Book Reveiw: Nabbing the Worst Spy in U.S. History
Capturing Jonathan Pollard: How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice
By Michael Collins Piper
If you can imagine the average old-fashioned American kitchen pantry (say six feet by ten feet) stacked six feet high from wall to wall with documents and files, then you’ve got the idea of how many top secret documents American born traitor Jonathan Pollard accumulated on behalf of his Israeli handlers.
That’s right, it wasn’t just a briefcase or two of highly classified U.S. defense and intelligence documents that Pollard made away with during the mid-1980s when he was an analyst for the U.S. Naval Investigative Service. No, instead, it was more than a million pages of documents that Pollard gave to his favorite foreign nation, documents from almost every major American intelligence-gathering agency. And considering the actual number of secret documents Pollard spirited away, it’s almost an even bet—according to most informed observers—that there were “higher ups” who were collaborating with Pollard and letting him do precisely what he did.
These days, of course, Pollard is serving out a life sentence in a federal prison, much to the horror and disgust of many “respected” citizens in America who are devoted supporters of Israel, folks who think it was justifiable for Pollard to steal American secrets and give them to Israel because, or so they say, “Israel is America’s closest ally.”
In contrast to that point of view, many veteran American military and intelligence officers say that Pollard did more damage to America’s security than any other spy in American history. And what’s important to keep in mind—in these days when the regime of George W. Bush is constantly talking about nuclear weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East (everyone but Israel’s, that is)—is that much of Pollard’s thievery involved the procurement of
data designed to help advance Israel’s covert nuclear weapons program.
Now, for the first time, from a law enforcement officer’s inside perspective, here is an account of the investigation that nabbed Pollard. Ronald J. Olive, who spent 22 years as a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, mostly in foreign counterintelligence, has written Capturing Jonathan Pollard: How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice.
This 300-page book, supplemented with illustrations, is a fascinating “spy story,” but unlike the brilliant novels of John LeCarre (who has dared to tackle the intrigues of Israel and has thus been called “anti-Semitic”), this is not fiction. This is real-life drama surrounding the strange intrigues of a bizarre little man who is now considered a national hero in Israel and for whom there are periodic demands from American Zionist pressure groups for his release.
However, the U.S. Naval Institute has published this volume, giving its distinguished imprimatur to this first-hand account of the betrayal of the United States by its so-called “ally” and by one of its own citizens.
What strengthens Olive’s account is that it is remarkably detached and yet still passionate, and while quite detailed (almost legalistic), still lively. The reader gets the feel of the nature of the spy hunt that nabbed this American traitor. The author keeps focused on the solid facts that are known about Pollard and details his own specific involvement in (and knowledge of) the investigation of the traitor.
The author avoids wide-ranging speculation about Pollard and leaves that up to others. So this book is no shrill propaganda screed by a critic of Israel, written as a counter to the pro-Pollard (and pro-Israel) rantings that have predominated in literature on the topic.
There have been other books focusing on Pollard’s crimes, largely by Jewish authors who put a favorable twist on his treason, saying it was essentially a good thing since it was helpful to Israel (even though it was treasonous).
However, this is the first-ever completely objective (and thus highly damning) account by an American law enforcement official whose only evident axes to grind are enforcing the law and fighting treason. A good read that deserves widespread recognition. You’ll find Capturing fascinating.
(Issue #4, January 22, 2007)
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