Pollard: spy manual "useless", lacked secret codes

The Jerusalem Post - January 14, 1999

American Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard, hoping to win his freedom from a US jail, argued yesterday that a key surveillance manual he gave Israel was useless because it did not contain encryption codes.

Pollard's lawyer Larry Dub made the argument in a letter to President Bill Clinton's attorney Charles Ruff after a New Yorker magazine story said the manual and other documents gravely damaged US intelligence systems.

Clinton is reviewing Pollard's case in response to an Israeli request for the former US Navy analyst's release after 14 years in prison.

'The document in question was not a codes manual, but a frequencies manual,' said the letter, signed by Dub and dated January 13. 'Frequency/signals manuals without encryption codes are useless, as you know, and Mr. Pollard did not have access to such material.'

The letter said Pollard, sentenced to life in 1986 for passing intelligence information to Israel, did not have the security clearances required to handle cryptological data. Pollard has asked Clinton for the right to rebut recommendations the president has sought from security officials for the review, saying they were biased against Pollard.

Clinton promised to review Pollard's case last October during negotiations at the Wye Plantation of a US-brokered interim peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had demanded that Pollard's release be included in the deal.

The idea of freeing Pollard has drawn strenuous opposition from US security professionals who say his release would encourage the United States' enemies.

Writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel; Edgar M. Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress; and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who once represented Pollard, asked Clinton this week to show 'the redeeming quality of mercy' and free Pollard. (Reuters)