Jonathan Pollard, I.D. Photograph, U.S. Naval intelligence.
August 7, 1954 |
Galveston, Texas, United States
|Charge(s)||Violations of the Espionage Act|
|Status||Incarcerated in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system|
|Occupation||former intelligence analyst and spy for Israel|
|Spouse||Anne Henderson Pollard (divorced) Ester Seitz (current)|
Israel granted Pollard citizenship in 1995, while publicly denying, until 1998, that he was an Israeli spy. Israeli activist groups, as well as high-profile Israeli politicians, have lobbied for his release. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced particularly strong support for Pollard, visiting the convicted spy in prison in 2002.
Jonathan Jay Pollard was born in 1954 to a Jewish family, the youngest of three siblings. In 1964 his family moved from Texas to South Bend, Indiana, where his father, an award-winning microbiologist, teaches at Notre Dame.
Jay, as he was called in his youth, was known to be very intelligent and articulate, but was also regarded as a "smart-aleck." Being small for his age, he became an easy target for bullies. After being beaten up many times in different venues (he was even roughed up by a non-Jewish boy during a visit to Israel in his teens), he began to blame the hostility directed at him on anti-Semitism. He developed a romantic view of Israel, which led to his conceiving of what he described as "racial consciousness" or a "racial obligation". During his childhood he was considered by many acquaintances to be "unstable", a reputation that followed him into adulthood.
Pollard earned a degree in political science from Stanford University in 1976. He enrolled in several graduate schools in subsequent years, but never completed a postgraduate degree. He met his future wife Anne Henderson in 1982, when both were living in Sacramento.
In 1979, after leaving graduate school, Pollard began applying for intelligence service jobs, first at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and then the Navy. Pollard was turned down for the CIA job after taking a polygraph test in which he admitted to prolific illegal drug usage between 1974 and 1978. He fared better with the Navy and was hired by the Naval Fields Operational Intelligence Office (NFOIO) as an intelligence specialist working on Soviet issues. A background check was required for the job as well as security clearances, but no polygraph test. In addition to a 'Top Secret' clearance, a more stringent 'Sensitive Compartmented Information' (SCI) clearance was required. The Navy asked for but was denied information from the CIA regarding Pollard, including the results of their pre-employment polygraph test showing Pollard's excessive drug use. Pollard was given temporary security clearances pending completion of his background check, which was normal for new hires at the time.
Within two months of being hired, the technical director of the NFOIO, Richard Haver, requested that Pollard be terminated. This came after a conversation with the new hire in which Pollard offered to start a back-channel operation with the South African intelligence service and lied about his own father's involvement with the CIA. Instead of terminating Pollard, Haver's boss reassigned him to a human-gathered intelligence operation. This was apparently because Pollard had a friend from graduate school in the South African intelligence service. In the vetting process for this position, Pollard, it was later discovered, lied repeatedly: he denied illegal drug use, claimed his father had been a CIA operative, misrepresented his language abilities and his educational achievements, and claimed to have applied for a commission as officer in the Naval Reserve. A month later Pollard applied for and received a transfer to the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) surface ships division while keeping his TF-168 position.
While transferring to his new job at the NIS, Pollard again initiated a meeting with someone far up the chain of command, this time with Admiral Sumner Shapiro, about an idea he had for TF-168 and South Africa (the TF-168 group had passed on his ideas). After the meeting, Shapiro immediately ordered that Pollard's security clearances be revoked and that he be reassigned to a non-sensitive position. According to The Washington Post, Shapiro dismissed Pollard as a "kook," saying later, "I wish the hell I'd fired him".
