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In 1985, Jonathan Pollard was an American civilian analyst working for U.S. Naval Intelligence, but he was also spying for three foreign countries.
What was Pollard's motive?
Pollard claimed loyalty to Israel.
However, in his work as a double-agent for Israeli intelligence, "Pollard turned over to the Israelis [America's] entire East European agents and assets network lists that represented a generation of intelligence work to build up. Around 1100 of these people were arrested, tortured, and many of them executed. This was the intelligence failure of all human history, which no American government could admit to for the incompetence that it showed." (ref. Jim W. Dean, PressTV article, 3/21/13)
Israelis traded Pollard's material - including nuclear submarine first-strike codes - to the Soviet Union as compensation for the continued emigration to Israel of Russian Jews who had knowledge of sensitive information or who held unique skills.
James Woolsey, CIA director under President Clinton, was interviewed on NPR this month and asked for his opinion. Woolsey said that Pollard has been in prison for over 25 years and the only spies who are sentenced that long are those who got Americans killed and who spied for an enemy.
Could it be true, as Pollard's prosecutors claimed, that when he gave U.S. Naval tracking techniques of Soviet subs "out of loyalty to Israel," he also sold info to Pakistan and South Africa for significant monetary gain? Mr. Pollard allegedly delivered classified documents by the briefcase load every couple of weeks.
Directors of U.S. Naval Intelligence asserted that Pollard offered his services to a fourth country while he was spying for Israel, and that he betrayed worldwide intelligence data -- including sources & methods developed at significant cost to the U.S. taxpayer. As a result, some of these sources are lost forever. (ref. W. O. Studeman, et al., "Release Pollard at the Nation's Peril", The Washington Post, 12/12/98.)
Mr Pollard was arrested in 1985 and was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995, and has since renounced his U.S. citizenship. Israel has officially admitted that Pollard acted as an Israeli agent while he was a U.S. citizen. (ref. N.Y. Times, 3/21/13)
Pollard pleaded guilty to some charges, averting a trial, and then was sentenced.
Israelis have repeatedly asked for Pollard's freedom. One might ask, should there be any repercussions between friends?
Is this whole imbroglio tantamount to a social engineering operation against the American psyche?
Should the United States quietly acquiesce to Israel's increasingly demonstrative requests for Pollard's freedom?
And if so, at what cost?
Until such a fictional future that Israel becomes the 51st state loyal to the Union, the following statement will remain true:
It is irrelevant that Pollard is Jewish -- what matters is that his highly-destructive espionage actions were repeated many times, resulting in numerous deaths; and that his and his supporters' relentless disinformation efforts provide a downward drag on the morale of the U.S. intelligence community.
Pollard's continued incarceration is an appropriate status.