Spy's Wife Rages At US Flip-Flop

October 24, 1998 - Greg MacDonald - The Toronto Sun

US President Bill Clinton's flip flop refusal to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard is a personal tragedy that puts the safety of Israel at risk, his Toronto wife says.

"I'm as afraid for Israel as I am for Jonathan," said Esther Pollard, a Toronto resident who has been fighting for her husband's freedom for years.

She said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inability to secure her husband's release shows that Israel can't trust the Americans to uphold crucial security measures in the Mideast accord.

"If America can't trust Israel with one agent, how can we trust them with the security and safety of an entire nation?"

The signing of the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement was delayed several hours yesterday as the Israelis and the Americans argued over the release of Pollard, a former US Navy intelligence analyst jailed for life for spying for Israel.

The impasse was over when Clinton agreed to review Pollard's case. An anonymous Israeli official confirmed the US earlier agreed to the release and then backed off.

"He gave his word this morning that he would release Pollard and by this afternoon he reneged, Esther Pollard said.

She said that the release is being blocked by elements within the US defense and intelligence establishments. The same forces will undermine the peace accord, she said.

Jonathan Pollard has already spent nearly 14 years in prison for passing classified information to Israel - three times as long as anybody else in US History for a similar offense, his wife said.

She said Pollard gave information to Israel about "America's covert policy of arming Iraq with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons intended for use against Israel."

He received a life sentence in 1985 with no parole despite a plea bargain agreement for the offense that usually gets two to four years.

Esther said her husband spent his first year in an asylum (for the criminally insane - not as a patient) where he was kept "naked and without his reading glasses". Since then he has been in federal prisons and has been "almost 8 years in solitary confinement." He is currently in a federal prison in Butner N.C.