C.I.A. Chief Vowed to Quit if Clinton Freed Israeli Spy
November 11, 1998 - The New York Times
(NOTE: JUSTICE FOR JONTHAN POLLARD COMMENTS APPEAR IN CAPS TO BRIEFLY DISPEL DISINFORMATION.)
By JAMES RISEN and STEVEN ERLANGER
WASHINGTON -- During the Middle East peace talks last month
in Maryland, the director of the C.I.A. told President Clinton he would
resign if Clinton agreed to release the spy Jonathan Jay Pollard,
according to several administration officials.
The director, George Tenet, who was directly involved in the
peace negotiations, gave his warning to President Clinton after learning
that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had made Pollard's case a
key bargaining point, officials said.
In the end Clinton turned down Netanyahu's request, and the
matter did not prevent the negotiators from reaching a peace accord.
Tenet refused to comment on the matter Tuesday, as did a
spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Tenet's threat to resign was a direct reflection of the depth of
anger against Pollard that lingers among U.S. intelligence and law
enforcement officials 13 years after the former naval intelligence
analyst was arrested for passing top-secret documents to Israel. He is
now serving a
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement circles insist that the
American spy should never be freed and dismiss the fact that he acted on
behalf of a friendly nation. But the far right in Israel has made
Pollard's release a celebrated cause -- and Netanyahu has raised it
with the president virtually every time they have met.
During the recent talks, Netanyahu told Clinton that he needed
Pollard's release in order to win over the right wing of his coalition
to the peace agreement, according to senior American officials.
Clinton was open to what Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat, said they needed to help sell the peace agreement to their
constituencies, these officials said. The president was considering
Pollard's release, they officials said, when Tenet spoke up. "It was
clearly on the table," said one U.S. official.
While a White House spokesman, David C. Leavy, refused to
comment on whether Tenet threatened to resign over Pollard, he did say,
"At no time did the president make a decision to release Mr. Pollard."
(JUSTICE FOR JP: EYEWITNESS REPORTS STRONGLY CONTRADICT THE WHITEHOUSE VERSION OF EVENTS).
During the conference, at Wye Mills, Md., Clinton had been
"impressed by the force of Netanyahu's arguments" on the Pollard matter,
The president then went back to consult with his advisers,
including Tenet and national security adviser Sandy Berger, and
eventually decided that he could not agree to Netanyahu's demand, Leavy
Ultimately, the opposition to releasing Pollard was persuasive,
administration officials said. Clinton, who twice before denied
Netanyahu's calls for releasing the spy, agreed only to review the case
again, for the third time in five years.
Officials say that Tenet believed that he would lose his
credibility with his rank and file in the intelligence services if he
were to agree to Pollard's release.
"He knew that he was closely associated with these peace talks
-- it wasn't like he was back at headquarters -- and he couldn't
distance himself from this decision," one U.S. official said of Tenet.
Tenet's resignation would have forced Clinton to find his fourth
C.I.A. director in less than six years -- making the post one of the
most difficult and intractable personnel problems to plague his
administration. Twice Clinton has had to stand by and watch as his
nominees have been forced to withdraw before being confirmed by the
Senate, and twice the president has had to find backup candidates.
Tenet, 45, who was named director of Central Intelligence in
1997, pledged to remain in the job for at least four years in an effort
to provide the agency with some stability.
Since arriving at the C.I.A.'s Langley, Va., headquarters in
1995, first as the C.I.A.'s deputy director, Tenet has worked to revive
the morale and provide a new focus after the cold war while winning
increased funding from Congress.
The Pollard case was one issue on which it was impossible for
Tenet to straddle both his political and intelligence constituencies.
As soon as word leaked out that Pollard's freedom had become a
bargaining chip in the Middle East talks, U.S. law enforcement and
intelligence officials went into nearly open rebellion, complaining that
the president should not release someone who had so flagrantly
betrayed national security. Accepting a Pollard deal with Netanyahu
would have forced Tenet to side with the White House against his own
"If Pollard had been released, George would have had no choice
but to resign," said one senior congressional official involved in
The anger within the intelligence agencies was fueled by the
fact that, during the 18 months he spied for Israel in 1984 and 1985,
Pollard stole more top-secret documents than almost any other spy in
American history. ( JUSTICE FOR JP: THIS IS UNSUBSTANTIATED HYPERBOLE!)
