TEL AVIV — The commission appointed to investigate the Pollard spy scandal may be doomed because a lawyer has advised three key witnesses not to testify and the investigators cannot force them to do so.
David Libai, the attorney, said Thursday that he fears that his clients' statements to the inquiry, which is being conducted in private, could be used against them in a U.S. court if the findings were turned over to the United States.
Jonathan Jay Pollard, a 32-year-old American Jew who worked as a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, was sentenced early this month in Washington to life in prison for selling U.S. military secrets to Israel.
Israel says the spy operation was run without government authorization by a Defense Department agency since disbanded.
No Subpoena Powers
The two-man commission appointed by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to investigate cannot issue subpoenas requiring witnesses to appear.
Libai said in a telephone interview: "The law is not clear about the commission's authority or the rights of those questioned. There is nothing that says what they tell the commission cannot be used against them in a U.S. court of law."