotten some of the stuff has always been a viewpoint,” Gates said, but not through the bartering of emigres. “The only view I heard expressed was that it was through intelligence operations” — the K.G.B.

In any event, there was enough evidence, officials told me, to include a statement about the possible flow of intelligence to the Soviet Union in Defense Secretary Weinberger’s top-secret declaration that was presented to the court before Pollard’s sentencing. There was little doubt, I learned from an official who was directly involved, that Soviet intelligence had access to the most secret information in Israel. “The question,” the official said, “was whether we could prove it was Pollard’s material that went over the aqueduct. We couldn’t get there, so we suggested” in the Weinberger affidavit that the possibility existed. Caution was necessary, the official added, for “fear that the other side would say that ‘these people are seeing spies under the bed.’ “…

The Justice Department further informed Judge Robinson, in a publicly filed memorandum, that “numerous” analyses of Soviet missile systems had been sold by Pollard to Israel, and that those documents included “information from human sources whose identity could be inferred by a reasonably competent intelligence analyst. Moreover, the identity of the authors of these classified publications” was clearly marked.

A retired Navy admiral who was directly involved in the Pollard investigation told me, “There is no question that the Russians got a lot of the Pollard stuff. The only question is how did it get there?” The admiral, like Robert Gates, had an alternative explanation. He pointed out that Israel would always play a special role in American national security affairs. “We give them truckloads of stuff in the normal course of our official relations,” the admiral said. “And they use it very effectively. They do things worth doing, and they will go places where we will not go, and do what we do not dare to do.” Nevertheless, he said, it was understood that the Soviet intelligence services had long since penetrated Israel. (One important Soviet spy, Shabtai Kalmanovitch, whose job at one point was to ease the resettlement of Russian emigrants in Israel, was arrested in 1987.) It was reasonably assumed in the aftermath of Pollard, the admiral added, that Soviet spies inside Israel had been used to funnel some of the Pollard material to Moscow.

A full accounting of the materials provided by Pollard to the Israelis has been impossible to obtain

Hersh’s piece suggests that Pollard’s disclosure placed a lot of real people at risk:

DIAL-COINS is the acronym for the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Community On-Line Intelligence System, which was one of the government’s first computerized information-retrieval-network systems. The system, which was comparatively primitive in the mid-nineteen-eighties — it used an 8088 operating chip and thermafax paper — could not be accessed by specific issues or key words but spewed out vast amounts of networked intelligence data by time frame. Nevertheless, DIAL-COINS contained all the intelligence reports filed by Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine attaches in Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East. One official who had been involved with it told me recently, “It was full of great stuff, particularly in HUMINT — human intelligence. Many Americans who went to the Middle East for business or political reasons agreed, as loyal citizens, to be debriefed by American defense attaches after their visits. They were promised anonymity — many had close friends inside Israel and the nearby Arab states who would be distressed by their collaboration — and the reports were classified. “It’s who’s talking to whom,” the officer said. “Like handing you the address book of the spooks for a year.”

James North and Philip Weiss

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31 Responses

  1. just on July 30, 2015, 10:50 am

    “The American public would be interested to know about this angle; and legislators ought to demand an accounting of the damage before Pollard is freed.”

    You bet. But will Israel tell?

    “He pointed out that Israel would always play a special role in American national security affairs. “We give them truckloads of stuff in the normal course of our official relations,” the admiral said. “And they use it very effectively. They do things worth doing, and they will go places where we will not go, and do what we do not dare to do.””

    So this is why Israel and the US are ‘best friends’? In addition to the “truckloads of stuff” that the US gives them, they also give them billions of dollars, a free pass on massacres and Occupation of Palestinians, a nod and a wink on international law and war crimes, a guaranteed veto at the UN SC, and a say in all of US foreign policy. (I’m sure that I am forgetting something)

    Thanks very much.

  2. Citizen on July 30, 2015, 11:46 am

    Even though Pollard’s release is, allegedly, not related to the Iran Deal, and that Obama could have prevented it by intervening in fact, Obama can still prevent his jump to Israel in the next 5 years. Watch. He will go to be heralded as a hero in Israel at latter part of this year. He also appears to have a $1M fund set up for him in Switzerland. I hope tabs are kept on this. It will reveal much about reality.

