By Richard Sale, author of Clinton’s Secret Wars
I was quite taken aback by the posted comment that “Pollard's defense claims Weinberger made a statement before his death that The Pollard Affair was a relatively minor matter.”
I talked with Weinberger, who was up at his residence in Maine, over a period of years until just before his death. I won’t quote him, but his reaction to Pollard’s treason was consistently one of implacable outrage. Let me add that anyone who would believe the declaration of a defense attorney about anything appears to be someone who suffers from the disease of mental gullibility. If a defense attorney told me the time I would immediately look at my watch.
Former senior DOD and CIA officials told me that Weinberger gave a secret statement to the court, before Pollard’s sentencing, that detailed the trading of stolen US data to the Soviet Union and the extent of the damage that trading had caused.
The former senior CIA officials told me of the KGB-Sharon deal that took place on Cyprus in 1981 The KGB and the Israelis held regular meetings there. Weinberger never confirmed this, but we spoke on condition that he would correct what was false or mistaken in my writing. He never corrected this. It has to be understood that the trading of the Pollard information had a dual purpose. The first was to get more Jews out of the Soviet Union, but the second was to recruit Jews working for the Soviet Union on sensitive missile and/or nuclear issues.
But what the soviets got in return was severely damaging to US security. The Soviets were ravenous to find out anything about US ballistic missile submarines, to them the most sinister threat, and Pollard gave the Soviets a great deal of data. Soon, like the aftermath of John Walker’s treason, Soviet attack subs began to turn up at critical rendezvous points for US ballistic subs on patrol which then were forced to hastily abort. This clearly impairedUS war fighting capability, at least for a time. (As a point of fact, I was the first US reporter to break this story as well.)
However, Pollard’s most damaging gift to the Soviets was that of the US. war plan against the Soviet Union. including firing locations, sequences, and coordinates.
It should also be remembered that Mossad has no station in Moscow, and that 99.9 percent of its information came from what one Mossad agent called, “positive interrogation” – interviewing Jews emigrating from the Soviet Union and analyzing their information. In addition, there is a super-secret division of Mossad, called Al which n Hebrew means “above” or “on top.” Al is so secret that most Mossad employees did not know of its existence, and the few that did had no access to its computerized files. Al operatives use fake U.S. passports and if they are caught in the U.S. they are jailed as spies. They have no diplomatic immunity.
Al operates stations all over the world, but one of Al’s functions was to take data from Jews emigrating from the Soviet Union and repackage it to make it more attractive to the Soviets by inserting things like radar information from the Danes or reports of troop movements in West Germany and other NATO chit chat to provide a fuller, more enticing picture. Al agents most certainly played a part in repackaging the Pollard thefts to make them more attractive to the Russians.
When the Pollard data began to arrive in the Eastern Bloc, US installations that spy on Israel like the NSA listening post near Harrogate in England or the unmanned listening post on Cyprus could detect an immediate damage to efforts to recruit new agents, a reluctance on the part of prospective U.S. agents to join any outfit so thoroughly penetrated by a foreign power. One thinks of LeCarre’s tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy and the agonies of double agents when they hear that another has been uncovered.
Six feet long, six feet wide, and ten feet tall - that is the space the Pollard stolen documents occupies to this day. The story that Pollard stole all this because he was some sort of super Israeli patriot is the rankest horse dung. Weinberger insisted over and over that Pollard had tried to spy for South Africa and that his first love in life was not Israel but money. Weinberger was well aware of Pollard attempting to use the proceeds of his treason to buy expensive jewelry for his wife. He thought Pollard morally disgusting.
To conclude, when I used the phrase “with grace” in regard to returning Pollard’s body to Israel, I thought I was dripping with almost vulgar irony.