Analyst who spied on US for Israel speaks out for first time

Jonathan PollardBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
A convicted American spy, who is serving a life sentence for betraying American secrets to Israel in the 1980s, has broken his 28-year-long silence by penning an article in an Israeli newspaper. Jonathan Jay Pollard was a United States Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel in exchange for money from 1984 until his arrest in 1986. Many in US counterintelligence consider him one of the most damaging double spies in American history. But he is widely viewed as a hero in Israel, where many conservative Israelis, as well as pro-Israel Americans, are actively pressuring the US administration of President Barack Obama to release him. In 1998, after many years of official denials, Israel publicly admitted that Pollard had operated as an Israeli agent in the United States. Pollard, who acquired Israeli citizenship in 1995, has so far served 28 years of a life sentence in a US prison. Throughout his incarceration, Pollard has remained silent. But he broke his silence on August 16, by writing an editorial for conservative Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post. In it, he derides Israel for freeing 26 Palestinian prisoners, who were convicted of violent actions against Israel, ahead of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. Pollard claims that most Israelis are against the move to free the prisoners, and describes Israel as a “strange kind of democracy that pays no heed whatsoever to the will of the people”. The jailed spy adds that “Israel is the only country in the world ever to voluntarily expel its own citizens from chunks of its homeland in order to hand over the land to its enemies”. He also reveals his displeasure with his own fate by claiming that Israel “holds unenviable world records for betraying those who serve the state”. In recent months, Israel and its supporters have renewed their pressure on the US to release Pollard. Last spring, several notable Israeli and American citizens signed an extensive petition urging Pollard’s release. They included Israeli President Shimon Peres, as well as several retired generals and Nobel Prize-winning academics. Notable American signatories included former Assistant Secretary for Defense Lawrence Korb, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey, as well as former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger. But in 2011, Lydia Jechorek, Pollard’s FBI interrogator, cautioned against viewing Pollard as an Israeli patriot and revealed that he also spied on the US for South Africa and tried to spy for Australia, before working as an agent for Israel. In an interview aired on Israeli television in March, Obama said he had “no plans for releasing Jonathan Pollard immediately” (emphasis added).

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