Leading Defense Aide Says U.S. Lies About Pollard

Middle East News Line - July 24, 2000


- A leading strategist who served as a staffer on congressional intelligence committees has accused the U.S. intelligence community of lying about convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

Angelo Codevilla, a U.S. professor who for years served as a Senate staffer with access to classified intelligence, says the CIA and FBI have lied regarding Pollard's role and his help to Israel during the early 1980s.

Pollard, sentenced to life in prison in 1986, was a low-level naval intelligence analyst without any access to sources or codes that could damage U.S. security, Codevilla says.

Last year, President Bill Clinton ordered a review of Pollard's life sentence, but the results were never announced. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said that unlike his predecessors he would not raise the Pollard issue with Clinton.

Israeli and Arab diplomatic sources, however, said Barak has asked Clinton to free Pollard as part of any Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

Codevilla, a staffer on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in the 1980s, said Pollard provided Israel with intelligence long supplied by Washington but severed by the CIA after Israel's destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. The Israeli operation, which employed U.S. intelligence, angered then-deputy CIA director Bobby Ray Inman, who ordered a halt to the intelligence and accused the Israelis of damaging U.S. relations with President Saddam Hussein.

Pollard, then an analyst in the Office of Naval Intelligence, decided to maintain the supply of U.S. intelligence to Israel. Codevilla said this consisted of satellite photographs, reports, electronic directories.

"What he gave out was satellite pictures," Codevilla said in an interview to the Washington Weekly.. "These pictures were no different in terms of sources from what the U.S. was still giving to Israel. The U.S. was still giving Israel pictures of southern and western Syria. Pollard was giving them pictures of eastern Syria and Iraq. So in terms of satellite intelligence sources his impact was nonexistent. He gave them primarily Middle Eastern information."

Codevilla served as a naval and foreign service officer and as a senior staff member on the Senate Intelligence Committee from 1978-85. Since 1995 Codevilla has been a professor of international relations at Boston University.

Codevilla accused former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, U.S. intelligence and prosecutors of lying when they assert that Pollard provided huge amounts of information to Israel. He said that in all Pollard handed over seven briefcases of information to Israel, far less than the accusations that the amount of documents he gave could fill a small room.

"Seven briefcases do not a room fill, except in the imaginations of insincere people," Codevilla said.

The former Senate intelligence staffer also said Pollard did not compromise U.S. agents or U.S. operations that targeted the Soviet Union. He said those who were found to have commited the crimes Pollard was secretly accused of were given lighter sentences than Pollard.

"He [Pollard] was sentenced on the basis of things whispered in the ear of a compliant judge," Codevilla said.

Codevilla said Weinberger lied about Pollard's role to the judge who rejected a plea bargain and sentenced Pollard to life in prison. Codevilla said Weinberger, a former senior executive of the Bechtel company, which constructed numerous factories in Iraq, had long advocated a pro-Saddam policy that led to Baghdad's development of missile and nonconventional weapons capability.

"They [Bechtel] built one of the factories that later on made chemical weapons," Codevilla said. "Now, what is Jonathan Pollard's role in all of this? He gave to Israel U.S. satellite pictures of these factories, together with U.S. intelligence assessments of what these factories were doing.

These pictures and intelligence assessments contradicted what the U.S. government was officially telling Israel. So the Israelis were coming to America, and in official meetings were calling people like Weinberger liars, which of course these officials did not appreciate."

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