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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pollard Gets His Freedom; a Nation Yawns

Jonathan Jay Pollard, the notorious convicted spy, will be freed in November after nearly 30 years in the big house.  (Always with the three names, just like John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald.    But you can call him Jay, or you can call him Johnny, or you can call him JJ...)  Instead of this being a political decision, the U.S. Parole Board made the call that he should be released. 

I'm satisfied he's being released.   Thirty years seems like enough.  He was initially given a life sentence.  Thirty years is a long time.  Ain't that right, Edward Snowden?   (No middle name?) 

Pollard offered to spy for Israel when he was working for the Office of Naval Intelligence.  He had previously attempted to establish a relationship with the South African service, a little tidbit which has always made his claims of Israeli patriotism a bit suspect.

Pollard should never have been in the intel community in the first place.   He was a drug user in the 1970s and couldn't get into the CIA because of it.  His superiors at ONI wanted to fire him before the mess got started.   All the warning signs were there.

High officials in the American intelligence community (IC) of always resisted--sometimes violently--the idea that Pollard should be released because he spied for an ally.  I believe George Tenet threatened to resign as DCI when Clinton contemplated it. 

But now the IC seems rather quiet.  Maybe because recent spy controversies have gotten more serious over the years?

Here's a column by Noah Feldman summing up the conflict a lot of American Jews have had with the Pollard case:

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