Because of the job transfer, Shapiro's order to remove Pollard's security clearances slipped through the cracks. However, Shapiro's office followed up with a request to the TF-168 that Pollard's trustworthiness be investigated by the CIA. The CIA found Pollard to be a risk and recommended that he not be used in any intelligence collection operation. A subsequent polygraph test was inconclusive, although it did prompt Pollard to admit to making false statements to his superiors, prior drug use, and having unauthorized contacts with representatives of foreign governments. The special agent administering the test felt that Pollard, who at times "began shouting and shaking and making gagging sounds as if he were going to vomit", was feigning illness to invalidate the test, and recommended that he not be granted access to highly classified information. Pollard was also required to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.
Pollard's clearance was reduced to secret. Pollard subsequently filed a grievance and threatened lawsuits to recover his SCI clearance. Pollard had made the most of his work when having his Secret clearance, and subsequently began receiving excellent performance reviews. By 1982, after the psychiatrist concluded Pollard had no mental illness, Pollard had his clearance upgraded to SCI once again. In October 1984, after some reorganization of the Navy's intelligence departments, Pollard applied for and was accepted into a position as an analyst for the NIS.
Shortly after Pollard began working at the NIS he met Aviem Sella, an Israeli Air Force combat veteran who was at the time a graduate student at New York University, on leave from his position as Colonel in order to gain a master's in computer science. Within a few days, in June 1984, Pollard started passing classified information to Sella and received, in exchange, $10,000 cash and a very expensive diamond and sapphire ring, which Pollard later used to propose marriage to his girlfriend Anne. He also agreed to receive $1,500 per month for further espionage.
According to Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigator Ronald Olive, Pollard also passed classified information to South Africa and attempted, through a third party, to sell classified information to Pakistan on multiple occasions. Pollard also used his access to secret documents to furnish classified information to nongovernmental employees, including two friends of his who worked as professional investment advisers. Pollard also stole classified documents related to the People's Republic of China, on behalf of his wife Anne; Anne Pollard used the classified assessments to advance her personal business interests, and kept them around the Pollard household, where they were discovered by investigating authorities when Pollard's espionage activity came to light.
During the course of the Pollard trial, Australian authorities reported the disclosure of classified American documents by Pollard to one of their own agents, a Royal Australian Naval officer who had been engaged in a personnel-exchange liaison program between the U.S. and Australian Navies. The Australian officer, alarmed by Pollard's repeated disclosure of NOFORN data to him, reported the indiscretions to his chain of command which in turn recalled him from his position in the U.S., fearing that the disclosures might be part of a "CIA ruse". Confronted with this accusation after entering his plea, Pollard only admitted to passing a single classified document to the Australian; later, he changed his story, and claimed that his superiors ordered him to share information with the Australians.
The full extent of the information he gave to Israel has still not been officially revealed. Press reports cited a secret 46-page memorandum, which Pollard and his attorneys were allowed to view. They were provided to the judge by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who described Pollard's spying as including, among other things, obtaining and copying the latest version of Radio-Signal Notations (RASIN), a 10-volume manual comprehensively detailing America's global electronic surveillance network.
Pollard used his courier position to demand the desired material for Israel rather than clandestinely acquire it. NCIS wrapped the documents Pollard requested, and he in turn passed them on to the Israelis. He would transfer the documents to suitcases, drop the documents off with the Israelis for copying, and retrieve whatever documents needed to be returned days later, along with orders for what types of information to get over the next week.
, where Pollard worked.]]
Pollard's espionage was discovered in 1985 when a co-worker anonymously reported his removal of classified material from the NIS. The co-worker noted that he did not seem to be taking the material to any known appropriate destination, such as other intelligence agencies in the area. Although Pollard was authorized to transport documents and the coworker did claim the documents were properly wrapped, it appeared out of place that Pollard would be transporting documents on a Friday afternoon when many workers were focused more on the upcoming weekend rather than intelligence work. Pollard's direct superior, having to complete extra work at the office on a Saturday, had walked by Pollard's desk and noticed unsecured classified material. Taking the initiative to secure it, the supervisor glanced over it and saw it was unrelated to antiterrorism matters in the Caribbean, which is what the section focused on. Looking at more unrelated documents, the supervisor believed foreign intelligence may be involved, but was unable to determine which nation would be interested. Supervisors began investigating, and upon finding the enormous amount of material checked out by Pollard, and that it was outside of his area of responsibility, asked the FBI to begin an investigation.
