New York – Yesterday, confessed Israeli-American spy Jonathan Pollard became a free man, having served 30 years in a North Carolina prison for his flagrant violations of the Espionage Act. As an intelligence analyst for the United States, he provided top-secret classified information to Israel, and was sentenced to life in prison for violations of the Espionage Act.
In 1987, Pollard claimed, in defense of his actions, that he committed espionage only because “the American intelligence establishment collectively endangered Israel’s security by withholding crucial information.” Israeli officials, American-Israeli activist groups, and some American politicians have lobbied continuously and unsuccessfully for reduction or commutation of his sentence.
Although the Israeli government issued a formal apology to the United States in 1987, it did not admit that it had paid him for his services until 1998. Israel granted him citizenship in 1995. Mr. Pollard wants to relocate to Israel with his wife, Elaine, but his parole agreement does not permit that for at least five years.
Numerous active and retired US officials – including Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, former CIA Director George Tenet, multiple former US Secretaries of Defense, a bipartisan group of US congressional leaders, and members of the American intelligence community – have repeatedly opposed any form of clemency for Jonathan Pollard. They maintain that the damage to US national security because of Pollard’s espionage was far more severe, wide-ranging, and enduring than publicly acknowledged. He sold numerous closely guarded state secrets, including the NSA’s 10 volume manual on how the US gathers signal intelligence. Pollard admitted shopping his services – successfully, in some cases – to other countries.
Yesterday, the mainstream media showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, from his office in Jerusalem, welcoming Pollard’s release, saying bluntly that he, Netanyahu, was the prime mover in Israeli efforts to secure Pollard's release.
But what the mainstream media failed to report was that it was Mr. Netanyahu who personally embraced the freed Jonathan Pollard in New York.
Pollard said nothing as he was escorted into a waiting limousine, but Netanyahu, closely observed by a solitary reporter, climbed on a soapbox and said, “I am taking Jonathan with me back home to Jerusalem!”
“I am appointing him as my Personal Confidential Assistant, and on December 25, I will appoint him as my Minister of Foreign Affairs. He doesn’t like John Kerry and he hates Barack Obama, so he is admirably suited for that task.”
“Jonathan Pollard is a truly great Israeli hero. He’s come a long way from Galveston. You’ll be seeing him conspicuously on the world stage as long as I am in charge in Israel.”
Confounded by yet another demonstration of Netanyahu’s contempt for the United States, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the White House is now closely studying how to cut off most (but not all) military aid to Israel.