Saturday, June 23, 2012

Yet Another Jonathan Pollard Apologia

You may be vaguely familiar with the name "Jonathan Pollard." He was an American civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy who sold secrets to Israel in the mid-1980s, was caught in 1985 by the FBI at the gates of the Israeli embassy in Washington (the Israelis refused to let him in), and pled guilty in May 1986 to a charge of 'conspiracy to provide national defense information to a foreign government.' He has been in prison ever since, now 27 years.

Pollard's name tends to come up every four years, when US Presidents end their terms and traditionally issue presidential pardons.  Like clockwork, supporters of Pollard and friends of Israel mount strenuous and public campaigns to pardon and free him.  And every time, Republican and Democrat presidents alike have always declined to do so.

Veteran CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer interviewed Pollard in prison in 1987, when Blitzer was then the Washington correspondent for the Jerusalem Post,  and wrote a gripping book about the whole affair in 1989 called "Territory of Lies."

Pollard's current defense lawyers have written a new, sympathetic piece for CNN titled "The Truth About Jonathan Pollard" that you can read HERE. The third sentence is the core assertion always made by Pollard apologists. "Mr. Pollard is serving his 27th year of an unprecedented sentence of life in prison for delivering classified information to the state of Israel, a close ally of the United States."

Among the many relevant things that go unmentioned in this piece, however, is that Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in March 1987 in part because and he his wife were widely viewed to have violated their respective plea agreements with the government by giving multiple, defiant interviews to the press, including a notorious 60 Minutes interview, during which they sought to excuse their actions by wrapping themselves in the cause of Zionism. This post hoc rationalization, however, is at odds with the fact that Pollard received over $10,000 in cash from the Israilis, as well as diamonds and other jewels (and had agreed to be paid a further $1,500 a month), in exchange for the information he turned over to them, and that Pollard also stole information about China and provided it secretly to his wife (to help her own business), which documents were later found in their home after it was raided by authorities.

Two years ago, I wrote about the Pollard case in more detail HERE (a post that also includes photos of Pollard and a link to video).

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