Pollard revisited: Why the life sentence?

Jonathan Pollard hits a nerve among American Jewry, and for good reason: his arrest and continuing punishment open us, at least those of us less secure about our position in the US, to the charge of “dual loyalty.” Although I am not aware of any other “hyphenated” Americans threatened by the “hyphen (German-, Italian-, Irish-,)” I would be the last to not appreciate that 2000 years of persecution; that the Holocaust but 68 years ago: Jews should be wary of being to prominent. Especially when our “loyalty” is brought into question.

My recent article on Pollard, America after the Holocaust: A page from Soviet justice: the Pollard Show Trial, received a suggestion that the reason Israel’s American spy is condemned to die in prison is due to secret information he may not even have been aware of being transferred to Israel, and possibly beyond, an operation somehow still alive three decades later. Possibly. But even if so that still does not explain how Jonathan Pollard passed “vetting” and was hired as a Naval Intelligence analyst, how this outspoken Zionist found himself in a job that precisely allowed him access to such information and then positioned him in the intel team dealing with, you guessed it, Israel, providing first-hand knowledge that the Weinberger Defense Department was violating America’s Memorandum of Agreement. Interesting that a dedicated Zionist would by “chance” find himself at the precise time and place to know that Israel was being denied information regarding Iraq’s nuclear bomb program and arms shipments destined for PLO terrorists.

Much as I respect both of you (two Israeli participants in my blog), while a secret “penetration” is somewhat above my pay grade that still would not explain how it was Pollard was first rejected by the CIA only a short time later finding a job in the Weinberger Defense Department’s Naval Intelligence as an analyst. That he immediately raised concerns and protests by those above him at NI, was recommended for dismissal or at least have his security pulled is a matter of record. I don’t know how someone might interpret the fact that not only was he not fired but serially promoted with ever higher security clearance, finally finding himself (now this is a tough one!) a member of the team tasked to exchange intel with ISRAEL? How might any rational and unbiased person interpret this chain of events except as a purposeful manipulation of Jonathan’s employment?

We could always write it off to stupidity, blindness, ignorance, incompetence…. And clearly the recent fiasco in Boston points to all this for US intel. But the links in Pollard’s short career at Naval Intelligence are just tooooo obvious not to be purposeful. And if, as I have understood for more than twenty years, it was intentional, that Jonathan was “serially promoted” until tasked with tracking Arab terrorism, etc; pardon me for considering the one obvious motive in this unlikely chain of otherwise inexplicable events as pointing to him being placed there to serve a purpose other than his obvious talents would provide.

Pollard, and by extension, Israel, was set up for a “higher purpose:” fall guys available if and when Reagan administration criminality in Iran-Contra, otherwise known as Irangate, came apart and went to press.

Is it possible that Jonathan unwittingly came upon some deep intel operation still in process? It’s possible. But it changes nothing regarding the Pollard Affair as it unfolded. And as far as Jonathan’s 28 years towards a death sentence for a petty crime measured against such as CIA spymaster Ames having sold (Pollard was forced by his handlers to accept salary, or not be accepted. Standard policy, I was told at the time, by all intel services for a walk-in: insurance they wont be a “walk-out”!) his own spy networks to the Soviets costing how many lives. And both received essentially the same sentence?

Let’s keep it simple, shall we? Antisemitism-anti-Zionism is alive and well in the US Government bureaucracy.

About the Author
David made aliya in 1960 and has been active in Jewish issues since. He was a regional director for JNF in New York, created JUDAC, Jews United to Defend the Auschwitz Cemetery during that controversy; at the request of Jonathan Pollard created and led Justice for the Pollards in 1989.