(WMR)—Joseph diGenova, the chief federal prosecutor who brought about the conviction of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, told ABC News that to bargain with Israel over freeing Pollard in return for unenforceable concessions by Israel in peace talks with the Palestinians makes no sense after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s actions. DiGenova said Pollard sold Israel 360 cubic feet of documents for a sum total of $600,000. Contrary to what Pollard has said about his actions only serving the interests of Israel, ABC News was told by intelligence sources that many of the documents that Pollard provided to Israel were later handed over by the Jewish state to the Soviet Union and apartheid South Africa.
DiGenova has always maintained that Pollard caused irreparable harm to U.S. national security while using his position as an analyst in the Naval Investigative Service’s Anti-Terrorist Alert Center in Suitland, Maryland to amass a treasure trove of classified documents and transferred it to Israeli intelligence agents in Washington.
Among the classified information turned over to the Israelis was sensitive intelligence sources and methods on how the National Security Agency gathered electronic intelligence (ELINT), particularly specialized radar intelligence (RADINT), foreign instrumentation signals intelligence (FISINT), and telemetry intelligence (TELINT) from radar and other military systems in use by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. In addition, Pollard handed over to the Israelis the latest technical data stored in the NSA’s KILTING database on foreign ELINT signals. Pollard also disclosed to the Israelis technical details of the Navy’s CLASSIC WIZARD ocean surveillance satellite.
Pollard also provided the Israelis with details of U.S. intelligence surveillance of narcotics traffickers in the Caribbean, including signals intelligence intercepts conducted from the Naval Security Group Activity in Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico. This was at the height of White House aide Colonel Oliver North’s drug smuggling operations in the Caribbean in support of the Nicaraguan contras, an operation that involved Israeli government counter-terrorism adviser Amiram Nir. On November 30, 1988, Nir’s chartered Cessna crashed in Mexico. Nir reportedly died in the crash.
Pollard was permitted to walk out of the Naval Intelligence Support Center in Suitland with the classified information in his possession because he had a “courier card” that authorized him to remove the documents from the premises. This editor worked on the Navy’s Damage Assessment Report while assigned to both the Naval Telecommunications Command and NSA.
A security manager at the Suitland facility was suspicious of Pollard from the outset of the Israeli spy’s employment at the facility. The security manager always believed Pollard had a protector within the Navy’s chain of command. Although the Commander of the Naval Intelligence Command, Admiral Sumner Shapiro, said he believed Pollard was a “kook” after the top officer in naval intelligence agreed to meet the low-ranking analyst, Shapiro’s later order to pull Pollard’s security clearance was never carried out. Shapiro gave his side of the Pollard story to Washington Post reporter Adam Bernstein after suspicions about Pollard having high-ranking “handlers” began to surface in the press.
Pollard’s espionage for Israel was coordinated by four Israeli agents in the United States: Rafael “Rafi” Eitan, a former terrorism adviser to Prime Minister Menachem Begin and the chief of the Bureau for Scientific Relations, LEKEM, an intelligence agency that stole military secrets from the United States and other nations friendly to Israel; Israeli Air Force Colonel Aviem “Avi” Sella; Joseph “Yossi” Yagur, a science attaché at the Israeli Consulate General in New York; and Irit Erb, an attaché at the Israeli embassy in Washington. Yagur showed Pollard an Israeli passport issued to “Danny Cohen” with Pollard’s photograph. Yagur said that once exfiltrated from the United States, Pollard would live in Israel under that name.
There was a huge rift between the Justice Department, which wanted to make available to the public the full extent of Israel’s espionage operation involving Pollard, and the State Department, which was under extreme pressure from Israel to reveal as little as possible about the case. It is now clear that details of what Israel received from Pollard were covered up per the State Department’s wishes. The intelligence provided by Pollard was described in court documents as “scientific, technical, and military information,” contained in unnamed “intelligence publications and satellite photographs.”
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir authorized Israeli diplomats and American Jews who advanced Israeli propaganda to claim the Justice Department was waging an “anti-Semitic” war against Israel in order to cover up its own counter-intelligence weaknesses.
