Wednesday, October 13, 2010



Spare a thought for poor Jonathan Jay Pollard, the U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who passed national security secrets to the Israelis two decades ago. He and his supporters had hoped, perhaps even expected, a presidential pardon or commutation of his prison sentence as George W. Bush prepared to leave office earlier this week. Despite a huge lobbying campaign that jammed the White House switchboard, this notorious spy remains behind bars. 

Poor Jonathan Pollard. Never one to show remorse for his dirty deeds, he still clings to a delusion that he was merely assisting an ally who had the right to know U.S. defense secrets. He uses this rationalization to mask a sociopathic mind and 007 complex, a lethal combination in intelligence work.

"Pollard is a narcissist," Ronald Olive told The Investigator

Olive, a retired Naval Investigative Service counterintelligence officer, should know. Not only did he write the definitive book on the Pollard case (Capturing Jonathan Pollard, Naval Institute Press, 2006), he was intimately involved in the investigation that brought Mr. Pollard to justice. 

"He set out to be a spy," said Olive. "It did not matter for whom. It was all about him. It just so happened that Israel took him on."

Early on, Pollard displayed many signals about his instability. Sadly, his colleagues and superiors at the Naval Fields Operational Intelligence Office put his odd behavior down to "eccentricity," even though he carried a courier card that allowed him access to top- secret documents from a full spectrum of intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, and Defense Intelligence Agency.

For instance, soon after receiving his clearance to be an analyst, Pollard ludicrously proposed creating a backchannel collection operation against the South African government through the naval attachè at the South African embassy, while lying that his father, Morris Pollard, had served in the CIA. On other occasions, he would arrive late to meetings, sweating and disheveled, and announce that Irish terrorists had kidnapped his wife; that he'd spent the weekend chasing them around Washington D.C. to negotiate her release.

The CIA had earlier rejected Pollard's application for employment after he admitted extensive use of illegal drugs. Later, when naval intelligence conducted a pre-employment security check on Pollard's background, the CIA would not reveal why they had shown him the door, on the erroneous assumption that it would violate his right to privacy.

And then, when Pollard was finally caught red-handed improperly removing classified material from his office, the FBI wanted to fob off doing anything about it because they were too busy on other matters.

Poor Jonathan Pollard passed more secrets to a foreign power (360- plus cubic feet of paper), in the shortest amount of time, than any spy before or after him. 

He did so for a mere $2,500 a month and a couple first-class trips to Israel and Europe. 

The Israelis also paid for his wife's engagement ring.

But mostly Pollard spied to exercise his 007 complex and fuel his mammoth ego.

In exchange for Pollard's cooperation to conduct damage assessment, the prosecution agreed not to press for life imprisonment. Pollard, and his wife and co-conspirator, Anne, then breached the agreement by speaking to the media.

Prosecutors nonetheless remained true to their word and did not demand a life sentence. Judge Aubrey Robinson, however, was under no such constraint. Confronted with the breadth of this spy's treachery, the judge, in 1987, sentenced Pollard to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

Sentencing guidelines dictate that Pollard will be set free in 2015.

President Bill Clinton almost pardoned Pollard in 1998 under pressure from Israel, whose leaders took more than 10 years to officially admit he spied for them. Brazen Bill was not one to shy away from pardons of impropriety; indeed, he pardoned Marc Rich on the last day of his presidency after the fugitive's ex-wife, Denise, donated hugely to the Clinton Library.

But on Pollard, even Bill balked after CIA Director George Tenet got wind of it and threatened to resign if this traitor were set free. Tenet represented the intelligence community's view that those who betray their country should serve their full sentence.

So spare a thought for poor Jonathan Pollard, languishing away at Butner Federal Correctional Institution in North Carolina. Think of how much he deserves a prison cell. 

Think of him sitting there, craving more attention.

Other traitors, Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, will never be set free. Their life sentences mean life. And since espionage is now a capital offense, they're fortunate to have copped a plea that evaded execution.

So what does the future hold for Jonathan Pollard?

Well, seven more years of prison.

And after 2015?

"He will undoubtedly move to Israel and try to claim back-pay he believes the Israelis owe him," Ronald Olive told The Investigator. "He thinks he is a hero in Israel. He has built up a support base there, and I fully expect he will run for a seat in the Knesset (Israeli
parliament), and win."

In other words, for allowing Pollard to spy for it, resulting in its huge embarrassment when he confessed, Israel will finally get what it most deserves.