Pollard Says He Made A "Big Mistake"
May 15, 1998 - Estes Thompson - Associated Press
A former US naval intelligence clerk who passed
military secrets to Israel said Friday (May 15, 1998) he didn't work
against the United States, but made a big mistake in trying to serve two
countries that he loved.
"There is nothing good that came as a result of my actions," Jonathan
Pollard said in an interview in a conference room at the Federal
Correctional Institution here. "I tried to serve two countries at the
same time. That does not work."
The interview with Pollard came after he met with Israeli Cabinet
Secretary Danny Naveh. The official came to North Carolina from
Washington where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks
with the US government on the future of the West Bank.
On Monday the Israeli Government acknowledged that he had worked as an
agent. Naveh said his visit was to inform Pollard personally of the
decision, seen by Pollard's supporters as critical before the US would
consider releasing him.
Naveh said his visit was also designed to draw attention to Pollard in
hopes the United States will take a "humane approach" and release him.
"I can just express my hope that the case will be reconsidered," Naveh
said. "The guy has expressed his regret. He has spent more than 12 years
in prison. It's time for a humane gesture here.
"The emotions of the people in Israel are such that they feel that this
is the right thing to do."
Pollard was sentenced in 1987 to life without parole after a judge
ignored a plea agreement under which Pollard thought he would get a
five-year sentence. He said Friday the sentence he received was
Pollard said his case attracted attention from Israeli citizens because
they serve the government as soldiers and expect the government to
"People could identify with my predicament...because they knew that they
could be in my place through love of the State," Pollard said as a
Department of Defense agent sat nearby, ready to stop the interview if
the topic veered into security matters.
Pollard expressed remorse several times, an expression that previous
Israeli officials visiting him said was important for the US Government
to hear before it might consider a release.
If released, Pollard said, he wants to live in Israel where he has a
water and energy company.
"I'm a very ordinary person who was caught up in an extraordinary
situation," Pollard said.
He said he has learned a lesson. "There can be no justification for
violating the trust given an intelligence officer. I made a mistake," he