Israeli Spy Issue Resurfaces

BBC NEWS - Sunday, December 13, 1998

President Clinton promised an early decision in the case

*[Justice for JP Notes are in italics and square brackets]

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has once more in raised in his talks with President Clinton the issue of Jonathan Pollard, the Israeli spy jailed for life in the US in 1985.

Mr Pollard, an American-born Jew, spied for Israel when he was an employee at the US defence department, passing thousands of documents to Israeli agents.

*[Justice for JP: Not true! The CIA has now backed off from this grossly distorted estimate of the volume of information that Jonathan Pollard passed to Israel. Jonathan Pollard made a total of 11 drops using a small brief case, not a moving van. Fourteen years later the CIA has "recounted" and now accuses Pollard of passing only 800 documents to Israel. Israel insists that the total was 300. See web article Countering CBS Disinformation on Pollard, point #10.]

At the Wye River talks in October President Clinton refused to authorise his release, which almost blocked the agreement.

*[Justice for JP: More accurately, the Wye deal was closed over Pollard. Mr. Clinton committed to release him in return for Israel's release of terrorist prisoners and for waiving the extradition of Gaza police chief and terrorist Ghazi Jabali. Once the deal was closed Clinton reneged at the last moment. See related items on the web, in the 1998 list.]

President Clinton - speaking today at a joint press conference with Mr Netanyahu - promised an early decision on whether Mr Pollard's sentence can be reduced.

"My counsel, (Charles) Ruff, has invited the Justice Department and all...the interested parties to say what they think about the Pollard case, to do so by sometime in January," Mr Clinton said.

"I will review all that plus whatever arguments are presented to me on the other side for the reduction of the sentence, and I will make a decision in a prompt way," he said.

*[Justice for JP: Not true! Not a single unbiased authority, who could present a clear, non-partisan appraisal of the facts has been contacted for input by Mr.Clinton. Nor will Pollard's attorneys or advocates of the case be allowed any say in this review.]

Mr Pollard, now aged 44, was a US Navy employee with access to top secret material at the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US defence department, who used his position to pass large amounts of information to Israeli agents.

*[Justice for JP: Not true! Jonathan Pollard was a civilian analyst for the Navy, whose low level security clearances did not even allow him access to the kind of information that he is being falsely accused of passing. See article Countering CBS Disinformation, on the web.]

Much of what Pollard disclosed to Israeli intelligence is still classified material, *[Justice for JP: Jonathan Pollard's attorneys have never been afforded the opportunity to see the secret charges against him. Pollard has never been afforded the opportunity to face his accusers or to defend himself against false charges levelled against him in secret.] but US sources say he handed over highly sensitive information.

When Pollard was first arrested, the Israeli Government denied all knowledge of him. However, supporters both in Israel and the United States have incessantly lobbied for his release.

A year ago, Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship and the government of Israel pledged itself to try to obtain his release.

*[Justice for JP: Jonathan Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995, and his citizenship papers were delivered to his attorney in a January 1996. On May 12, 1998 the Government of Israel publicly acknowledged that Jonathan Pollard was a bona fide Israeli agent, committed itself to his release and accepted full responsibility for him.]

The sentence Pollard is serving - he has been in virtual solitary confinement for 13 years *[Justice for JP: 7 of 14 years in solitary confinement, all years in harsh and difficult circumstances.]- is the harshest ever passed in the case of espionage for a country America regards as friendly. [True.]

But correspondents say there are powerful lobbies in the United States which do not want to see him let out. The director of the CIA, George Trenet, is reported to have threatened to resign if Pollard were released.

*[Justice for JP: When the threat of a cabinet minister (Tenet) can beat the chief executive officer (Clinto) into submission, that tells us more about who is really running the White House than it does about the Pollard case.]