NSA: The Jonathan Pollard Spy Case: The CIA’s 1987 Damage Assessment Declassified
14 December, 2012 – National Security Archive
New Details on What Secrets Israel Asked Pollard to Steal
CIA Withholding Overturned on Appeal by National Security Archive
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 407
Edited by Jeffrey T. Richelson
For more information contact:
Jeffrey T. Richelson/Thomas Blanton
202/994-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C., December 12, 2012 — When Naval Investigative Service analyst Jonathan Pollard spied for Israel in 1984 and 1985, his Israeli handlers asked primarily for nuclear, military and technical information on the Arab states, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union — not on the United States — according to the newly-declassified CIA 1987 damage assessment of the Pollard case, published today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).
The damage assessment includes new details on the specific subjects and documents sought by Pollard’s Israeli handlers (pages 36-43), such as Syrian drones and central communications, Egyptian missile programs, and Soviet air defenses. The Israelis specifically asked for a signals intelligence manual that they needed to listen in on Soviet advisers in Syria. The document describes how Pollard’s handler, Joseph Yagur, told him to ignore a request, from Yagur’s boss, for U.S. “dirt” on senior Israeli officials and told Pollard that gathering such information would terminate the operation (page 38).
The damage assessment also features a detailed 21-page chronology of Pollard’s personal life and professional career, including his work for the Israelis, highlighting more than a dozen examples of unusual behavior by Pollard that the CIA suggests should have, in retrospect, alerted his supervisors that he was a security risk. Prominent on the list were false statements by Pollard during a 1980 assignment with Task Force 168, the naval intelligence element responsible for HUMINT collection. Pollard is now serving a life sentence in prison for espionage.
The CIA denied release of most of the Pollard damage assessment in 2006, claiming for example that pages 18 through 165 were classified in their entirety and not a line of those pages could be released. The Archive appealed the CIA‘s decision to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, established by President Clinton in 1995 and continued by Presidents Bush and Obama. The ISCAP showed its value yet again as a check on systemic overclassification by ordering release of scores of pages from the Pollard damage assessment that were previously withheld by CIA, and published today for the first time.
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