IN 1983, President Reagan signed the Executive Agreement with Israel, in which Israel and the United States agreed to share all intelligence that was vital to each other’s security. In keeping with the agreement, Israel sent Soviet tanks and planes captured in the Lebanese incursion in the early 1980s to the United States for analysis.
However, when Casper Weinberger was installed as the U.S. Secretary of Defense, secret American policy toward Israel took a nasty turn. American intelligence information that was vital to Israel’s security was being deliberately withheld. This was directly contrary to the Executive Agreement signed in 1983.
Intelligence agents working in the U.S. Navy were particularly anti-Semitic. Jonathan Pollard was an intelligence researcher employed by the United States Navy. Occasionally, he would come across some important information such as Iraqi production of chemical weapons, which Iraq actually used against thousands of Iraqi Kurds. Jonathan would approach his superiors, asking why the information was being withheld. He was told that it was official American policy to withhold the information. Jonathan Pollard wrestled with his conscience for several more months, as he witnessed more and more information vital to Israel’s security being withheld from Israel. He finally decided to relay this information to Israel. In his own words, “I’d rather be rotting in prison than sitting shiva for the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who would have died because of my cowardice.”
A large part of Pollard’s family was murdered in the Holocaust. As a Bar Mitzvah present, Jonathan’s father took Jonathan to Poland. At the age of only 13, Jonathan “toured” Auschwitz, where two million Jews were put to death by the Nazis. As can be expected, this experience had a profound affect on him. As an adult, he had the opportunity thrust upon him to prevent a second Holocaust.
Pollard was indeed “guilty” of transferring intelligence data to Israel, in direct defiance of his superiors. In November 1985, he was arrested and charged with spying on behalf of Israel. His wife, Anne, was arrested one day later, and charged with being an accessory after the fact, due to her husband’s possession of classified defense documents.
In 1986, the U.S. Justice Department entered into a “plea bargain” arrangement in which Pollard was promised that the government would not ask for a life sentence. Meanwhile, Anne Pollard was being held in jail without the medication she needed for a serious intestinal ailment. She was held “hostage” in order to get Jonathan to agree to the plea bargain. During this same 3-month period, a list of all the most powerful Jewish leaders was presented to Jonathan. Various officials tried to get Jonathan to sign false affidavits claiming that one or more of these Jewish leaders were part of a Jewish spy network. However, Pollard refused, and never signed these false documents. As a result, he was sentenced to life in prison.
True justice should have sent Pollard’s superiors (including Weinberger) to prison for withholding information vital to Israel’s security. Meanwhile, Pollard should be rewarded. His information perhaps enabled Israel to bomb the Osirek nuclear reactor in Iraq. At the time, Israel was roundly condemned by President Reagan and the entire world. However, if Saddam Hussein had been allowed to continue, we would in all likelihood be facing a nuclear-armed Iraq today, perhaps with atomic bombs being exported from Iraq to terrorists around the world. We should thank Pollard for rescuing us from this nightmare scenario.
Back in the 1980s, someone was sharing intelligence information to the Soviet Union. There had been many Russians also selling valuable intelligence information to the United States. However, these Russians were being betrayed by someone in the United States. Casper Weinberger believed the culprit was Jonathan Pollard, but couldn’t prove it. I suspect that Pollard was the fall guy, taking the rap for crimes he didn’t commit. Years later, on Feb 21, 1994, Aldrich Ames – a counter-intelligence agent working for the CIA – was arrested for selling valuable intelligence information to the Russians throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s. This information led to the betrayal of many Russians who were spying for the USA. They were then arrested by the Soviets, and were executed for their “crimes.” However, Jonathan Pollard was completely innocent! His only “crime” was sharing important intelligence information with Israel, an ally of the USA.
Jonathan has been brutally treated during over 25 years of incarceration. Send him a word of encouragement: Jonathan Pollard, #091-85-016, Federal Correction Inst., PO Box 1000 Clemson Unit, Butner NC 27509. Write also to President Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 20500. Politely ask him to pardon Pollard.