Pollard was stopped and questioned about a week later while removing classified material from his work premises. He explained that he was taking it to another analyst at a different agency for a consultation. During the voluntary interview, his story was found to be false. Pollard requested to make a phone call to his wife telling her where he was. As he was being interrogated and not under arrest the investigators had no choice but to grant the request. During the call to Anne he used the code word 'cactus', meaning that he was in trouble and that she should remove all classified material from their home, which she attempted to do, enlisting the help of a neighbor. After some time, Pollard agreed to a search of his home which turned up no classified documents due to Jonathan's code talk and Anne's prompt removal. At this point, the FBI decided to drop the case and leave it as an administrative action for Pollard's supervisors, since there only seemed to be some mishandling of documents and at this point, was no proof that Pollard was passing classified documents.
The case broke wide open a few days later when Pollard was asked to take a polygraph. Instead, he admitted to illegally passing on documents, without mentioning Israel. The FBI again became involved. A short time later Pollard's neighbor began calling around the military intelligence community (he was a naval officer) asking what to do with the 70 lb suitcase full of highly classified material that Pollard's wife, Anne, gave him. After being unable to contact Anne or Jonathan Pollard he became concerned about safeguarding the documents. He cooperated fully with the investigation and was not charged with any crime.
After his partial confession, Pollard was surveilled but not taken into custody. He and his wife then attempted to gain asylum at the Israeli embassy, only to be rebuffed by the Israeli guards and taken into custody by FBI agents who swarmed the perimeter as soon as Pollard set foot off embassy property. Until this point, investigators could not confirm that Pollard had been spying for Israel; their only lead having been the speculation of Pollard's superiors.
Pollard eventually cooperated with investigators in exchange for a plea agreement for leniency for himself and his wife.
At the time, Israel claimed that Pollard worked for an unauthorized rogue operation, a position they maintained for more than ten years. Israel agreed to cooperate with the investigation in exchange for immunity for their people. They needed the agreement since many of the Israelis involved lacked diplomatic immunity. However, according to Ronald Olive, the NCIS investigator responsible for capturing Pollard and a member of the delegation that traveled to Israel for debriefing, the Israelis failed to live up to their agreement.
For instance, when asked to return the stolen material, the Israelis handed over a few dozen lowly classified documents. At the time, the Americans knew that Pollard had passed tens of thousands of documents, possibly over a million.[citation required] The Israelis created a schedule designed to wear down the Americans, including many hours per day of commuting in blacked out buses on rough roads, and frequent switching of buses. This left the Americans without adequate time to sleep and prevented them from sleeping on the commute. The identity of Pollard's original handler, Sella, was withheld. All questions had to be translated into Hebrew and answered in Hebrew, and then translated back into English, even though all the parties spoke perfect English. The Americans were treated with hostility from the moment they arrived in Israel to the moment they left. Commander Jerry Agee remembers that, even as he departed the airport, airport security made a point of informing him that "you will never be coming back here again"; Agee found various items had been stolen from his luggage, upon his return to the United States. The abuse came not only from the guards and officials, but also the Israeli media.
Aviem Sella, Pollard's initial Israeli contact, was eventually indicted on three counts of espionage by an American court. Israel refused to allow him to be interviewed unless he was granted immunity. America refused because of Israel's previous failure to cooperate as promised. Israel then refused to extradite Sella, instead giving him command of a prestigious air force base. The U.S. Congress responded by threatening to cut aid to Israel, at which point Sella stepped down.