"He stole huge amounts of intelligence, measured in cubic
yards," (JUSTICE FOR JP: THE CIA USES A FICTIOUS FORMULA TO MULTIPLY
EXPONENTIALLY THE VOLUME OF THE DOCUMENTS THAT THEY ACCUSE JONATHAN OF
FACTS PAGE FOR FORMULA. THE FICTIOUS FIGURE THE CIA
ARRIVES AT WOULD HAVE REQUIRED POLLARD TO USE A MOVING VAN! POLLARD MADE
11 "DROPS" AND ALL THE MATERIAL FIT IN A SMALL BREIFCASE.) said R. James
Woolsey, former director of Central Intelligence, who recommended that
Pollard be denied clemency when his case was first reviewed by President
Clinton in 1993.
He took thousands of pages of the government's most sensitive
intelligence, (JUSTICE FOR JP: THIS WAS INFORMATION THAT WAS
ROUNTINELY PASSED TO ISRAEL BEFORE IT WAS ILLEGALLY EMBARGOED BY THE
LIKES OF INMAN AND WEINBERGER. SEE AUGUST 1998 ARTICLE BY ANGELO
CODEVILLA.) including many concerning Soviet weapons system
designs that came from Russian spies recruited by the C.I.A., as well as
codes (JUSTICE FOR JP: JONATHAN POLLARD NEVER HAD ACCESS TO ANY CODES) and large caches of information from American spy satellites and
listening posts. The information of great interest to Israel because
its Arab opponents used Russian weapons.
He betrayed some of America's most sophisticated espionage
technology, and handed over so many documents that his Israeli handlers
had to equip a secure Washington apartment with a high-speed photocopier
and photographic equipment to absorb it all. (JUSTICE FOR JP: THIS KIND
OF EQUIPMENT IS STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE, AND HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH
THE VOLUME OF MATERIAL. SPEED AND EFFICIENCY ARE OPERATIVE WORDS IN THE
WORLD OF ESPIONAGE. AGAIN, POLLARD MADE A TOTAL OF 11 "DROPS"
USING ONLY A SMALL BRIEF CASE, NOT A MOVING VAN!)
Israel has refused to return those documents ever since, and
U.S. intelligence officials say that the lack of Israeli cooperation has
made it impossible for U.S. investigators to resolve one of the most
sensitive questions raised by the Pollard case -- whether any of the
thousands of pages of top secret documents he passed on might somehow
have ended up in the hands of America's enemies, including the Soviet
Union. (JUSTICE FOR JP: 14 YEARS LATER, IT IS CLEAR FROM SUBSEQUENT
EVENTS THAT NONE OF THE INFORMATION PASSED BY POLLARD TO ISRAEL WAS EVER
GIVEN TO THE SOVIETS. THIS IS JUST MORE SMEAR AND SPIN) Such an outcome
would have given the enemies knowledge of what American intelligence
had learned, and perhaps how.-30-
A FURTHER JUSTICE FOR JONATHAN POLLARD NOTE
RE: MEMO FOR INCREASED US- ISRAEL SECURITY COOPERATION
THE MEMO OF INCREASED SECURITY COOPERATION THAT WAS JUST SIGNED BY
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU AT THE WYE SUMMIT IS
JEOPARDIZED BY THE CIA'S POSITON ON POLLARD.
THE CIA CLAIMS THAT THE INFORMATION POLLARD SHARED WITH ISRAEL IS SO
DAMAGING TO THE US THAT POLLARD CAN NEVER BE FREED. YET THE
INFORMATION-SHARING AGREEMENT SIGNED BY CLINTON AND NETANYAHU IS SO
BREATH-TAKING IN SCOPE, IN QUALITY OF INFORMATION AND DEGREE OF
COOPERATION TO BE EXTENDED BY THE US TO ISRAEL THAT IT BY FAR SURPASSES
ANYTHING POLLARD MIGHT HAVE SHARED 14 YEARS AGO.
THEREFORE IF THE CIA BELIEVES THAT POLLARD WHO SHARED SO MUCH LESS WITH
ISRAEL CAN NEVER BE FORGIVEN FOR THE "DAMAGE" HIS SHARING CAUSED, HOW
CAN ANYONE BELIEVE THAT THE CIA ACTUALLY INTENDS TO HONOR THE AGREEMENT
TO SHARE SO MUCH MORE WITH ISRAEL?
EITHER THE CIA'S POSITION ON POLLARD IS SPURIOUS, OR IT INDEED FEELS
THAT ISRAEL DOES "KNOW TOO MUCH". IF THAT IS SO, THE CIA WILL THEN WORK
TO UNDERMINE AND SABOTAGE THIS NEW ENHANCED INFORMATION-SHARING
AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE TWO NATIONS.
CIA Aims at Pollard for Scapegoating
Jonathan Pollard - Accused in the Media, Never in Court