Timing is Everything
Dare I say it, but I easily recall when J.J. Pollard was busted for selling US secrets to the Israelis in 1985.
He pled guilty in 1987 and received a life sentence, becoming a cause-celeb in Israel as someone whose jail term was unfair as he was only selling US secrets to a friend.
Ever since, Pollard has been a consistent theme in US-Israel relations where Israelis demand his release and a lengthy list of US administrations have said “no.”
Pollard was meshuga, Yiddish for crazy, failing the CIA polygraph before being hired by the US Navy.
Two months after being hired he was recommended for termination but in time-honored bureaucratic fashion was instead transferred.
Once transferred he had the balls to request (and receive) a meeting with the admiral commanding naval intelligence, asking to become an operative opening a “back channel” to South Africa.
The Washington post reported that the admiral, Sumner Shapiro, dismissed Pollard as a “kook”, yet he remained in his job.
Sumner wanted Pollard’s security clearances revoked but that never happened.
He also passed secrets to Australians and possibly to the Chinese.
Up For Parole
Pollard’s thirty years is up in November and US officials are talking release as a way of possibly conciliating Israel in the wake of the Iran deal.
But Israel, intent on Pollard’s release for so long, now seems not so interested in that gift, if that is what it is.
The New York Times reports, “Aaron David Miller,Â a State Department veteran on Middle East affairs who is now at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said any such move would look bad for President Obama, given that Americans remain in Iranian prisons”, a bizarre comparison if ever there was one.
Over the years the Pollard case became symbolic as the primary instance where the US was seemingly unified in limiting Israel’s influence.
As Pollard’s lawful release edges closer, his value has receded.
Come November, we should release him and send him on a one-way ticket to Tel Aviv where he can further explain his grandiose plans and ambitions.
Or, perhaps he will sell Israeli secrets to us.
Sources: Â Post, Times, Wiki