Pollard's plea discussions with the Government sought both to minimize his chances of receiving a life sentence and to enable Anne Pollard to plead as well, which the Government was otherwise unwilling to let her do. The government, however, was prepared to offer Anne Pollard a plea agreement only after Jonathan Pollard consented to assist the government in its damage assessment and submitted to polygraph examinations and interviews with FBI agents and Department of Justice attorneys. Accordingly, over a period of several months, Pollard cooperated with the Government's investigation, and in late May 1986, the Government offered him a plea agreement, which he accepted.
By the terms of that agreement, Pollard was bound to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government, which carried a maximum prison term of life, and to cooperate fully with the Government's ongoing investigation. He promised not to disseminate any information concerning his crimes or his case, or to speak publicly of any classified information, without first submitting to pre-clearance by the Director of Naval Intelligence. His agreement further provided that failure by Anne Pollard to adhere to the terms of her agreement entitled the Government to void his agreement, and her agreement contained a mirror-image provision. In return for Pollard's plea, the Government promised not to charge him with additional crimes.
Three weeks before Pollard's sentencing, Wolf Blitzer, at the time a Jerusalem Post correspondent, conducted a jail-cell interview with Pollard and penned an article which also ran in The Washington Post headlined, "Pollard: Not A Bumbler, but Israel's Master Spy." published on February 15, 1987. Pollard told Blitzer about some of the information he provided the Israelis: reconnaissance satellite photography of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters in Tunisia, specific capabilities of Libya's air defenses, and "the pick of U.S. intelligence about Arab and Islamic conventional and unconventional military activity, from Morocco to Pakistan and every country in between. This included both 'friendly' and 'unfriendly' Arab countries." Some commentators identified this interview as a blatant violation of the plea agreement.
Also prior to sentencing Pollard and his wife Anne gave further defiant media interviews in which they defended their spying, and attempted to rally Jewish Americans to their cause. In a 60 Minutes interview, Anne said, "I feel my husband and I did what we were expected to do, and what our moral obligation was as Jews, what our moral obligation was as human beings, and I have no regrets about that".
On June 4, 1986 Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government. Prior to sentencing, speaking on his own behalf, Pollard stated that while his motives "may have been well meaning, they cannot, under any stretch of the imagination, excuse or justify the violation of the law, particularly one that involves the trust of government... I broke trust, ruined and brought disgrace to my family." He admitted and apologized for taking money from the Israeli government in exchange for classified information. Anne Pollard, in her own statement, stated that she did "what at the time I believed to be correct", in helping her husband and attempting to conceal stolen documents, adding "And I can't say that I would never not help him again. However, I would look for different routes or different ways."
The prosecution answered these statements by saying that the Pollards had continued to violate numerous nondisclosure agreements even as the trial was taking place. The prosecutor noted one in particular, which had been signed in June 1986, alluding to Pollard's interview with Wolf Blitzer. The prosecutor concluded,
[I]n combination with the breadth of this man's knowledge, the depth of his memory, and the complete lack of honor that he has demonstrated in these proceedings, I suggest to you, your honor, he is a very dangerous man.
Pollard was sentenced to life in prison on one count of espionage on March 4, 1987. The prosecutor complied with the plea agreement and asked for "only a substantial number of years in prison"; Judge Aubrey Robinson, Jr., not being obligated to follow the recommendation of the prosecutor, and after hearing a "damage-assessment memorandum" from the Secretary of Defense, imposed a life sentence. In 1987, Pollard began his life sentence, which he is still serving. Pollard's wife, Anne, was sentenced to five years in prison but was paroled after three and a half years because of health problems. Following the end of Anne's parole, she emigrated to Israel. Jonathan divorced Anne, citing that he believed he was going to be jailed for the remainder of his life and did not want Anne to be bound to him.
At the time of Pollard's sentencing there was a rule that mandated parole at thirty years for prisoners like him if they had maintained a clean record in prison. That parole date would be November 21, 2015. Also, Pollard was eligible to apply for parole after eight years and six months, though he has never done so.
