One GCHQ document, drafted in January 2009, makes clear the agencies were targeting an email address listed as belonging to another key American ally – the “Israeli prime minister”. Ehud Olmert was in office at the time. Three other Israeli targets appeared on GCHQ documents, including another email address understood to have been used to send messages between the then Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, and his chief of staff, Yoni Koren.
Even so, Israeli officials reacted with uncharacteristic anger toward the U.S., Israel’s closest and most important ally.Lawmaker Nachman Shai, a member of the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee, which deals with intelligence matters, called for an urgent intelligence briefing on the reported spying.Shai called for a “full report about what we know, what we have done, and just to find out.”
Jonathan Pollard was a civilian American Naval intelligence analyst. Around1983-1984 Pollard discovered that information vital to Israel’s security was being deliberately withheld by certain elements within the U.S. national security establishment. Israel was legally entitled to this security information according to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries.
The information being withheld from Israel included Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities being developed for use against Israel. It also included information on ballistic missile development by these countries and information on planned terrorist attacks against Israeli civilian targets.
According to Pollard, when he discovered this suppression of information and first asked his superiors about it, he was told to “mind his own business“, and that “Jews get nervous talking about poison gas; they don’t need to know.” He also learned that the objective of not giving Israel the information was to severely curtail her ability to act independently in defense of her own interests.
Pollard took it upon himself to pass the information along to Israel, a crime, and got caught. On June 4, 1986, Pollard pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government. He was not, as some people claim sent to jail on treason charges.
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.
The day before sentencing, Weinberger delivered a four-page supplemental memorandum to the sentencing judge. In it, he falsely accused Pollard of treason, which by definition is passing along information to an enemy in time of war. Also in the supplemental memorandum, Weinberger advocated a life sentence in clear violation of Pollard’s plea agreement.
Pollard is eligible for parole from his life sentence in 2015, but its time to let him go now. No one else in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally only Jonathan Pollard. To put it in perspective, Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for passing hundreds of thousands of classified military documents to WikiLeaks. It is believed that some of Manning’s revelations led to deaths of American sources across the world. The has never been evidence that the secrets Pollard handed to Israel were ever made public or used against the United States in any manner.
Ed Morrissey is not as positive about releasing Pollard as I am and makes some good points, read his take here, before you make up your mind.