Jonathan Pollard, Convicted Spy, Completes Parole and May Move to Israel

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Jonathan Pollard, Convicted Spy, Completes Parole and May Move to Israel


In Israel, Mr. Pollard still is viewed as a hero, who sacrificed much for the country’s security. But even if time has blunted the outrage, the American government continues to view him as a traitor who did huge amounts of damage.

Still, intelligence officials in the United States and Israel are eager to forget Mr. Pollard and the contentious era he represented when the countries’ intelligence relationship was marked as much by spying and suspicion as it was by cooperation.

Some former American intelligence officials noted that the threat of Israel spying on the United States remains, even as cooperation has deepened. In just the past year, the countries have worked closely together on the assassinations of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s security mastermind, and Abu Muhammad al-Masri, a senior Qaeda operative living in Tehran.

After his arrest in 1985, Mr. Pollard eventually pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors who agreed to seek a yearslong sentence. But the judge, relying on a once-classified damage assessment written by Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, sentenced him to life in prison. Mr. Pollard ultimately served three decades behind bars, the longest stretch in prison for an American who illegally gave material to an allied government.

In October 1987, the C.I.A., with Mr. Pollard’s cooperation, began working on a damage assessment. Though a redacted version of the document has been made public, much remains classified. Intelligence officials identified a large number of documents on varied topics that Mr. Pollard shared with Israeli officials.

The report found that while the Israelis did not request information on American military plans or some of the most delicate topics, the “sheer quantity” of disclosures posed a risk to intelligence sources and collection methods. “Pollard’s operation has few parallels among known U.S. espionage cases,” the C.I.A. report said.

Mr. Pollard was released from prison in November 2015, leaving a federal penitentiary in North Carolina to live in New York. The conditions of his parole, unsuccessfully contested by his lawyer and the Israeli government, did not allow him to travel outside the United States for five years without permission.





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