Pollard has the Federal Bureau of Prisons ID #09185-016 and is incarcerated in FCI Butner Medium at the Butner Federal Correction Complex near Butner, North Carolina. His projected release date is November 21, 2015.
In United States of America v. Jonathan Jay Pollard 1990 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11844, Pollard's attorney filed a motion to withdraw the plea, among other things. The motion was denied. Several parts of the plea agreement are mentioned in the appeal, United States of America v. Jonathan Jay Pollard 295 U.S. App. D.C. 7; 959 F.2d 1011; 1992 U.S. App. LEXIS 4695. The appeal was also denied. Several years later, with a different attorney, Pollard filed a Habeas Corpus petition. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled two-to-one to deny Pollard's petition, primarily due to the failure of Pollard's original attorneys to file his appeal in a timely manner. The dissenting judge, Judge Stephen F. Williams, stated that "because the government's breach of the plea agreement was a fundamental miscarriage of justice requiring relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, I dissent."
In July 2005, the District of Columbia Circuit rejected Pollard's latest appeal. Pollard had sought a new trial on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel, and he sought to receive classified documents pertinent to his new lawyers' efforts in preparing a clemency petition. The Court of Appeals rejected both arguments, however, and Pollard remains imprisoned. On February 10, 2006, lawyers for Pollard filed a petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court to attempt to gain access to the classified documents. The brief was based on the notion that the separation of powers doctrine is a flexible doctrine that does not dictate the complete separation of the three branches of Government from one another. The brief argued that the Court of Appeals violated this principle in asserting sua sponte that the judiciary has no jurisdiction over the classified documents due to the fact that access was for the ultimate purpose of clemency, an executive function. In fact, the President's clemency power would be wholly unaffected by successor counsel's access to the classified documents, and the classified documents were sealed under protective order, a judicial tool. The Supreme Court denied the cert petition on March 20, 2006.
Pollard applied for Israeli citizenship 1995; his petition was granted the same year on November 22.
For thirteen years Israel publicly denied that Pollard was an Israeli spy. Their official position was that he worked for an unauthorized rogue operation. In 1997, Pollard initiated legal action with the High Court of Israel to force the government to admit he was its agent. On May 11, 1998 Benjamin Netanyahu admitted Pollard was a known and sanctioned agent, handled by high ranking officials of the Israeli Bureau for Scientific Relations (Lekem).
The Israeli government has paid for at least two of Pollard's trial attorneys—Richard A. Hibey and Hamilton Philip Fox III—and continues to ask for his release. Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, in 1999 in the context of the Israeli elections, exchanged barbs in the media over who was more supportive of Pollard.
In September 2009, Israeli State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss released a report stating that the Israeli government has made concerted efforts for years to gain Pollard's release, but the US government has refused to budge. The Pollards rejected the findings of the report, calling it a "whitewash" of the Israeli government. However, they did agree with another finding of the report that stated Pollard had been denied due legal process in the United States. Israeli officials at one point considered offering to exchange the American spy Yosef Amit for Jonathan Pollard, but rejected the idea.
Yitzhak Rabin was the first Israeli prime minister to ask for the release of Pollard, requesting US President Bill Clinton to pardon him in 1995. Among the many requests for Pollard's release was one at the 1998 Wye River conference, where Netanyahu recalls, "if we signed an agreement with Arafat, I expected a pardon for Pollard". President Clinton refused to release Pollard.
Another Israeli request for Pollard's release was made in New York on September 14, 2005 and was again declined by President George W. Bush. A request on Pollard's behalf that he be designated a Prisoner of Zion was rejected by the High Court of Justice of Israel on January 16, 2006. Another appeal for intervention on Pollard's behalf was rejected by the High Court on June 8, 2006.
On January 10, 2008, the subject of Pollard's pardon was again brought up for discussion, this time by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, during President George W. Bush's first visit to Israel as President. Subsequently, this request was turned down by President Bush. The next day, at a dinner attended by several ministers in the Israeli government (in addition to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice), the subject of Pollard's release was again discussed. This time however, Prime Minister Olmert commented that it was not the appropriate occasion to discuss the fate of the convicted Israeli spy.