    • Ellen on July 30, 2015, 11:18 pm

      Pollard cut a deal with his handlers (while on his Israeli paid honeymoon in Paris) to receive an annual income for a period of 10 years paid into a Swiss bank account.

      As his gig lasted only 17 months that account was probably long closed, if it ever existed. And in today’s world you can be sure the Swiss are not holding some dinky account for him.

      Warning: this is barf material, but here is an interview with Pollard (who calls the prosecuting attorneys, who are Jewish, kapos); and his wife complains of stomach aches and being in Auschwitz while in a US prison. And then the Dersh — who obviously has no handle on the details of his case, or is lying to distort reality in his defense of Pollard.

      All three of them repeatedly lied in this 90’s interview. It is ugly.

  3. Les on July 30, 2015, 11:53 am

    Some double agents lost their lives. How many? The lack of curiosity by our media is another reminder that it reports not on the Israel Lobby but on its behalf.

    • Citizen on July 30, 2015, 3:16 pm

      The MSM has never revealed to the US public the nature and extent of Pollard’s stuffed briefcases full of data he sold Israel for his own profit. Nor has the MSM revealed Pollard has a photographic memory that make him still lethal to US interests.

      • lysias on August 3, 2015, 3:48 pm

        Even if Pollard has a photographic memory, I wonder how sensitive stuff from 30 years ago is.

  4. Citizen on July 30, 2015, 12:04 pm

    You can google the vast amount of seminal data Pollard gave to Israel, and that he made a lot of money selling it, so Israel could barter it to the USSR for sending USSR jews to Israel, and that other spies were given 3 life sentences for doing less. Also, google how Pollard has a photographic memory and the US Intel community is accordingly now very worried about Pollard’s release.

  5. peterfeld on July 30, 2015, 2:44 pm

    See Tablet, which under the charming sub-headline “The White House continues its Jew-baiting campaign with the reported release of Jonathan Pollard” raises an interesting theory: the timing of the Pollard announcement (for a release that won’t be approved until Nov), pitched winkingly as a concession to Israel, is designed to raise dual loyalty concerns right in the middle of the Iran debate, and remind people that Israel is a bad actor whose interests aren’t ours. (Lee Smith doesn’t put it that way, of course.)

    I think they may actually be right, and it’s brilliant. Hats off to Obama and Kerry!

    • just on July 30, 2015, 3:06 pm

      Thanks for your insight and link.

    • Citizen on July 30, 2015, 3:10 pm

      Please elaborate for us dummies.

      • Ellen on July 30, 2015, 8:50 pm

        The criminal and treasonous traitor will be released on parole. He will be coddled and taken well care of by the Zionist project active in the US — with the Israeli government funding it in the background.

        This will make for ugly optics on many levels.

        Tablet is projecting and accusing Kerry and Obama of releasing a Pollard on parole (which he was already up for) just to trap US Zionists and Israel into looking bad as they inevitably celebrate the release of their man.

      • eGuard on July 31, 2015, 5:40 am

        Citizen, as I read it: it is about Kerry’s dictum: “If Congress rejects Iran deal, Israel will be blamed”. Lee Smith spins this into these accusations: 1. So Kerry says that pro-Israel lobby money buys Congressional votes. 2. Kerry saying so is accusing Congress people being beholden to Jewish and Israeli interests, that is anti-Semitic..

        Quit simply, it is Lee Smith who is making (introducing) the Israel=money and Israel=Jews steps, and from there unescapable “concludes” that Kerry is anti-Semitic. All this in the opening paragraph.

        Then Lee Smith goes on to bring Pollard into his “argument”. First he describes Pollard as a someone who only stole your car because you left the keys in it: it was all CIA’s and Weinberger’s fault and Pollard is the victim. Then, inevitably, he “concludes” that because Pollard is a Jew, those who want him in jail are anti-Semites.