Some pro-Israeli U.S. media assets even proffered the absurd line that Pollard was not really spying for the Israelis when he was arrested, along with his wife and cat “Dusty”, as they sought refuge in the Israeli embassy in Washington. Israeli propagandists tried to claim that Pollard was really spying for South Africa, Pakistan, USSR, an Arab country, East Germany, and/or China. Of course, it defies logic that any spy for Pakistan or an Arab country, fearful of being arrested, would make an immediate dash for the Israeli embassy.
The Los Angeles Times even ran a story that quoted some unnamed U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials as claiming Pollard was a “false flag,” explained by the paper as a “technique in which one country dupes a spy into thinking that he is working for another.” But clearly, most in U.S. intelligence and the Justice Department were not buying the “false flag” angle, which was clearly emanating from Israeli propaganda circles.
The Los Angeles Times asked one Reagan administration official about the theory that Pollard was spying for Pakistan or an Arab country. The source attempted to deflect suspicion away from Israel while rejecting the preposterous notion that a Zionist like Pollard was spying for Pakistan or the Arabs. The source said it was “none of them. It’d be the “bad guys,” a reference to the Soviets or eastern bloc nations.
Israel also pressured U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz to issue a communiqué on December 20, 1985, stating that Israel had “fully cooperated” with the United States in disclosing the government of Israel’s role in the Pollard affair. Of course, Israel did no such thing and failed to make Pollard’s handlers available to the Justice Department for questioning.
The government of Prime Minister Shimon Peres also threatened the United States that if leaks about Israel’s espionage activities continued to leak from the Justice Department, it would make available details of U.S. espionage against Israel as a way to drive away American Jewish support for the Ronald Reagan administration. Israel also exposed the person it suspected of leaking the details on Israeli espionage: Joseph diGenova. A June 7, 1986, Washington Post article quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying, “diGenova wants to stick it to Israel. He opposed the [Pollard] plea bargaining from the very beginning because he wanted to cash in on publicity that a sensational trial would bring him. Now he is trying to make the case bigger than it is. He’s enjoying the limelight . . . Who knows? Maybe it will get him elected to the Senate.”
DiGenova, a resident of the District of Columbia, could not even run for the Senate since the district is not a state. DiGenova went on to found the Washington, DC law firm of
diGenova & Toensing, LLP.
Israel wanted to cut the wings of the Justice Department because of other moves it was making against Israeli spies. It and the Customs Service broke up a krytron nuclear trigger smuggling ring involving Milco, Inc. of Huntington Beach, California, a U.S. defense contractor. Milco received the krytrons from EG&G via Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan’s Mossad front firm, Heli Trading Company. Milchan, an Israeli citizen, also brokered the sale of nuclear technology to the apartheid regime of South Africa.
Customs and FBI agents also raided factories in Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut that were involved in smuggling advanced tank cannon technology to Israel. U.S. Customs also investigated eight Israelis attached to the Israeli Defense Ministry’s purchasing office in New York for trying to illegally smuggle cluster bomb technology to Israel. Subpoenas were served on the “Israel Eight” and over a dozen U.S. businessmen and their companies were served with subpoenas and search warrants. 1986 was the last year the FBI, Customs, and the Pentagon got tough with the Israelis over espionage.
One exception at the Pentagon was Navy Secretary John Lehman who publicly stated that he believed cases like that involving Pollard represented nothing more than “white collar crime.” Lehman would later shill for the Israelis as a member of the 9/11 Commission who refused to look beyond the Bush administration’s line and peer into both Israeli and Saudi involvement in the terrorist attack.
Obama, who has taken an unprecedented stand against U.S. national security whistleblowers, invoking Espionage Act charges more than any of his predecessors combined, appears more than willing to condone the outright espionage activities of Pollard. Unlike the whistleblowers targeted by Obama, Pollard only had in his interests making money and serving the interests of a hostile intelligence power, Israel.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2014 WayneMadenReport.com
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).