As President Bush was about to leave office in 2009, a worldwide campaign from Israel to Europe was made to the USA requesting and pleading with President Bush to give clemency to Jonathan Pollard while he was still chief executive. In an interview to Newsweek former CIA director James Woolsey endorsed Pollard's release on two conditions: that he show contrition and decline any profits from books or other projects linked to the case. Bush did not pardon him.
The New York Times reported on 21 September 2010 that the Israeli government (again under Netanyahu) informally proposed that Pollard be released as a reward to Israel for extending by three months a halt to new settlements in occupied territories.
Efforts in Congress to secure Pollard's release in exchange for three month extension of building freeze. Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) "notes the positive impact that a grant of clemency would have in Israel, as a strong indication of the goodwill of our nation towards Israel and the Israeli people,"
In addition to the release requests by the Israeli government, there has been a long running public campaign to free Pollard. The organizers include the Pollard family, his ex-wife, Anne, and Jewish groups in the US and Israel. The campaign's main points claim that Pollard spied for an ally instead of an enemy, that his sentence was out of proportion when compared to similar crimes, and that the US failed to live up to its plea bargain. Some Israeli activists compared President Bush to Hamas and Hezbollah leaders who have taken Israeli soldiers prisoner.
and Hezbollah leaders Ismail Haniyah and Hassan Nasrallah (shown left and right of Bush respectively). The people in blue text were taken prisoner by these groups. Bush is shown above Pollard's name, in red.]]
Pollard's supporters argue that his sentence was excessive. Although Pollard pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain for himself and his wife, he was shown no leniency and was given the maximum sentence with the exception of death in view of the fact that he broke the terms of that plea agreement even before the sentence was handed down.
The issue of his imprisonment has sometimes arisen amidst Israeli domestic politics. Benjamin Netanyahu has been particularly vocal in lobbying for Pollard's release, at one point even visiting Pollard in prison. Netanyahu raised the issue with President Bill Clinton during the Wye River peace talks in 1998. In his autobiography, Clinton writes that he was inclined to release Pollard, but the objections of American intelligence officials proved too tenacious:
For all the sympathy Pollard generated in Israel, he was a hard case to push in America; he had sold our country's secrets for money, not conviction, and for years had not shown any remorse. When I talked to Sandy Berger and George Tenet, they were adamantly opposed to letting Pollard go, as was Madeleine Albright.
Alan Dershowitz has been among Pollard's high-profile supporters, both in the courtroom as a lawyer and in various print media. Characterizing the sentence as "excessive", Dershowitz writes in an article reprinted in his bestselling book Chutzpah!, "As an American, and as a Jew, I hereby express my outrage at Jonathan Pollard's sentence of life imprisonment for the crime to which he pleaded guilty." Dershowitz writes,
[E]veryone seems frightened to speak up on behalf of a convicted spy. This has been especially true of the Jewish leadership in America. The Pollards are Jewish... The Pollards are also Zionists, who--out of a sense of misguided "racial imperative" (to quote Jonathan Pollard)--seem to place their commitment to Israeli survival over the laws of their own country... American Jewish leaders, always sensitive to the canard of dual loyalty, are keeping a low profile in the Pollard matter. Many American Jews at the grass roots are outraged at what they perceive to be an overreaction to the Pollards' crimes and the unusually long sentence imposed on Jonathan Pollard.
The Jerusalem City Council has also acted in support of Pollard, changing the name of a square near the official prime minister's residence from Paris Square to Freedom for Jonathan Pollard Square.
Pollard has at times claimed that he provided only information that, at the time, he believed was vital to Israeli security and that was being withheld by the Pentagon, in violation of a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries regarding the sharing of vital security intelligence. According to Pollard, this included data on Soviet arms shipments to Syria, Iraqi and Syrian chemical weapons, the Pakistani atomic bomb project, and Libyan air defense systems.