        Next Lee Smith makes a sensible point about the timing (as Peter Feld notes): Obama’s administration opens up talking about Pollard’s release exactly now during the Iran-deal discussion, with this intended effect: while the dual-loyality issue is on the table because of the anti-Iran-deal lobbying, those calling for a Pollard-release are showing their wrong loyalty by supporting the one who betrayed his country (US) for Israel. So the tar is the same: opposing the deal and supporting the Pollard-release is anti-US. Why are you against your country?

        This is what makes it confusing: Lee Smith spins both wrong-loyalty accusations as anti-Semitism, while Peter Feld notes that it is brilliant politics by Obama: no politician can support Pollard now. Being against the Iran-deal is the same as supporting the traitor!

      • Mooser on August 3, 2015, 11:30 am

        “Quit simply, it is Lee Smith who is making (introducing) the Israel=money and Israel=Jews steps, and from there unescapable “concludes” that Kerry is anti-Semitic. All this in the opening paragraph.”

        Who wants to bet me if Lee Smith is one of Hophmi’s favorite writers?

    • Citizen on July 30, 2015, 3:12 pm

      Oh the timing is just coincidental. The decision is apolitical LOL.

    • Citizen on July 30, 2015, 3:24 pm

      Israel has brought in the Pollard thing for 30 years, on every single deal involving Israel in any way. Dual loyalty has been a continuous issue as to Americans, either of jewish background or gentile background, the latter directly related to Aipac -orchestrated donor dollars.

    • annie on July 30, 2015, 4:08 pm

      thanks for the link!

    • straightline on July 30, 2015, 4:45 pm

      In that were the case they would have let him go to Israel immediately on release and receive the predicted hero’s welcome. It is my understanding that he will be required to stay in the US for 5 years.

    • Chu on July 30, 2015, 4:47 pm

      I thought the same thing – dump some unwanted stock (pollard) at the worst
      possible time for the ‘so called’ ally. Comments online about traitor Pollard
      are pretty wicked and a sticky wicket for Israel’s followers.

      But a lot of Zios support the release like Dersh, etc. So who knows.

      • JLewisDickerson on July 30, 2015, 9:57 pm

        Sticky wicket – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        A sticky wicket, (or sticky dog, or glue pot) is a metaphor used to describe a difficult circumstance. It originated as a term for difficult circumstances in the sport of cricket, caused by a damp and soft pitch. . .
        . . . The wicket is the rectangular area in the centre of the pitch (playing field) between the stumps. The bowler bowls the ball from one end of the wicket, it bounces on the wicket, and the batsman hits the ball from the other end of the wicket. The wicket is usually clay whereas the rest of the pitch is grass. The wicket can be affected by rain and sun, causing the ball to bounce unpredictably. A wicket which had been wet would become increasingly difficult to bat on as it dried.
        Such a wicket was referred to as a “sticky wicket” by/for a batsman because the ball’s bounces were unpredictable. . .

    • Ellen on July 30, 2015, 8:41 pm

      That is the only thing that might be right that bizarre article of mis truths and lies contains. Every paragraph is filled with a lie. The author is either entirely brainwashed with a massive dose of BS or a low life propagandist of the first order.

      “However, there is also no doubt that Pollard has paid a much higher price than others who have committed similar crimes by giving secrets to American allies like South Korea, Greece, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia. ”

      That is the first crap in the article. Pollard probably did more long lasting damage than any spy ever. His colleagues in treason were pikers.

      The guy was released because he was finally up for parole as the terms of his sentencing. That’s it.

      That this timed with attempts for normalization of relations with Iran while Israel barks like mad dogs in the night about it might be a happy coincidence. This reminds the Attention Deficit Suffering US public that Israel is neither an ally nor “friend” worthy of the endless support of the American tax payer.

      It is a colonial project based on tribal ideas of exceptionalism , looking out for its own interests. It has neither regard nor respect of the US. Why should it?

      • just on July 30, 2015, 9:04 pm

        Thanks for your comments on this, Ellen. It is Lee Smith, after all.


      • Chu on July 31, 2015, 11:38 am

        Pollard being released is more fuel for the fire. Here’s a zinger of a comment on newsweek:

        ‘Forest Hunter – that Jew’s throat should be slit from ear to ear … and then handed over to the Israeli’s. ‘

        Yikes! – Yoni Pollard sure aint no Alfred Dreyfus affair. But give it a century, and he may be the victim. Hollywood is set to commission a film based on the Jonathan Pollard case.

