Jonathan Pollard Affair: What does it mean? What does it
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is a specialist in national security affairs. Bowman was
most recently the Deputy, National Counterintelligence
Executive. Previously, he was Senior Research Fellow at
the National Defense University (Center for Technology
and National Security Policy). He retired from the
Senior Executive Service, Federal Bureau of
Investigation where he served successively as Deputy
General Counsel (National Security Law) Senior Counsel
for National Security Law and Director, Intelligence
Issues and Policy Group (National Security Branch). He
is a former intelligence officer, an international
lawyer and a recognized specialist in national security
law with extensive experience in espionage and terrorism
investigations. Bowman is also a retired U.S. Navy
Captain who has served as Head of International Law at
the Naval War College, as a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy
in Rome, Italy and as Chief of Litigation for the U.S.
all. I'm going to talk to you about the Jonathan Pollard
case, but in -- I'm going to make a very dogmatic
statement about it. In order to have any credibility in
saying it, I need to give you just a little bit of
I am a
lawyer, but I've not always been a lawyer. I was for six
years a naval intelligence officer. And then at that
point, the Navy decided I would be better as a lawyer
and sent me to law school.
I only had a couple of years as a lawyer before I had
unexpected transfer orders to the National Security
Agency. I was the first Judge Advocate to go to the NSA
and the reason I went -- the Director of the Agency at
the time was Admiral Bobby Inman. Smartest man I've ever
met in my life. And as soon as I got to NSA, he pulled
me into his office and he said I made a mistake in my
life. I always went to one particular lawyer for advice
and we both made Admiral and we never had time to talk
to each other again. He said, "I want you to learn
everything you can about intelligence operations and how
to support them with legal -- with your law degree. And
go out and train other people to do it." And so that was
my direction at first. From there I -- after I left NSA,
I got a second law degree and the -- I went and became
the legal advisor to Naval Intelligence.
short in my 27 years of active duty, I only had two
assignments that were not supporting intelligence
operations. And as I neared the end of my career, I came
back from a tour as a diplomat in Italy and I'd only
been here a couple of months when the FBI came and said
we want you to come and do the same thing for us that
you did in the Navy. So I spent the next 11 years in the
Senior Executive Service of the FBI.
The reason I
give you that background is because I have worked every
major intelli -- every major espionage operation between
1979 and 2009. And quite a few that weren't major
operations as well. In my judgment there are four
espionage agents who stand out as the ones who did the
most damage to the United States. Chronologically they
are John Walker, Jonathan Pollard, Aldrich Ames and Bob
Hanson, who I knew personally. I never worked the
Aldrich Ames case, that's the only one that I didn't
work because I was transitioning from the Navy to the
FBI at that time.
Now, why do
I say that Jonathan Pollard is a major problem or did a
major damage to us? Background for him, as you heard, he
was a Navy Intelligence Analyst. And he wanted to make a
lot of money. And he had ideas about weapons schemes and
things like this. But one day he was talking to a friend
of his in New York who commented that he had met a very
interesting person, a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force
named Avi Sella and Pollard said can you introduce me to
And he did. And right off the bat, Jonathan Pollard said
I can help you, what -- you know, what is it you would
like to have? Well Sella naturally had Jonathan Pollard
checked out and they realized that he was intent on what
he said. And so he said yes, we'll be glad to receive
anything that you can get.
Well Pollard had a top secret SCI clearance and he had a
courier pass. So he could take classified information
out and anything he wanted. And he started giving
information to the Israelis and one of the comments they
said was that don't give us any secret information, we
don't need that level. Only top secret and SCI
And so that's what he started doing. And because of his
credentials and his courier pass, he could go to the
various intelligence libraries and get anything he
wanted. And pretty soon the Israelis started tasking him
with specific documents they wanted.
And the --
the way they were able to do that is they had a book
that was published by the DIA that was basically a
catalog of all of the things that were available. And
Jonathan Pollard didn't give it to them, they got that
from somebody else. So Jonathan Pollard started giving
them whatever they wanted.
Now just to
recap for a moment what Pollard was trying to do. He
didn't start out to give information to the Israelis, he
started out trying to sell anything he could, including
classified information. He approached the Pakistanis, he
approached the South Africans, he approached the
Australians. He turned over classified information to a
South African attaché just as a show of good faith.