At the 1998 Wye River Conference, Benjamin Netanyahu demanded Pollard's release, and President Clinton made a public statement about reviewing the case. This precipitated an "incredulous" reaction in the American intelligence community. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, as well as six other former U.S. Secretaries of Defense (Melvin R. Laird, Frank C. Carlucci, Richard B. Cheney, Caspar W. Weinberger, James R. Schlesinger and Elliot L. Richardson) spoke out in opposition to clemency for Jonathan Pollard. They were joined by several senior congressional leaders.
Four past directors of Naval Intelligence, William Studeman, Sumner Shapiro, John L. Butts, and Thomas Brooks, authored a response to the talk of clemency and what they termed "the myths that have arisen from this clever public relations campaign... aimed at transforming Pollard from greedy, arrogant betrayer of the American national trust into Pollard, committed Israeli patriot". They continued,
|“|| Pollard pleaded guilty and therefore never was publicly tried. Thus, the American people never came to know that he offered classified information to three other countries before working for the Israelis and that he offered his services to a fourth country while he was spying for Israel. They also never came to understand that he was being highly paid for his services....
Pollard and his apologists argue he turned over to the Israelis information they were being denied that was critical to their security. The fact is, however, Pollard had no way of knowing what the Israeli government was already receiving by way of official intelligence exchange agreements... Some of the data he compromised had nothing to do with Israeli security or even with the Middle East. He betrayed worldwide intelligence data, including sources and methods developed at significant cost to the U.S. taxpayer. As a result of his perfidy, some of those sources are lost forever.
...Another claim Pollard made is that the U.S. government reneged on its bargain not to seek the life sentence. What is not heard is that Pollard's part of the bargain was to cooperate fully in an assessment of the damage he had done and to refrain from talking to the press prior to the completion of his sentencing. He blatantly and contemptuously failed to live up to either part of the plea agreement... It was this coupled with the magnitude and consequences of his criminal actions that resulted in the judge imposing a life sentence... The appellate court subsequently upheld the life sentence.
If, as Pollard and his supporters claim, he has "suffered enough" for his crimes, he is free to apply for parole as the American judicial system provides. In his arrogance, he has refused to do so, but insists on being granted clemency or a pardon.
Admiral Shapiro, who was himself Jewish, stated that he was troubled by the support of Jewish organizations for Pollard: "We work so hard to establish ourselves and to get where we are, and to have somebody screw it up... and then to have Jewish organizations line up behind this guy and try to make him out a hero of the Jewish people, it bothers the hell out of me".
Eric Margolis alleges that Pollard's spying may have led to the capture and execution of CIA spies in the Eastern Bloc after Israel sold or bartered Pollard's information to the Soviet Union. According to one theory , Israeli businessman and convicted Soviet spy Shabattai Kalmanovich may have been made a scapegoat for information from Pollard that had been willingly shared by Israel with the Soviets in order to secure the release of certain Jewish scientists in the USSR.
Ron Olive, retired Naval Criminal Investigative Service, led the Pollard investigation and in 2006 published the book Capturing Jonathan Pollard - How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice. In his book, Olive writes that Pollard was not serving Israel solely, and that Pollard confessed to passing secrets to South Africa and to his financial advisers, shopping his access to Pakistan and recruiting others for money.
Pollard divorced his first wife, Anne, after her release from prison. Following his divorce, Jonathan Pollard was reportedly remarried to an activist who had been working to free him. His second wife, Elaine "Esther" Pollard, is frequently active in the Israeli media, calling for his release or criticizing officials as she believes they have forgotten about Jonathan Pollard. In 1996, she embarked upon a public hunger strike, which she hoped would lead to the release of her husband. There have been some questions in the media as to whether the two are actually married, or if they only claim to be.