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It must be the season. Bibi Netanyahu will press the Obama Administration to free convicted Israeli/American spy Jonathan Pollard. My sources report that Obama has asked the Justice Department to brief him on the objections to doing so, so there is a better than even chance that Pollard will walk. An interesting aspect of the Pollard tale in its current version is that former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb has become a chief advocate for freeing Pollard, flying to Israel to address both Netanyahu and key Knesset members. Korb, who is presumably Jewish, is alleging that the reason for Pollard’s harsh sentence was that former Defense Secretary Cap Weinberger had a “visceral hatred of Jews.” Weinberger is no longer around to defend himself and Korb is conveniently forgetting the roomful of secrets that Pollard passed to his Israeli handlers, information that Israel subsequently agreed to return but never did. Korb also claims that the belief that Pollard passed information that wound up in Soviet hands, leading to the deaths of American agents, has since been found to be false. Funny, I’ve never seen evidence for that and I have spoken to individuals close to the subsequent damage assessment who claim that Pollard’s espionage had a devastating impact, hence the draconian sentence.

Another story getting almost no traction in the MSM is the account of how one Zalman Shapiro is in line for a top US government award for his work as a scientist and inventor. Only problem is Shapiro was president of a Pennsylvania company called NUMEC that is generally believed to be the source of 741 pounds of weapons grade uranium that made its way to Israel in the 1960s. In fact, CIA sources are convinced that NUMEC was the source of the Israeli nuclear program and have said so publicly. Shapiro allegedly met with Rafael Eitan, the same Mossad case officer who handled Pollard.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Israel, Jonathan Pollard 
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  1. eep says:

    It is the best chance for Obama to be loved by the Israelis outside changing his middle name from Hussein to Netanyahu.

    Is it true the Israelis got a hold of the US attack plan on the Soviets through Pollard?

  2. The US defense plan if attacked by the Soviet Union…so I’ve been told by someone who saw the evidence.

  3. tbraton says:

    “My sources report that Obama has asked the Justice Department to brief him on the objections to doing so, so there is a better than even chance that Pollard will walk.”

    There was an article in today’s NY Times about this issue, but all indications there is that Pollard will not gain release.

    According to the article:

    “JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel will officially and publicly appeal to President Obama in the coming days for the release of Jonathan Jay Pollard, the American serving a life term in a North Carolina prison for spying for Israel, Mr. Netanyahu’s office announced Tuesday.
    In Washington, Obama administration officials indicated that Mr. Pollard’s release was unlikely.

    For one thing, the Central Intelligence Agency has fought his release for years; the agency views him as a spy who deserves his life sentence, arguing the release of Mr. Pollard would send a bad message about how the United States viewed people who traded in American secrets.

    Beyond that, Mr. Netanyahu, who has consistently resisted attempts by the Obama administration to extend a settlement freeze to aid peace talks with the Palestinians, is not exactly in good favor with the Obama administration right now.

    White House officials said Tuesday that they had not received Israel’s official request yet. But the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, indicated that when the request did come, the answer would be no. “I am not aware that that’s something that the president is looking at doing,” he said.
    Lawrence J. Korb, who was assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, and who supports clemency for Mr. Pollard, accompanied Mrs. Pollard in the meeting with Mr. Netanyahu on Monday.

    Mr. Korb told reporters here on Tuesday that he had told the prime minister that to “get the ball rolling,” Mr. Netanyahu should ask for Mr. Pollard’s release publicly and “not as a quid pro quo, but as a matter of justice.”

    In addition, Mr. Korb said, Israel should acknowledge that it was wrong to have recruited a spy against its closest ally and should say that it is willing to cooperate fully with the Americans to bring the chapter to a close. ”

    I find the Jewish-American campaign to free Pollard utterly appalling. And they strongly protest when someone raises the dual loyalty issue. I can’t imagine any other ethnic group getting away with this crap. I recall a number of years ago a Greek-American was convicted of spying on behalf of Greece, but I cannot recall one Greek-American ever calling for his release because Greece was an ally of the U.S.

  4. As much as I love Israel, a spy is a spy. Let him rot in jail.

  5. TomB says:

    I see that this Korb business is just part of a fresh push to free Pollard, with thirty-something Congress-people, led by Barney Frank, sending a letter to Obama urging same as well.

    One has to just vomit at this “justice” rationale: Where were Mr. Korb and Mr. Frank or any of the other signers of that letter when that unarmed American-Turkish citizen aboard that Turkish ship in international waters was shot multiple times by Israeli commandos?

    And where were they when an American girl—Rachel Corrie—was crushed to death in suspicious circumstances under the treads of an Israeli army bulldozer while she was protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses?

    Kind of like … not just a license to spy on and even betray us, but now a license to even kill us too.

  6. Freedom says:

    “I find the Jewish-American campaign to free Pollard utterly appalling.”

    I think the fact that Pollard is in jail for a 1/4 of a century is appalling. He admitted he did wrong and when you look at every other case similar to his people are let out after 4-7 years. So why is he in jail? If ths was an American spy in Israel…the Israelis would release him immediately. The State Department are a bunch of hipocrites.

  7. eep says:

    Freedom, what are the similar cases to Pollard?

    If it were Israel, would they release someone whose actions resulted in the Iranians acquiring critical pieces of information regarding Israeli security and resulted in the deaths of Israeli intelligence working inside Iran?

  8. tbraton says:

    “I think the fact that Pollard is in jail for a 1/4 of a century is appalling. He admitted he did wrong and when you look at every other case similar to his people are let out after 4-7 years. So why is he in jail? If ths was an American spy in Israel…the Israelis would release him immediately. The State Department are a bunch of hipocrites.”

