No talks this time on Pollard

The Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 1998

WASHINGTON - President Bill Clinton has no plans to discuss the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard during his upcoming three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, according to a senior administration official.

Clinton is awaiting reports from his top advisers on the wisdom of releasing Pollard, who spied for Israel in the mid-1980s.

Israel has been pressing for leniency in Pollard's case, and during recent peace talks at Wye Plantation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was prepared to fly Pollard back to Israel with him.

A U.S. official, speaking on Wednesday on condition of anonymity, said Clinton has made no decision on the Pollard case.

The official said the case was not expected to be on the agenda on the president's trip. Clinton has asked for reports from his top national security advisers, including Attorney General Janet Reno, CIA Director George Tenet, Defense Secretary William Cohen and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The reports are due in mid-January and the process will move from there, the official said.

Another U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed a report by CBS News adding new details to what is known about what Pollard gave to the Israelis. [See "Countering CBSNews Disinformation".]

The espionage cache included a top secret 10-volume manual used by the National Security Agency (NSA) in tapping into foreign communications and protecting U.S. government communications from interception. [Not true. See "Countering CBSNews Disinformation".]

The manual provides a guide to every communications circuit tapped by the NSA as well as every circuit the U.S. government uses for its communications, the official said. [Not true. See "Countering CBSNews Disinformation".]

The CBS report also said Pollard's information enabled the Israelis to identify the CIA's sources inside the Palestine Liberation Organization. [Not true. See "Countering CBSNews Disinformation".] He also told the Israelis of the disposition of U.S. Navy ships in the Mediterranean so that Israel could strike PLO headquarters in Tunisia without being detected. The 1985 raid was carried out with satellite photos Pollard had given to the Israelis.

In part because of the sensitivity of the material sold to the Israelis by Pollard [Not true. See "Countering CBSNews Disinformation".], U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials vehemently oppose his release and have become concerned in recent days that Clinton will make a decision on Pollard this weekend when he visits Israel and the territories.

Tenet told Clinton during the recent peace talks that he would resign if Pollard were handed over.