CIA: Jonathan Pollard Is In Prison Because He's Jewish

By Karen Levy
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem — February 9, 2014 ... There have been many senior US officials who have called for Israeli Jonathan Pollard to be released, but none ever came from this highest of security institutions. Former CIA Director James Woolsey reiterated his call for the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard, now in his 29th year behind American bars over charges of spying for Israel.

Speaking to the Israel News Agency, Woolsey stated: "It's enough. After a quarter century the time has come to free Pollard. That doesn't mean that what he did wasn't serious, I've seen the materials in 1993 and what he disclosed was very confidential content. But I tell people 'imagine he's a Greek American and free him."

Jonathan Pollard was a civilian American Naval intelligence analyst when he gave thousands of classified documents to his Israeli handlers. In the mid 1980's, Pollard discovered that information vital to Israel's security was being deliberately withheld by certain elements within the US national security establishment.

Israel was legally entitled to this vital security information according to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries.

Pollard was arrested in 1985 and later sentenced to life in prison.

In 2012, Woolsey wrote a highly critical letter to the Wall Street Journal, in which he illustrated examples of various spies released after 10 years, calling on the US to "pretend Pollard isn't Jewish and release him." He noted that "one especially damaging Greek-American spy, Steven Lalas, received a 14-year sentence."

The argument that Pollard's ongoing imprisonment is a result of US anti-Semitism was made by Tablet magazine and by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in January.

Israel Construction and Building Minister Uri Ariel responded to Woolsey's comments, calling them a "stinging indictment" of the American government, which has "left Pollard to rot in jail from anti-Semitism and nothing else. I call on US Secretary of State John Kerry and US President Barack Obama to prove that isn't true, to act humanely and free Pollard immediately."

Israeli MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) similarly responded to Woolsey's comments, saying "the US itself can't logically explain not releasing Pollard from jail after 29 years. True friendship is expressed by little kindnesses and mutual understanding. If Israel is asked and able to make such large concessions for its enemies, how much more so should it be expected between friends."

"If the US is indeed our greatest friend, it needs to free Jonathan Pollard immediately," added Shaked.

Woolsey, who was head of the CIA under President Bill Clinton's administration, stressed that the US doesn't need to spy on Israel.

"America has understandings with the Canadians, Australians, and the British not to spy on each other. We also have an excellent relationship with Germany and Israel, and I think we don't need to spy on them," noted the former CIA chief.

The headquarters for Pollard's release responded to the statements as well, saying "we very much hope that (Obama) will decide to put an end to the tragedy and the saga and to free Jonathan."

Woolsey's said Saturday that Americans who spied for other countries including Korea and Greece were freed after short sentences, while Jonathan Pollard is still behind bars after 25 years.

"I certainly don't think that it is universally true, but in the case of some American individuals, I think there is anti-Semitism at work here," Woolsey said.

He said others who did the same as Pollard were freed quickly.

A declassified damage assessment reveals that Pollard was seeking information for nuclear, military and technical information on the Arab states, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union, and not on the United States.

The damage assessment, which was classified by the CIA reveals that Pollard’s handlers “never expressed interest in US military activities, plans, capabilities, or equipment.”


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