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Parsing Pollard
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Parsing Pollard

The op-ed piece “Pollard and the price of organized indifference” (Oct. 14) contained several factual errors and omitted several important items related to the Pollard issue. I am an author, consultant, and analyst in the defense and intelligence fields (e.g., 50 published books — including coauthor of Spy Book: The Random House Encyclopedia of Espionage — and a columnist for two major military journals).

1. Pollard “came upon evidence that both Syria and Iraq were producing poison gas” by illegally accessing classified data bases. By selling this intelligence to Israel, he violated his security clearances.

2. The U.S. has no treaty with Israel “to turn over…information.” There are several agreements. Pollard did not have access to the information that the U.S. was providing to Israel, thus he could not have known whether or not that intelligence was being provided.

3. He did not report this “failure” to carry out the agreement to his superiors as they would have known that Pollard was not authorized access to those agreements.

4. He spied for money — he was paid for the information he provided, having earlier failed to sell intelligence information to South Africa. Just before his arrest Pollard was requesting a pay raise from his Israeli handlers.

5. He also stole secret intelligence about China, which he provided to his wife for her efforts to obtain a position with a commercial firm.

6. The “plea agreement” was not violated by Secretary of Defense Weinberger. The agreement was made with the Executive Branch; he was sentenced by the Judicial Branch. Anyone who watches the TV show Law and Order or reads the Constitution knows that the judicial branch is not bound by agreements made with the executive branch.

7. The information that Pollard provided to Israel placed American intelligence operatives in Arab countries in mortal danger. This occurred, in part, because of a Soviet spy in the Israeli prime minister’s office.

8. The last major case against persons spying for a friendly nation did not result in 10-year sentences; Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, spying for our wartime ally — the USSR — were executed.

9. “No wife had been charged…” is also not true (Mrs. Rosenberg).

10. Significantly, Pollard is eligible for parole, but he has never applied for it.

Norman Polmar
Alexandria, Va.

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