Newly Revealed CIA Document Shows Jonathan Pollard Was Asked to Get Intel on Israel

The convicted Israeli-American spy's statements under questioning after his imprisonment in the U.S. have been published by the National Security Archive in Washington.

Amir Oren
Amir Oren
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Amir Oren
Amir Oren

In the early 1980s, one of Jonathan Pollard's Israeli handlers asked him to provide "dirt" on Israeli politicians, according to a newly released CIA document.

Pollard has been imprisoned in the U.S. for the past 27 years after receiving a life sentence in 1987 for spying on behalf of Israel. He had worked as a civilian analyst for U.S. naval intelligence. The request came from one of his Israeli contacts, Rafi Eitan, the head of Lekem (the Defense Ministry's Bureau of Scientific Relations ).

Pollard's detailed confession, verified by polygraph tests, was published Friday by the National Security Archive in Washington. His confession was included in a damage assessment document that was compiled by the Pentagon following his sentencing.

Until now, only a highly censored version of the document had been published, but the Archive succeeded in its battle to lift censorship on many of the sections.

The report reveals Pollard told his interrogators that Eitan had asked him to provide information that would help identify Israelis who had provided information to the United States. The investigators concluded that Pollard's collaboration with them was sincere and complete.

In their opinion, Pollard agreed to the requests of his Israeli handlers, but went even further and provided additional material on his own initiative. He passed thousands of documents to Israel, including ones attributed the highest levels of classification - higher even than "top secret."

Eitan asked Pollard for psychological analyses written by CIA experts on Israeli figures, and other dirt on senior Israeli officials, as well as information that could help locate Israeli moles - Israelis Eitan believed had leaked information to the Americans.

Pollard says Yossi Yagur, his operator on behalf of Lekem, stood behind Eitan during a meeting in Paris and shook his head emphatically in response to the requests. Afterward, while Eitan was not present, Yagur told Pollard the operation would stop if he acceded to Eitan's requests.

Yagur was a state employee, while Eitan was close to Ariel Sharon. The paragraph that determines whether Pollard did in fact transfer "dirt" was censored, so the question remains unanswered.

The authors of the damage assessment report determined that Pollard had endangered sources and methods of the U.S. intelligence community, as well as intelligence cooperation and state interests.

The report findings included the following:

* A top priority for his handlers was intelligence on nuclear weapons in Arab states and Pakistan. Following that were the following tasks, in descending order of priority: the special weapons capability, such as chemical and biological weapons, of those states; Soviet warplanes; the Soviet air defense system (ground-to-air missiles ); Soviet air-to-air missiles and ground-to-air missiles; and the military organization, forces, deployment and readiness of Arab states.

* Since he was a youth, Pollard suffered from problems of emotional and mental stability. He often suffered from hallucinations (he boasted, as a student, that he was a Mossad agent ) and was not accepted to a CIA program because of his use of soft drugs.

* Eitan advised him to resign from naval intelligence, so he would not have to take a polygraph test.

* Yagur told Pollard that the highest-ranking officials in the Israeli government knew and appreciated his material.

* Pollard told his interrogators that, if he had not been captured, he would have tried to be accepted to the State Department's research unit, where no polygraph test was required for entry.

* Pollard rationalized his motivation by saying he was trying to help Israel win its next war. U.S. intelligence commented that the Israel Defense Forces would have easily achieved victory without Pollard's help.

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