So you know, he's not a person who was trying just to
help the Israelis, he was a pretty venal person here. At
one point when they were -- he was meeting with his
handlers in Paris, he started commenting you know, I'm
really taking a big risk, you know, all this sort of
stuff. You know I can really get a lot of time in jail
for what I'm doing, it's a big deal. And the Israelis
said well, what is it you want? And he said up it by
$1,000 a month.
So you know
this is -- this is really what he is. He's a person
trying to make money. Now what did he do to earn my
suggestion that he's one of the top four? He took so
much information to the Israelis, that they had to
install two high speed copiers in an apartment to take
care of everything that he brought them.
take information out every night in a couple of
briefcases, give it to them to copy and then because
they had high speed copiers, they were able to get it
back to him quickly. And then he would replace it as
soon as he got to work in the morning.
How much did he give them? By his own admission, he said
I gave them enough information to occupy a space that
would be six feet by six feet by ten feet. That's his
admission. We never got the documents back from the
Israelis that he gave them. Now they did give us a few
documents back, they gave us a couple of thousand back.
you know we don't know all that he gave. Although
Jonathan Pollard has a -- a almost photographic mind. So
he was able to tell us an awful lot about what he did.
Now the reason he told us all this stuff is we made a
deal that we would -- his wife was involved in this too.
And we made a deal that we would cap her sentence to
five years. And that we would not ask for the maximum
punishment for him.
Now the information that he turned over, some of it
actually was information covered by 18 U.S. Code 194,
which is mostly electronics communication information.
It carries the death penalty. But at the time that
Jonathan Pollard was -- did his espionage work, there
was no death penalty in the United States. That had been
ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. And at that
time, a life sentence was really in practice 30 years.
So that's what we were looking at.
Pollard was pretty good about telling us all the
information that he had given over. And as a consequence
of that, one of the things that we do usually with
espionage agents, or at least that I did, is I would
write an Affidavit for a senior officer to sign that
explained what the harm was.
So of the things that he gave us, I selected 19
different documents that represented the different
categories of information that he had turned over to the
Israelis. And I -- just using each one, I explained what
the harm is from this type of information, not from this
document, but from this type of information and gave it
to Secretary Weinberger. And Secretary Weinberger made
his edits to it.
One of his
edits -- I have to tell you about this. One of his edits
was he put in a sentence in there that said that if the
death penalty were available, I would have no hesitation
in recommending it. I crossed that out. And the next
version I sent in to him, he put the same thing back in.
And finally I said Mr. Secretary, if we can't ask for
the maximum punishment which is life, we can't say that
death is appropriate. He finally got the picture.
But anyway, this Affidavit was then given to Judge
Aubrey Robinson, who is now deceased and I took it to
him personally. I sat in an out room while he read it
and gave it back to me and said thank you very much,
that's all he said. And then we went to sentencing. And
at sentencing, the prosecutors really didn't say
anything. They got up and they said he's done harm, he
should receive a substantial sentence, but that's about
the character of all they said.
Pollard got up and talked about what he had done and how
sorry he was, and by the way I really didn't do anything
that caused any harm. And Judge Robinson said come up
here young man. And he pulled out the Affidavit which he
now had in his hand. And he pulled it open to a few
pages and he said okay, now explain this one.
And Jonathan Pollard couldn't answer what it was,
because it was a very big deal. In fact it has been made
public now, so I can tell you what Judge Robinson was
pointing at. It was something that's what we all the
Raisin Manual. And the Raisin Manuel is -- was at that
time, a document that described all of the
communications capabilities of the Middle East and how
the NSA could attack them. And Judge Robinson just said
explain this one young man and he was done.
sentencing, Jonathan Pollard got life, which as I said,
meant about thirty years. He has been there for about 27
or 8 years at this point. He has been eligible for
parole for some time. He will not ask for parole because
he wants clemency so as soon as he steps out of prison,
he can leave the United States and go to Israel.
So that is
my story of Jonathan Pollard. I am going to finish it
looks like 13 seconds early. So I thank you for coming
here today, it's been a pleasure.
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