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Demand to Free Pollard Builds Spying Evidence

January 12, 1999| From Newsday

WASHINGTON — Rejecting Jonathan Jay Pollard's assertion that he was motivated by ideology when he passed thousands of classified U.S. documents to Israel in the mid-1980s, intelligence officials disclosed Monday that the convicted spy also provided classified documents to several other countries, including Pakistan, occasionally at odds with the Jewish state.

Disclosures that the former naval intelligence analyst had attempted to sell his espionage services to other countries came as several administration agencies delivered to the White House their recommendations about whether Pollard, serving a life sentence, should be pardoned or paroled.

Administration sources said Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in her recommendation Monday to President Clinton, said there are no "new, compelling, overriding, foreign policy reasons" for his release. The sources said it is unlikely that any of the agencies, including the FBI, CIA and the State, Justice and Defense departments, would recommend a reduction in sentence.

The agencies were asked by Clinton to prepare their assessment, after Israel demanded Pollard's release during the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations in October in Maryland.

Intelligence officials said that Pollard had given classified documents to Pakistan, South Africa and two other countries they declined to identify.

"He actually turned over the documents [but] never got any money," one of the officials said. "Our speculation is that he was trying to establish bona fides," to nurture an espionage relationship with the countries.

An Israeli official in Washington, who asked not to be identified, when told that intelligence officials now claim Pollard had also provided classified documents to other countries, commented: "That material never came up during the trial. I suspect people in the intelligence community are trying to smear him."

Prominent Jewish groups in the U.S. have also lobbied for Pollard's release. Malcolm Hohnlein, president of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, said the Jewish groups had not taken a position on the substance of the charges against Pollard, only that he should be freed "on humanitarian grounds."

But CIA Director George J. Tenet told Clinton several weeks ago that he would find it difficult to continue as chief of U.S. intelligence if Pollard were released.

An intelligence official said that Pollard's passing of classified information to the four countries was separate from another scheme, disclosed at the time of his sentencing in 1987, involving China. His wife at the time, Anne Henderson, admitted to prosecutors that Pollard had given her classified documents that she passed on to the Chinese Embassy in Washington in hopes of landing a public relations job.

Another intelligence source said the Chinese believed they were being set up by U.S. counterintelligence. Henderson was not hired at the embassy. She later pleaded guilty to possession of classified materials, unrelated to the documents she gave the Chinese, and was sentenced to prison.

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