'Pollard sought intel on Arab countries, not US'

Newly declassified CIA documents reveal former Israeli agent foremost sought information about Arab countries, not US.

Jonathan Pollard red, white and blue (photo credit: Courtesy)
Jonathan Pollard red, white and blue
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Jonathan Pollard delivered nuclear, military and technical information to his handlers on Israel’s Arab adversaries and their Soviet benefactors – not on the United States – when he spied for Israel from June 1984 to November 1985, according to the newly declassified CIA 1987 damage assessment of the Pollard case, published on Friday by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
The damage assessment includes new details on the specific subjects and documents sought by Pollard’s Israeli handlers, such as Syrian drones and central communications, Egyptian missile programs and Soviet air defenses.
The Israelis asked for a signals intelligence manual that they needed to listen in on Soviet advisers in Syria.
They wanted to know about Arab and Pakistani nuclear intelligence, Arab chemical and biological weapons, Arab military readiness, and Soviet aircraft, missiles and air defenses.
The 166-page assessment notes that Pollard volunteered delivery of three daily intelligence summaries that had not been requested by his handlers, but which proved useful to them, and ultimately handed over roughly 1,500 such messages from the Middle East and North Africa Summary, the Mediterranean Littoral Intelligence Summary, and the Indian Ocean Littoral Intelligence Summary, in addition to the more than 800 documents on other subjects that Pollard delivered to the Israelis in suitcases.
“We believe that Pollard responded effectively to the general Israeli taskings, but that he himself exerted the strongest influence on what was compromised by virtue of his own access, interests and collective intelligence,” the document states.
Under the heading “What the Israelis Did Not Ask For,” the document said Israel “did not request or receive from Pollard intelligence concerning some of the most sensitive US national security resources” and did not express interest in US military activities, plans, capabilities or equipment.
The documents describe a dispute among Pollard’s handlers, Rafi Eitan and Yosef Yagur, in which Eitan asked Pollard for “dirt” on senior Israeli officials who were providing information to the US, but Yagur told him to ignore the request and said that gathering such information would terminate the operation.
The damage assessment also features a detailed chronology of Pollard’s personal life and professional career. It says he started dreaming of making aliya at age 12 following the Six Day War and that before he started spying, he complained of anti-Israel attitudes of his colleagues and inadequate US intelligence support for Israel.
The document says that despite what it called “emotional and behavior difficulties,” Pollard gained the respect of his superiors who repeatedly promoted him. It says that he cooperated fully with the investigation against him.
Pollard’s wife, Esther, said the documents proved that her husband should not have to spend a second longer in prison.
“After the release of this secret document, which confirms the truth about Jonathan’s actions and dispels endless lies and canards, there is no excuse for President Shimon Peres to allow Jonathan to continue to rot in prison,” she said. “Mr. Peres is directly responsible for Jonathan’s plight and he can bring the ordeal to an immediate end by acting now. He knows what he has to do. Let him get on with it.”
Esther Pollard called upon Peres to seize the opportunity presented by the release of the secret information, and the fact that it is the US holiday season, to act without delay, to do whatever was needed to bring her husband home immediately before it is too late.
“There are no more excuses on the part of Jewish leaders for silence or indifference,” she said. “This latest revelation should cause an outcry that screams to the Heavens to save Jonathan’s life NOW! Jonathan Pollard needs to be released now!”