    • eGuard on July 31, 2015, 5:48 am

      Lee Smith is no Seymour Hersh.

  6. Ellen on July 30, 2015, 3:57 pm

    Time for more on this later, but yes one has to dig deep for what went on with Pollard.

    He was sentenced to life and now up for parole. So after serving his full term he will be out on parole.

    He was originally issued a lighter sentence, and only after the original sentencing was the judge presented with classified information on the extent of the damage and cost to the US. A little more on that here(but it does not cover all)

    I was working with the State dept at the time — and some felt he should never see the light of day.

    I am neutral on his release. But he is a criminal and not only was out to sell information — any information — to any and all governments, he had no concern of damage to other human beings or his country.

    Israel was his only taker. They sold the information on the RASIN networks to the Soviets. To this day Israel has not revealed the details and contents of their sales.

    As for loss of life to operatives in Russia — there is only speculation around that and we will never know.

    There is so much sickening around the Pollard case. That Israel instrumentalized this human scum as a political cause is just one pathetic and sick episode in the Pollard saga. It has not helped Pollard and only harms Israel.

    • lysias on August 3, 2015, 3:52 pm

      I’ve read that Shamir hated the U.S. No doubt this country has done plenty of bad stuff that would justify hatred, but to Israel? No good deed goes unpunished.

  7. RobertB on July 30, 2015, 4:33 pm

    Netanyahu Said To Have Offered Lewinsky Tapes For Pollard

    New critical book on the Clinton family claims that Israel tapped White House phones, blackmailed president with recordings of intern

    By Rebecca Shimoni Stoil

    “July 24, 2014 – “Times Of Israel” — WASHINGTON — Israel attempted to use tapes of former US president Bill Clinton’s steamy conversations with intern Monica Lewinsky to leverage the release of Jonathan Pollard, a new book on the Clinton family’s political enterprises has claimed. In the book, titled “Clinton Inc: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine,” author Daniel Halper relies on on-the-record interviews with former officials together with a close analysis of documents termed “the Monica Files” to paint a salacious – and uncomplimentary – picture of one of the most prominent political families in the United States.

    “Halper said that Israel had found new leverage to push for Pollard’s release.

    “The Israelis present at Wye River had a new tactic for their negotiations–they’d overheard Clinton and Monica and had it on tape. Not wanting to directly threaten the powerful American president, a crucial Israeli ally, Clinton was told that the Israeli government had thrown the tapes away. But the very mention of them was enough to constitute a form of blackmail,” Halper wrote, adding that “according to information provided by a CIA source, a stricken Clinton appeared to buckle.

    Halper noted that “intelligence officials in the United States or Israel will of course not confirm on the record the extent or substance of Israeli eavesdropping,” but also cited an article published in 2000 by the magazine Insight, that claimed that Israel had “penetrated four White House telephone lines and was able to relay real-time conversations on those lines from a remote site outside the White House directly to Israel for listening and recording.” “

    • JLewisDickerson on July 30, 2015, 10:06 pm

      So, if Hillary Clinton becomes president, she will need to be very, very careful not to antagonize Israel! ! !

  8. eGuard on July 31, 2015, 6:18 am

    What is CNN saying about this?

    Their David Starreporter Wolf Blitzer was quick enough and wrong enough to push Pollard on the news agenda when Obama was in Israel. (While the heckler was not referring to Pollard at all).
    Note that Blitzer calls the judgement “stunning”, but Pollards treason is just “some” documents.

    Already in 1989 Blitzer, then working for The Jerusalem Post and a card-carrying Zionist, published Territory of Lies, downplaying the damage Pollard did.

    Before, Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC.

  9. Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 31, 2015, 8:28 am

    Ever since this traitor was arrested, every major Jewish American organization, from ADL, to AIPAC has lobbied and pressured the White House for Pollard shameful release. I wrote several articles about this ungrateful American. I would like to share the last one.

  10. robertsgt40 on November 20, 2015, 12:32 pm

    The prescribed punishment for treason is death. Especially in this case.

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