Russian spy case brings to mind another story of espionage

Russian spy case brings to mind another story of espionage
By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist

(Reprinted from July 14, 2010 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties,….espionage.html)

“All 10 Russian spies pleaded guilty in a New York court Thursday afternoon to one criminal count of conspiracy to act as unregistered agents of a foreign country. They were sentenced to time already served. . . 11 days.”?

? ABC News, July 8, 2010

When I heard this, I thought of Jonathan Pollard, the American spy for Israel, in federal prison for the last 25 years. I re-read my autographed copy of the book, “Territory of Lies,” by Wolf Blitzer, which I bought from him on Dec. 3, 1989, when he spoke at the Jewish Community Center in Margate. Blitzer then wrote for a little-known Jewish newspaper.

In 1990, he went on TV, and quickly forgot Pollard.

Pollard’s story began on June 7, 1981. On that day, 14 Israeli fighter bombers flew to Iraq in such a tight formation that they appeared on radar as a single civilian jumbo jet. They then completely destroyed Saddam Hussein’s French-built nuclear reactor.

This enraged the Iraqi dictator, who bought and developed deadly new missiles and chemical weapons that could kill thousands of Jews in Israel.

American spies and satellites soon discovered this. America should have shared that information with Israel according to a formal agreement between our two countries. But America broke that agreement and never warned Israel.

Although President Ronald Reagan was a friend of Israel, his Secretary of State George Schultz was not. Neither was Vice President George Bush Sr., an oil man with close ties to Saudi Arabia. Nor was Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, the former vice president of Bechtel Construction Company, which built Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia a few years before.

Bush, Schultz and Weinberger strongly supported Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. They relied on the Iraqi army to defend Kuwait and the Saudi oil fields against Iran. Why complicate things by getting Israel upset?

In 1984, Jonathan Pollard was a 30-year-old Jewish clerk employed by U.S. Naval Intelligence. His job was to review reports from the Middle East, including evidence of Iraqi nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missile systems being built for use against Israel. He also read reports of planned terrorist attacks against Israel.

When Pollard found out that America was not sharing this information with Israel, he contacted Israeli officials and eventually sold them this information. When Saddam Hussein finally attacked Israel with missiles in the First Gulf War of 1990, Israel was prepared, complete with gas masks.

What Pollard did was stupid, reckless, and against the law. There were many legal things he could have done to save lives in Israel. He deserved the same seven years in prison as Robert Kim, also of U.S. Naval Intelligence, who was arrested for selling secrets to South Korea in 1996.

But should Pollard spend the rest of his life in prison like Charles Manson and spies like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hannsen, who caused dozens of America’s best spies to be detected, tortured, and killed by the Russians?

1. Had Pollard kept quiet and gone to trial, there was only evidence to convict him of removing papers without permission ? a minor offense, not spying. And the government would have to explain why it kept those papers secret from Israel in the first place.

2. As with Atlantic City’s Mayor Mike Matthews, the feds promised Pollard a light sentence if he pled guilty to one minor count, and cooperated. But as with Matthews, the government sent a letter to the judge filled with lies after the plea. Pollard’s “light” sentence became life with no parole.

3. In 1990, Saddam Hussein double-crossed the United States and Saudi Arabia and invaded Kuwait. There was now nothing more Pollard could do to expose the stupidity of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

4. In 1992, Appeals Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg cast the deciding vote denying Pollard’s appeal. The next year, she was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

5. In 1998 President Bill Clinton promised to release Pollard as part of the Wye River Memorandum with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. But high CIA officials leaked false information and Clinton backed down. Netanyahu made big concessions for nothing. Friends and foes have since seen Israel as a weak puppet of the U.S.

6. Clinton promised to pardon Pollard at the end of his term in 2001. But on the advice of now U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Clinton pardoned Jewish Wall Street thief Marc Rich instead. For more details, see

Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears live on WVLT-92.1FM, heard throughout South Jersey 8-9 a.m. every Saturday. For information see, email or call (609) 927-7333. Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Athena Diner, 1515 New Road, Northfield.

  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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