CIA Threatens, Bill Caves Again
Sidney Zion - New York Daily News - November 12, 1998
In the spring of 1948, Secretary of State George Marshall threatened to
resign if President Harry Truman recognized the State of Israel. Truman
revered Marshall, as did the country and the free world. But he recognized
Israel. And Marshall didn't resign.
In the fall of 1998, CIA Director George Tenet threatened to resign if
President Bill Clinton released Jonathan Pollard to Israel. Clinton
collapsed to this great pressure from a guy nobody ever heard of until
Clinton made him.
It's hardly the only difference between Harry Truman and Bill Clinton, but
it tells us more about Clinton's character than anything Kenneth Starr was
able to produce.
It tells us plenty, too, about the character of the Justice Department and
the intelligence community. They want Pollard iced until the day he dies,
and they are shameless because what they did was to wire the double cross
to the double standard.
It is no exaggeration to say that Jonathan Pollard was the victim of the
worst double cross in the history of American jurisprudence. He pleaded
guilty to spying for Israel and got
life , the maximum sentence under the
The Justice Department promised to ask only for a "substantial sentence"
which meant 10 years, because nobody ever had to do more time than that for
spying for an ally.
Justice was lucky to make that deal. Had Pollard refused to talk,
practically nothing would have happened to him. His Israeli control agents
were out of the U.S. The worst that he would have been hit with was a minor
charge of illegal possession of classified materials.
But Pollard chose to trust his prosecutors and so spilled the beans. He
thought of himself not as an agent against America, but as an agent for
Israel helping the Israelis against the Arabs. And he was only that. The
secrets he delivered to the Mossad could in no way harm the United States.
The Justice Department implicitly accepted his reasoning and was right to
accept it, because the stuff Pollard delivered to Israel should have been
turned over by our government under longstanding agreements. We are talking
about buildups in death weaponry by the Iraqis and the Syrians.
But Caspar Weinberger, then secretary of defense, did not want Israel to
know these things. And in the end, it was Cappy Weinberger who delivered
the poison pill to Pollard's judge.
Weinberger, who never forgave his grandfather for his Jewish name, sent an
eleventh-hour memorandum to the trial judge. It accused Pollard of
"treason" a charge never made by the prosecution because it couldn't be
made, since Israel is an ally of America. As lagniappe, Weinberger called
Pollard "the worst spy in American history."
This is the Big Lie, and the best one can say about Weinberger is that he
confused Pollard with Aldrich Ames, the CIA agent who later confessed to
causing the deaths of many American agents inside the Soviet Union. Ames,
under investigation, apparently deflected suspicion from himself to
At Wye River last month, Clinton agreed to release Pollard as a "sweetener"
to Benjamin Netanyahu. Contrary to the White House spin when the deal went
south, it was Clinton who raised it on the day the peace talks began.
Bibi was portrayed in the press as a guy trying to blackmail the President
with a last-minute demand. Pure baloney. What happened was that the CIA and
the prosecutors who double-crossed Pollard went to war and backed Clinton
off his promise.
The New York Times gave the swindle away yesterday when it broke the story
about Tenet's threatening to resign. If Clinton hadn't made the deal
already, why would Tenet make the threat? If you want to define blackmail,
say no more.
Meanwhile, Michael Schwartz walks free. Who's he? Not a Jew, despite his
name. Schwartz, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, was charged last
year with delivering military secrets to Saudi Arabia between 1992 and
1994. He pleaded guilty to a couple of charges lesser than espionage and
was set free with nothing more than a less-than-honorable discharge.
And Jonathan Pollard rots in prison. The double-cross wired to the double