Jonathan Jay Pollard was convicted of spying for Israel and providing that country with American military intelligence. His real crime, however, may have been something else entirely. Pollard appears to have stumbled onto an intricate “government of the shadows” that was pursuing an unauthorized foreign policy without presidential approval or congressional consent.
Pollard thus was more a whistle-blower than a spy.
Israel, he found, was being set up for battlefield defeat by the severe restriction of vital U.S. intelligence. Some data was being withheld; other materials were being doctored to mislead Israeli military planning.
This was happening despite a “memorandum of understanding” signed in 1983, which stipulated that, as allies and fellow democracies, Israel and the United States would share vital intelligence. It was expanded and reconfirmed by another such memorandum in 1987.
A clue to a cover-up was the desperation shown by the U.S. Justice Department, under Attorney General Edwin Meese, in resorting to questionable legal maneuvers to put Pollard in deep freeze. The government seemingly reneged on the agreement under which his confession was part of a plea bargain for a promised short sentence and medication for his ill wife, Anne Henderson-Pollard. Pollard was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. The federal prison authorities, under orders from the Justice Department, have kept him in solitary confinement for three years.
Pollard thus has been the object of a clear attempt to silence him. The motive was to keep Congress from knowing the truth. Congress, after all, never would accept a change in foreign policy intended to weaken – or eliminate – Israel.
There are numerous instances that can be cited of this effort to bypass Congress.
Congress, for example, frequently has vetoed weapons packages for Arab nations hostile to Israel. But the “shadow government” plans to operate offshore manufacturing plants as “surrogates,” presumably to avoid the scrutiny of a congressional investigation.
The Washington Post exposed an Egyptian operation linking Egypt’s Defense Minister Abdul-Halim Abu Ghazala to the stealing of numerous U.S. missile technologies such as rocket fuel formula, propulsion hardware, telemetry and a super-secret carbon which is used on re-entry nose cones for long-range missiles.
The article points out that senior State Department officials persuaded the Justice Department to delete references to Ghazala in all correspondence – another cover-up of a dual foreign policy in the Middle East.
Another unknown factor is the source of the Egyptians’ basic missile system. Is any U.S. technology involved?
This could have been an extension of the surrogate manufacturing plan. In March 1988, Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci signed a memorandum of understanding with Ghazala, giving Egypt the status of strategic ally, allowing Egypt to receive certain technologies.
Why has a covert operation seemingly been launched against Israel? Who are its operatives? Who benefits?
There are three philosophies behind U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East:
1. Israel is a democratic ally with an effective military. Israel’s air force by its mere presence has thrown a large protective umbrella over all of Jordan and parts of Saudi Arabia, thus keeping the radical states of Syria and Iraq in check. The United States quietly depends on Israel as the only adequate and reliable military counterbalance to Soviet goals in the region. Although it has armed Egypt in the hope it will side with the West in a showdown, even the Sixth Fleet relies on Israel as a line of defense on its eastern flank. Israel is considered a given in U.S. planning but is discounted at times, particularly when some members of the administration are pursuing Arab good will.
2. Saudi Arabia, a “moderate” entity, is a key interest in the region due to its large reserves of oil. The United States wishes to protect this asset from the Soviets, Iran, Iraq, Syria or any combination of these forces. America has placed weapons in Saudi Arabia although it is highly doubtful the United States will be able to reach these weapons in a war where Saudi Arabia is the target.
3. A more venal attitude is expressed by those who trade on Arab hatred to establish themselves as friends of the Arabs. A significant by-product is the selling of large quantities of arms and securing lucrative contracts for goods and services. This generates cash flow and complies with Arab demands to overcome Israel’s superiority. The United States and the West hope to be accepted as true friends of the Arabs.
The conclusion of all three philosophies is the expectation that the Arabs will link their policy with the United States and stand firmly against Soviet encroachment in the Middle East. Israel plays a key role in all philosophies. However, even where Israel is regarded as a military asset to the United States, there remains the overriding desire to accommodate Arab aspirations.
Those who are dedicated to the philosophy that the United States must hitch itself to the Arab/Muslim star are working diligently to accomplish this goal. Closing down vital intelligence to Israel is only one method of doing so. Another is passing doctored information so that Israel’s military planning becomes off balance and inadequate.
Other techniques involve preventing Israel from receiving the most advanced technology (promised by the United States after the Camp David accords); denying it large U.S. military contracts and thus halting a healthy cash flow; keeping it in debt and insuring stagnation of its manufacturing growth.
When Sec. of Defense Caspar Weinberger discovered that Pollard had informed the Israelis of what was going on, he was furious. Weinberger only could have been so angry if he was aware of what had been happening and preferred a weakened Israel.
When a nation presumes it is receiving good information from an ally, it may not need its own operation. U.S. intelligence agencies always have been viewed by the Israelis as friends, a trustworthy ally, supplying reliable information. If, however, a friendly source turns against you and eliminates certain information or alters it, future defense planning becomes flawed. That nation finds itself walking into a military trap.
The only sane option now before the U.S. public is to demand:
- Congress must break its silence and investigate the use of U.S. intelligence agencies who are trying to cripple Israel in exchange for benefits from the Arabs.
- Allow Pollard the return of his constitutional rights taken from him when the government reneged on the plea bargain. He must have a fair trial and be represented by counsel of his choice with a new judge presiding. If he acted on principle in accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed between the United States and Israel, his sentence should be reduced to time served. His ill wife should be released immediately to a private hospital and doctor specializing in her illness, since her actual offense should be classified as a misdemeanor.
- The time has come to face the danger lurking within us and to redress a wrong. America owes it to herself and to its most dependable ally in the Middle East – Israel.Emanuel A. Winston is an international trustee of Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.