    I am not sure what the State Department has to do with the Pollard case since the two government agencies who have been most strongly opposed to the Pollard pardon are the CIA and the DOD.

    You seem to make two points: first, that the life sentence imposed on Pollard is somehow unprecedented and, second, that Israel would not treat an American spy harshly. You don’t even address my main point, which was that no other ethnic group in the U.S. has ever campaigned for the release of someone convicted of spying against the U.S. as the Jews have openly campaigned for the release of Jonathan Pollard (and as you so clearly agitate for in your post). Implicit in any such effort is that the “other country” is more important than the U.S.

    As to your first point, you obviously haven’t heard of Robert Hanssen and John Walker. Hanssen was the Catholic who spied on behalf of the Soviet Union and Russia. “He was then sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.”
    John Walker, Jr. was also convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and was also sentenced to life without parole.

    As for your second point, you are obviously unaware of Yosef Amit, an Israeli who was caught spying for the U.S. and sentenced to 15 years in prison. An interesting twist in Amit’s case was the Israelis once considered offering to release him in exchange for Pollard. “Israeli officials at one point considered offering to exchange the American spy Yosef Amit for Jonathan Pollard, but rejected the idea.” You would think that “America’s greatest ally” would be much more forgiving of someone caught spying for the U.S.

    I was going to propose that Pollard be released in exchange for Israel forgoing its annual stipend from the U.S. of $3+ billion, but reading about Amit made me realize that my humane proposal probably wouldn’t get much hearing from the Israelis.

  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Pollard should be put on the next cruise out of Norfolk and set adrift in a lifeboat outside US territorial waters.

    Then send his coordinates to survivors of the USS Liberty.

  10. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    justice: No. We aren’t done with him yet. The reason he’s always got that smirk on his face is because he hasn’t told us everything. And he hasn’t told us everything because he’s still living in civilian justice land.

    If we aren’t going to fry him like the Rosenbergs, we ought to render him to Turkey or Egypt for a little tenderizing and then throw what’s left in Gitmo.

  11. Two-and-a-half decades in prison? I’d be inclined to release him, BUT: Doing so would be seen by Baby Nut & Yahoo as yet another American capitulation. Let Pollard rot.

  12. Remember, this traitor was a serving military officer & took money for his crimes. That sort of betrayal deserves death, no exceptions. The Walkers should have been shot, having caused enormous damage, but they at least cooperated with investigators – a debrief in such circumstances is extremely important – and may be why they got a pass. Pollard has never fully disclosed everything he delivered. Hanssen was a doofus federal agent snared in a honey trap. In terms of villainous conduct, what he shared shouldn’t cause him to be mentioned on the same page as Walker, Ames, or this freier, yet he got life. More importantly, he hasn’t whined about it.

  13. tbraton says:

    “Remember, this traitor was a serving military officer & took money for his crimes. That sort of betrayal deserves death, no exceptions.”

    Not that it makes any difference and not that I disagree with your conclusion, but Pollard was a civilian working for the Naval Intelligence Service. “Jonathan Jay Pollard (born August 7, 1954 in Galveston, Texas) is a former civilian intelligence analyst who was convicted of spying for Israel.”

  14. tbraton, thank you for the heads-up, I stand corrected. That wikepedia entry is shocking, and as a former director of Naval Intelligence is quoted therein “. . . Admiral Shapiro stated that he was troubled by the support of Jewish organizations for Pollard: “We work so hard to establish ourselves and to get where we are, and to have somebody screw it up… and then to have Jewish organizations line up behind this guy and try to make him out a hero of the Jewish people, it bothers the hell out of me”.” Me, too.

  15. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Jonathan Pollard will die in Israel, not in prison. I am amazed that the Clinton and Bush administrations held a tough line with this case. Given Obama’s popularity problem in Israel, releasing Pollard will be seen as an easy way to burnish his image in the “51st State.” Remember, folks, Israel pulls the strings in this relationship–look at the 20 F-35s and other incentives we were offering for a 90 day settlement building moratorium.

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    When I first read about J Street I thought, well, maybe there’s hope that American Jews are about to blow the whistle on AIPAC. I think Phil Weiss had such hopes too. But now it seems that J Street itself is half-owned by an Israeli! The usual story of venality and quasi-espionage ensues.

    This situation would be laughably absurd if the results weren’t so expensive and dangerous. But there you have it, the interests of American Jews and Israel are so completely tangled up in this country that the Israeli left has to set up a lobbying group in DC to counter the successes in twisting American domestic politics achieved by the Israeli right.

    When in God’s name is Congress going to make these people register as foreign agents like everybody else? In a clean, healthy country there would be no discussion of releasing filth like Pollard. That we continue to hear about him at all is because we continue to allow fundamentally treacherous organizations like J Street or AIPAC to exist.

  17. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Why is this Pollard guy still a major issue? He’s no Jewish hero. He’s an American who approached Israel and sold information that apparently made it’s way to the Soviet Union in exchange for lifting restrictions on immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel and cost us dearly in intelligence and lives.
    From what I gather he was originally paid in pricey jewerly and $10,000 and then placed on a $1,500 monthly “retainer”.
    It’s upsetting enough that there is a clamoring of support for Pollard from a number of American Jews solely because he gave the secrets to Israel, but he didn’t only offer his treachery to the Jewish State. South Africa also obtained US documents from Pollard and he also offered his services to Australia, which, as a loyal ally, refused.
    Pollard will end up in Israel and be hailed a hero where he already has a public square named in his honor. In 2015 he will be up for parole and he’ll get it because he’s been a behaved inmate and according to the rules he will have earned it. He doesn’t deserve to get sprung before that.

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