Leak cost U.S. spy links to Chinese arms sales

Bill Gertz - The Washington Times - September 8, 2006

Justice4JP Prefacing Note:

Compare the treatment of Ronald Montaperto, who did obvious and quantifiable damage to the US by leaking sensitive classified information to the Chinese for more than a decade, with the treatment of Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard did not damage the US and was not indicted on such a charge. Nevertheless, without benefit of trial Pollard was railroaded into an unlimited life sentence as the result of an 11th hour memorandum to the sentencing judge by then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. In his memorandum Weinberger falsely accused Pollard of treason, a crime which Pollard did not commit, and for which he was never indicted.

Even though Weinberger himself admitted in a 2002 interview that the Pollard case was "a relatively minor matter" that was exaggerated out of all proportion to its actual importance to serve another political agenda, Pollard's security-cleared attorneys continue to be denied access to the 1987 Weinberger Memorandum and therefore cannot challenge the lies it contains in a court of law. Consequently, Jonathan Pollard remains in prison where he is about to begin his 22nd year of a life sentence for passing vital security information to Israel.

Montaperto whose far more serious crimes were down-graded in plea bargain to relatively minor charges, is, by comparison, facing no more than a 4 year sentence!His advocates are pressing for no jail time at all.

The silence from the Government of Israel and the American Jewish leadership is deafening, as once again, the US twists itself inside out to let another spy for China off hook while Pollard continues to rot in prison.

Leak cost U.S. spy links to Chinese arms sales

Bill Gertz - Washington Times - September 8, 2006

A former analyst for the Pentagon's intelligence service provided China with highly classified information prior to the loss of a major electronic spying operation against Beijing, The Washington Times has learned.

The loss of the National Security Agency's eavesdropping operation hampered US efforts to track China's covert arms sales to nations such as Iran, Syria and Pakistan, Bush administration officials said.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they are concerned that the analyst, Ronald Montaperto, who pleaded guilty in June to relatively minor charges related to classified document mishandling, is not being punished properly.

They say both prosecutors and the judge, Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, are not aware of the damage done by Montaperto's disclosures. Montaperto, a Pentagon employee from 1981 until his 2003 dismissal, is being sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

Court papers show that Montaperto admitted he disclosed classified information to Chinese military intelligence officers from 1989 to 2001 but said he could not recall specifics.

A law-enforcement official close to the case said the prosecution of Montaperto was hampered by the FBI's inability to identify the specific classified information Montaperto admitted passing to China. Tougher charges were sought, but prosecutors and the FBI could not document the highly classified data.

The officials say Montaperto in late 1988 provided a Chinese military intelligence officer with details about Chinese missile sales to Iran and Saudi Arabia in 1986 and 1987, and within weeks the NSA program was compromised.

"The Chinese learned from the leaks where the information was coming from and within weeks or months the [communications] links were lost," one official said.

The officials say the compromise has allowed China to counter U.S. protests about Chinese missile transfers that violated Beijing's numerous pledges not to sell weapons to rogue states and unstable regions.

Montaperto could receive 40 to 57 months in prison under sentencing guidelines, but attorneys and friends of Montaperto are seeking leniency and no jail time.

Montaperto has associates among senior intelligence and policy officials at the Pentagon and White House, which is why officials say he likely will receive a light sentence.

Stephen P. Anthony, Montaperto's attorney, declined to comment, as did the Pentagon and officials from the Defense Intelligence Agency, where Montaperto had worked.

Administration and congressional officials say the case was mishandled and that it contrasts with the more aggressive treatment of former State Department official Donald Kaiser. Kaiser made a plea deal but is now under renewed investigation by federal authorities over his mishandling of classified documents and his affair with a Taiwanese government agent.

Several members of Congress and congressional staff said the Pentagon has not provided the House or Senate with any information about Montaperto's disclosures or the potential damage. Senate and House members are conducting preliminary inquiries into the case.

The administration officials said no Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, have written to the judge characterizing the damage from the case.

In 1987, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger wrote a classified memo to the judge that described severe damage caused by the case of convicted spy Jonathan Jay Pollard, a civilian Navy intelligence analyst who passed secrets to Israel. [J4JP: Damage allegations NOT true. See prefacing note above.]

Montaperto was arrested in a sting operation. He was told that he was to lead a new U.S.-Chinese intelligence-sharing program, but that first he had to reveal his ties to Chinese intelligence and take a polygraph test. His admissions led to the plea agreement.

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