Israeli sought US data on Arab sites

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iol news pic Jonathan Pollard

AP

FILE -- Jonathan Pollard was convicted of treason and espionage in 1987 for passing large amounts of sensitive information to Israel. (AP Photo/ Karl DeBlaker)

Washington - Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a US life sentence for spying for Israel, said he primarily sought information about Arab nations and not the United States, declassified CIA documents said Friday.

Newly released documents offered a fuller picture of the former US naval analyst, highlighting his financial problems and eccentric behavior including a claim at one point that the Irish Republican Army kidnapped his wife.

Pollard, who was arrested in 1985 as he tried to flee to the Israeli embassy in Washington, told investigators he had been asked foremost for US information on Arab or Pakistani nuclear programs and “Arab exotic weaponry,” a former top secret CIA document said.

It said that Pollard provided data on the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters in Tunisia that helped Israel plan its 1985 raid and also handed over a US assessment that gave Syria less of a chance of retaking the Golan Heights in a conflict with Israel.

But the document quoted Pollard as saying that a handler “violently shook his head 'no'“ at a superior's request for CIA “dirt” on Israeli leaders.

Pollard said that Israel “did not request or receive from Pollard intelligence concerning some of the mot sensitive US national security resources,” it said.

“The Israelis never expressed interest in US military activities, plans, capabilities or equipment,” it said.

The documents were published by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, which contested an earlier refusal by the CIA to release the material. However, the CIA still heavily redacted the documents.

The CIA based its information on debriefings of Pollard but said it corroborated his statements through polygraph tests.

A memo said that Pollard gave his Israeli handlers more than they initially sought and said, without elaboration, that the documents included those “on military developments in Israel itself.”

Israel awarded Pollard citizenship in 1995 and has repeatedly urged his release, arguing that the sentence was too harsh as he was spying on behalf of a friendly nation.

Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, said in June that the United States refused to free Pollard out of suspicions that the Jewish state concealed the existence of other spies. - Sapa-AFP


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