US rejects calls to free Navy analyst who spied for Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack ObamaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
The White House has rejected persistent calls by Israeli politicians and lobbyists to free a United States Navy intelligence analyst serving a life sentence for giving classified US government documents to Israel. Jonathan Jay Pollard was convicted in 1987 for selling classified information to the Israeli government. Ronald Olive, a former counterintelligence officer for the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service, who led the US Navy’s prosecution of Jonathan Pollard, has described Pollard’s spying activity as “one of the most devastating cases of espionage in US history”, involving the theft of over “one million classified documents”. Recently it emerged that, before spying for Israel, Pollard had attempted to spy on the US for the government of Australia. However, in Israel, Pollard, who is now an Israeli subject after renouncing his American citizenship, is widely considered a national hero. Last week, senior Israeli political figures renewed persistent calls to the administration of US President Barack Obama to free Pollard. According to the Israelis’ reasoning, the life sentence imposed on Pollard is too harsh considering that he spied for a US ally. Last week’s calls were led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who urged the White House to free the convicted spy “in the spirit of the Jewish Passover. Netanyahu said that “the Festival of Freedom of all the Jews should be turned into Pollard’s private one”. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plea was echoed in a personal letter addressed to President Obama by Israeli President Shimon Peres, along with a petition signed by over 80 members of the Israeli Knesset. However, on Monday the White House said that the personal calls by Israeli politicians had no impact on its stance on Pollard’s release. White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told journalists that there had been “no change in our position” regarding the Jewish spy. There are differing views about the Obama administration’s long-term intentions regarding Pollard. As intelNews readers will remember, The New York Times alleged in October of last year that President Obama was ready and willing to free the convicted spy but was stopped at the last minute by Vice President Joe Biden, who told Mr Obama that “over my dead body are we going to let [Pollard] out before his time”.

4 Responses to US rejects calls to free Navy analyst who spied for Israel

  1. Mazen Fakih says:

    Should have spied in Lebanon for Israel. The worst case scenario would have been a light sentence and a parade upon release ;)

  2. pickle head says:

    mazen, i assume israel keeps an army of spies in lebanon, and pollard wd have been just been tripping over all the other israeli spies there.

  3. Iguana Mom says:

    Israelis and the lobbies already traded him off for Marc Rich during pardon gate.

  4. Jared Red says:

    Pollard had done far more damage to American national security than was ever made known to the public; for example, he betrayed elements of four major American intelligence systems. In their eyes, there is no distinction between betraying secrets to an enemy, such as the Soviet Union, and betraying secrets to an ally. Officials are loath to talk publicly about it, but spying on allies is a fact of life: the United States invests billions annually to monitor the communications of its friends. Many American embassies around the world contain a clandestine intercept facility that targets diplomatic communications. The goal is not only to know the military and diplomatic plans of our friends but also to learn what intelligence they may be receiving and with whom they share information. “If a friendly state has friends that we don’t see as friends,” one senior official explained, sensitive intelligence that it should not possess — such as that supplied by Pollard — “can spread to others.” Many officials said they were convinced that information Pollard sold to the Israelis had ultimately wound up in the hands of the Soviet Union.
    With the treasonous arrangement Obama made in 2009 to allow Israel unfiltered access to raw NSA data, it clearly serves as a direct threat to the economic and personal security of Americans and makes a strong case for inevitable prosecution and/or persecution of dual Israeli and American citizens in government positions, particularly those requiring security clearance. The residual damage could even be in play today with the potential conflict looming with Russia. We have Israel as being responsible for trading all those vital military secrets to our so-called enemy in exchange for immigrant quotas. Classic example of how Israel has been stabbing America in the back for so long, there is certain to be a measurable pay-back .

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