Jonathan Pollard has portrayed himself as an Israeli patriot who spied for Israel to prevent another Holocaust. But during questioning by the FBI, Pollard admitted that before spying for Israel, he provided Australia with classified information in an effort to become a spy for that country.
After being cleared by the FBI to talk about the case, Lydia Jechorek, the FBI case agent on the Pollard investigation, told Newsmax that Pollard admitted to her after his arrest in 1985 that he attempted to spy for another “friendly country” before spying for Israel.
While she would not name the country, John L. Martin, who supervised the case as chief of the Justice Department’s counterespionage section, says the country was Australia.
“After Australia rejected his overtures, Pollard spied for Israel,” Martin says.
Pollard’s effort to spy for Australia sheds a different light on a campaign by Israel and many Jews to free Pollard from jail.
The rationale has been that Pollard was only trying to help Israel by giving that country intelligence on its Arab neighbors. The fact that he previously tried the same thing with Australia suggests otherwise.
In addition, Pollard admitted to the Naval Investigative Service, now called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), that he gave classified documents to South Africa in 1980, Jechorek says.
She says Pollard made the admissions to her about giving classified documents to a country other than Israel when she interviewed him in the D.C. jail and later at the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa.
In the 2006 book “Capturing Jonathan Pollard,” Ronald J. Olive, the NIS agent in charge of his case, mentioned the Australian spying effort briefly, but no one in the press picked it up.
Jacques Semmelman, a lawyer for Pollard, did not respond to a request for comment.
As noted in my story "The Case Against Jonathan Pollard
," Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen S. Spivack told Judge Aubrey Robinson Jr. at Pollard’s sentencing in 1987 that the income Pollard and his wife Anne obtained from Israel equaled their annual disposable income from their salaries.
Pollard gave Israel classified documents that would fill a space 10 feet by 6 feet by 6 feet.
“The enormous amount of material he turned over to the Israelis applied to just about everything imaginable, including communications intelligence and some of our most closely guarded secrets,” Martin says. “A good deal of it did not relate to Israeli security.”
Among the items not previously revealed was a top-secret manual listing encrypted communication channels the intelligence community was capable of monitoring throughout the world.
In addition, Pollard provided his wife Anne with classified documents relating to China and its embassies. She claimed she was planning to use the background information in the documents to help with a presentation to the Chinese embassy on behalf of the public relations firm that employed her.
Former FBI agent Jechorek has never previously spoken publicly about the case. As Jechorek sees it, Pollard was motivated in part by the excitement of spying.
“He wanted to be somebody important and have skin in the game,” Jechorek said. “I think the money was important, but he did it not so much for the pay as it helped him live the life that he wanted to live.”
Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has aggressively sought Pollard’s release, appealing directly to President Barack Obama. In 2002, Netanyahu visited Pollard in prison in Butner, N.C.
Millions of Jews have signed petitions pleading for Pollard’s release, convinced that his motive was to help Israel.
In fact, Martin says, “Pollard was a freelancer who was willing to sell to any buyer.”
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is a New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. His latest, "The Secrets of the FBI," has just been published. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via email. Go Here Now.
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