It's time for me to dive back into the murky waters of Lake Blogistan. I must confess that it was pleasant not
to think about the news for a while.
Let us consider the strange case of Jonathan Pollard, the treasonous former intelligence analyst who had specialized in Soviet matters in the 1980s. Many people who don't know the case well presume that he worked for the CIA; actually, he toiled on behalf of a little-known group within Naval intelligence called Task Force 168. There is some mystery as to how he managed to acquire a security clearance, since the CIA had rejected him due to his history of drug usage. As soon as he had wormed his way into the U.S. intelligence community, he sent feelers out to the intelligence services of both South Africa and Australia
. This was a man who desperately wanted to betray the United States, and he wasn't very picky as to his potential dance partners.
Finally, inevitably, he established a relationship with Israel. In the mid-1980s, Pollard gave the Israelis enough secret documentation to fill a room not much smaller than my first apartment. His treason was uncovered in 1985; in 1987, he pleaded guilty to a charge of espionage.
Until 1998, the Israelis refused to admit that Pollard had worked for them, even though he had taken $1500 a month from spymaster Rafael Eitan. This inability to admit the obvious was a bit like a married man denying an affair while slipping off the condom.
Jonathan Pollard has spent some three decades in prison. During that time, many pro-Israel writers (including -- but of course! -- the beloved Alan Dershowtiz) have argued passionately in favor of his release. The Obama administration now seems determined to let Pollard walk free on November 20 of this year in order to sooth Israeli feelings after the Iran deal. This gesture seems pointless, since Israeli opposition to that wise agreement will remain implacable.
Seymour Hersh revealed that the Israeli leadership sent Pollard's pilfered information directly to the Soviet Union, at a time of heightened Cold War tensions, in return for the expedited immigration of Soviet Jews. The original Hersh piece
, published by the New Yorker in 1999, is behind a paywall, but Justin Raimondo
quotes the relevant portion, which you can also find here
. According to Hersh, former CIA Director William Casey said the following to a station chief:
‘For your information, the Israelis used Pollard to obtain our attack plan against the U.S.S.R. all of it. The coordinates, the firing locations, the sequences. And for guess who? The Soviets.’ Casey had then explained that the Israelis had traded the Pollard data for Soviet émigrés. ‘How’s that for cheating?’ he had asked.”
There was much more, of course -- in fact, we may not even know the worst of it. (And by "we," I mean not just the American public but also the intelligence community.)
Most of the current stories about the Pollard case give the impression that his upcoming release is a routine matter of "mandatory parole," as many journalists have put it. As Raimondo points out, this idea is ridiculous.
There is no such thing as “mandatory parole.” What’s mandatory is that the Parole Commission must consider parole in Pollard’s case, but they are free to deny it on the grounds that a) Pollard violated rules while in custody, and 2) that he may commit crimes if released. Although the government has made it clear it will not oppose parole, both conditions apply to Pollard and constitute grounds for denial.
You've got to wonder about the media automatons who have mindlessly repeated the term "mandatory parole" in story after story. If you Google
the name "Jonathan Pollard" and the phrase "mandatory parole" (in quotes), you'll find that this nonsense has appeared in articles published by The Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, NBC and other major news organizations. This degree of journalistic obeisance is quite remarkable.
Fortunately, Raimondo is at the very top of his game. Until I read his piece, I did not know that Pollard has shown an absolute lack of remorse, preferring to view his continuing incarceration as an example of the gentile world's ineradicable anti-Semitism. Apparently, we are supposed to believe that anti-Semites have run the United States government during the last few decades.
Aside from all this, after agreeing to plead guilty and entering into a written plea agreement, Pollard brazenly violated its terms by doing two interviews with Wolf Blitzer, then a correspondent for the Jerusalem Post. The written plea agreement specifically forbade Pollard from doing interviews, or otherwise engaging in any written or broadcast accounts of his crimes, without the permission of the Director of Naval Intelligence. The intent here was to prevent the public dissemination of any more classified material, and Pollard and his lawyers agreed to these terms in exchange for the promise of leniency for himself as well as his wife, who had assisted him in his crimes. Yet Pollard went behind his lawyer’s back and did the Blitzer interviews, in a clear attempt to chuff himself up as a martyr to the cause of Israel and to mobilize the Jewish community behind him.
Prosecutors – and the judge – retaliated by throwing the book at him.
Many of my readers would become furious at me if I suggested that (say) Leslie Van Houten deserves parole, even though she has been an exemplary prisoner whose remorse is unquestioned.
The Pollard affair is, or should be, a simple matter. Parole may
be justifiable if Pollard has met the criteria -- but if he has not, then the November 20 release will be an injustice. If Raimondo has the story right, then the traitorous Jonathan Pollard should remain in prison until he kicks the habit of arrogance.
I suspect that the Pollard story still has a few hidden compartments. Why was this man given access to so much classified material, even though the CIA had rejected his application due to his history of drug abuse? Consider these paragraphs from his Wikipedia bio:
Pollard was given temporary non-SCI security clearances pending completion of his background check, which was normal for new hires at the time. He was assigned to temporary duty at another NIC Department, the Naval Intelligence Support Center (NISC) Surface Ships Division, where he could work on tasks that did not require SCI clearance. NOSIC's current operations center and the NISC were co-located in Suitland, Maryland.
Two months after Pollard was hired, the technical director of NOSIC, Richard Haver, requested that he be terminated. Pollard had offered to start a back-channel operation with the South African intelligence service and lied about his father's involvement with the CIA. Instead of terminating Pollard, Haver's boss reassigned him to a Navy human intelligence (HUMINT) operation, Task Force 168 (TF-168). This office was within Naval Intelligence Command (NIC), the headquarters for Navy intelligence operations (located in a separate building, but still within the Suitland Federal Center complex.) This may have been due to Pollard's having a friend from graduate school in the South African intelligence service. It was later discovered that Pollard had lied repeatedly during the vetting process for this position: he denied illegal drug use, claimed his father had been a CIA operative, misrepresented his language abilities and his educational achievements, and claimed to have applied for a commission as officer in the Naval Reserve. A month later Pollard received his SCI clearances and was transferred from NISC to TF-168.
Published accounts indicate that his approaches to both the South Africans and the Australians were brazen and unprofessional. It's hard to believe that a reckless man like Pollard managed to escape the detection of both the CIA and the NSA as he offered his wares to any and all buyers.
In short: The overall picture we have is of a man who should never have been granted access to secret material -- yet somehow, he managed to scoop up enough classified goodies to fill an entire room. Did the system fail? Or was something else going on?
It is quite possible that someone "on high" intended for Pollard to pass information on to the Israelis or the South Africans. The information he acquired may have included dis
information -- stuff that we wanted another government to believe.
Such games have been played before.