Spying on Friends … or Enemies. Pollard: The Desire to Know
The intelligence communities here in the U.S., and in other countries, are laughing their heads off over the arrest of an American who was caught spying for Israel. The reason for their mirth is that Americans are actually spying on every friendly and unfriendly country in the world. It is in America’s best “interest” to know what is happening not only in Russia, but in England, France, Italy, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and all other countries. It is simply does not matter that a country is designated a friend or foe. Our embassies and consulates are staffed with senior intelligence gathering personnel…both military and civilian.
So, too are the embassies and consulates of all other countries located in the U.S., and all other countries. It is no secret to the military or civilian intelligence gathering institutions that in spite of any official statement to the contrary, we do spy on allies. Each side understands that this is the case, and each side allows this intelligence gathering to go on, provided they do not become flagrant. Each side, of course, also attempts to quietly thwart the other. All of this is known in government circles, and among the sophisticated media people. It’s only when the media wishes to spectacularize some event that they feign ignorance about friendly spying. The question is why was this particular incident exploded on the front pages within hours after Pollard’s arrest?
Apparently Americans have been previously caught in Israel, and other friendly countries, spying on military institutions and attempting to penetrate Scientific/Military Development Laboratories. The Israelis chose not to publicize the events and merely shipped the offender quietly back to the U.S., as had previously been the custom between allies. Although there is a high degree of cooperative interchange of information between the U.S. and Israel, there is also a considerable amount held back. Each would like to know the essence of these secrets and each believes that it is imperative to know what its friends intended, as well as its enemies.
Israel has provided the U.S. with extraordinary information, some of which has been useful in allowing the U.S. to save Arab leaders from assassination. Israel also has captured Soviet equipment: missiles, radar, and aircraft, passing it back to the U.S. to be incorporated into our weapons systems.
But, although the U.S. is a friend of Israel, it also is a friend to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and any other Arab country who will allow U.S. close to them. To these Arab countries we supply our most sophisticated weapons. Most of these Arab countries have pledged to eliminate Israel when (not if) they can. This includes Egypt who signed the Camp David Peace Accords, and has yet to implement any of the substantial provisions of normalization.
Israel has become a veritable battle laboratory for U.S. equipment. When Israel creates a break through weapon and passes it back to the U.S., these advancements soon find their way into the equipment that the U.S. is selling to the Arabs. For example, Israel developed the long range conformal fuel tanks for the F-15 and F-16. The president pledged to Congress he would not sell these to the Arabs. He later changed his mind and sold them to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis may now store their aircraft out of range of Israel retaliation and can mount long range attacks when they choose.
When Israel destroyed 100 Syrian (Russian) MIGS and 20 ground to air missile batteries, without a single loss, the U.S. and Soviets were astonished. The Israelis were fearful of sharing their breakthroughs with the U.S. because Caspar Weinberger refused to guarantee that these developments would not be given to the Arabs.
Eventually, Israel was pressured into sharing this information without any safeguards. Israel may very well suffer heavy losses in future wars when the keys to their suppression systems are passed to the Arabs through the sale of new equipment.
Israel has an overriding goal, namely to keep over 100 million Moslem Arabs and their purchased allies at bay. The U.S. on the other hand wishes to be friends with both moderate and radical Arab countries and maintains this “friendship” through the sale of weapons, with its ancillary benefits of profits.
The U.S., particularly the Department of State, would like to know what the Israelis are planning, especially that which regards inevitable future wars against certain Arab client states. The U.S. military would simply like to know what new weapon system Israel has developed against Soviet … or American weapon systems.
The Israelis on the other hand would like to know what the Americans are doing for its enemies: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, etc. … Israel would like to know the results of the “Bright Star” maneuver between the U.S. and Egypt using American equipment. Since the U.S. is supplying the same equipment to both Israel and Egypt, how are the Americans advising the Egyptians using these weapons. Needless to say, in spite of the Camp David Accords, which Egypt has all but abrogated, the Israelis will very likely one day face a consortium of Arab armies supplied with Soviet and American weapons with Egypt and Syria being the main combatants.
The business of gathering intelligence in friendly countries is well established and well-known. We spend billions of dollars attempting to penetrate the military and scientific centers of friendly countries. Our friends equally attempt to penetrate U.S. centers, particularly those that may effect them in various situations, i.e. politically, militarily, and/or economically.
$ THE TAIWANESE are very interested in: Would the Americans allow the Chinese to mount a full scale invasion? Would they close their eyes? Or would they warn off the Chinese?
$ OUR NATO allies would like to know: Would America fight a nuclear war in their behalf? Or would the U.S. merely decide that it cannot risk retaliatory hits on U.S. soil and, therefore, abandon Europe to the Soviets?
$ THE ISRAELIS would like to know: If the Arabs achieved a point of weapon and manpower superiority that is overwhelming, would the U.S. intercede or merely stand by until the massacre was more or less over, and then make some sort of “humanitarian” gesture?
$ THE AMERICANS would like to know: Would the Israelis actually attack the Soviet fleet in the Mediterranean if the U.S. were in trouble militarily?
Therefore, the sensationalization of the capture of an American spying for Israel or an Israeli spying for the U.S. is merely a news opportunity.
On the official government level, the heads of state must say that they do not spy on friendly countries or allies. But when Richard Helms, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, was asked, on national television, if we were spying on NATO, he replied, “I hope so!” He went on to say that friendly countries spy on other friendly countries. That espionage is basically illegal, and when your spy is caught it’s bad, if not, it’s fine.
The Pollard matter speaks of embarrassing an ally for some purpose yet to emerge. Will Israel be willing to remain silent on the arms package to Jordan recently rejected by Congress? Will Israel be silent on a forthcoming arms package for Saudi Arabia? Will Israel be embarrassed sufficiently to talk to a PLO/Palestinian delegation and thereby allow the U.S. to speak directly to the PLO? Will Israel ask for cancellation of a bill in Congress to lower its rate of interest on the debt owed to the U.S.? In essence, was Israel humiliated in the public press in order to force acceptance of things not previously acceptable? Was Congress to be made sufficiently angry for a short time so certain Arab arms programs could be pushed through?
Based on 3 previous anti-Israel P.R. accusations against Israel in the Media this year  – just before an attempt to push through a dangerous Arab arms package – one must be suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the “great” spy catch.
Emanuel A. Winston is on the Board of the Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a Chicago businessman engaged in mass communications and marketing, and a writer whose articles have appeared in over 200 national and International newspapers and magazines, including: The Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Israel Today, and many other Jewish and secular publications.