Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Public Opposition to Pollard's Release Mounts, UAE F-16 Purchase Delayed

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Public Opposition to Pollard's Release Mounts, UAE F-16 Purchase Delayed

Article excerpt

Public Opposition to Pollard's Release Mounts, UAE F-16 Purchase Delayed

Since Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's last-minute ultimatum, later withdrawn, to President Bill Clinton that Israel would not sign the Wye agreement without the release of convicted spy-for-Israel Jonathan Jay Pollard to Israel, articles, editorials, and scathing opinion pieces have been published in major American newspapers urging the Clinton administration to keep Pollard in jail for life.

The most recent volley came from four retired U.S. Navy admirals, each of whom had served as director of naval intelligence between 1978 and 1991. In an opinion piece entitled "Release Pollard at the Nation's Peril," published in the Dec. 12 Washington Post, Admirals W.O. Studeman, Sumner Shapiro, J.L. Butts and T.A. Brooks wrote: "We, who are painfully familiar with the case, feel obligated to go on record with the facts regarding Pollard in order to dispel the myths that have arisen from this clever public relations campaign aimed at transforming Pollard from greedy, arrogant betrayer of the American national trust into Pollard, committed Israeli patriot.

"Pollard pleaded guilty and there-fore never was publicly tried. Thus, the American people never came to know that he offered classified information to three other countries before working for the Israelis and he offered his services to a fourth country while he was spying for Israel. They also never came to understand that he was being very highly paid for his services -- including an impressive nest egg currently in foreign banks -- and was negotiating with his Israeli handlers for a raise as he was caught. So much for Jonathan Pollard, ideologue!" the admirals wrote.

Other items about the U.S.-Israel relationship in general and the Pollard issue in particular brought by the mainstream press to the American public's attention during the recent firestorm regarding Pollard include:

- "The [Pollard] case was a breakthrough for the FBI. Until then, its agents had been forced by U.S. policy to turn a blind eye to Israeli spying in the United States. `We would often catch the Israelis and then be told to let them go,' said one counterintelligence agent." (Washington Times, Nov. 16, 1998)

- "FBI officials counter that `friendly' spying can be as damaging as spying for enemies, they note, as in 1967 when Israeli jets deliberately attacked the electronic intelligence-gathering ship USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans and wounding 171." (Washington Times, Nov. 16, 1998)

- "`Pollard placed at risk thousands of American troops and diplomatic personnel,' said Joseph diGenova, the former U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case. `If people don't think that is serious, then there is nothing I can do to help them." (Washington Times, Nov. 16, 1998)

- "The full damage caused by Mr. Pollard remains unknown, in large part because of Israel's inexplicable refusal to return the most sensitive documents he gave them." (New York Times editorial, Nov. 14, 1998)

- "Justice was served by Mr. Pollard's conviction and imprisonment and should not be upended to placate his sympathizers in Israel." (New York Times editorial, Nov. 14, 1998)

- "As a sign of the difficulty Clinton could face if he commuted Pollard's sentence, Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-FL), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said yesterday that any decision to shorten Pollard's life sentence would be `outrageous. …

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