July 2, 2007
Vanunu and Pollard: Hero vs. Spy
By Kenneth Barr
A comparison of the Vanunu and Pollard spy cases. Vanunu revealed Israel's nuclear capabilities; Pollard tried to sell US "NOFORN" info (no foreign dissemination) to Israel.
The BBC News web site reported today that Mordechai Vanunu, the man responsible for alerting the world to Israel's nuclear capability, was jailed for an additional six months for "violating his parole." What he did was give interviews to the media, including Eileen Fleming of "We Are Wide Awake" and a regular contributor and advertiser on this site. I'm sure comment from her is forthcoming.
However, as a Jew, Levite and son of a Holocaust Survivor, let me say that if there is a political prisoner held anywhere in the world, Mordechai Vanunu is that person. His crime, telling the truth. His sentence, repeated imprisonments, an inability to travel when "free" and other indignities you or I would never tolerate. Vanunu has been profiled on 60 Minutes and other topical programs throughout the world. Considering that nuclear proliferation is a worldwide concern, where is the outrage over his treatment?
Contrast that to the outrage in some quarters of the American Jewish community over the imprisonment of self admitted spy Jonathon Pollard. Pollard, who was admittedly in the pay of Israel for the purpose of obtaining classified material from the United States, was sentenced to life after pleading guilty to espionage. Although he worked out a plea deal, federal judges are not bound by sentencing agreements and his judge gave him the max. His lawyer should have warned him, or, if he did, Pollard wasn't paying attention.
It is suspected that other foreign powers also benefited from Mr. Pollard’s spying. Mr. Pollard was an American citizen, working in the Central Clearance Facility, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency. Very simply put, he committed treason against the nation to which he owed total allegiance, the United States of America.
The “communication secrets” Mr. Pollard admitted to trying to provide foreign – that’s right, foreign – governments were not merely innocuous Radio Telephone Operator codes. The information he tried to acquire for his foreign masters was so delicate it carried the additional access restriction of “NOFORN,” meaning no foreign dissemination is allowed.
He used his position at CCF to identify personnel in sensitive duty positions who are of the Jewish faith. He then contacted 31 of these service members (sometimes more than one contact was attempted) and offered sums of cash to turn over to him the sensitive material of which they had custodial custody. All 31 reported his contacting them. That’s how he was caught. I should know. I was one of those 31 (emphasis added by publisher).
At the time of the first contact, I was assigned as the Intelligence and Security Specialist to the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery at Fort Bragg, NC. I served a total of 10 years, 2 months and 10 days on active duty service, in the Field Artillery and subsequently as an Arabic linguist in Military Intelligence. I am a graduate of the Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center.
Mr. Pollard claimed we had a duty to Israel as well as the United States. As a member of the American Armed Forces, sworn to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic; and to bear true allegiance to the same…,” I had no such divided loyalties. Neither did my 30 colleagues. Our loyalty is, was and always shall be to the United States of America, first, last and always.
Israel is a foreign nation when it comes to classified material. It had no right to it. It still doesn’t, unless the classifying authority says it does. In the case of the material I was responsible for, that authority is the president of the United States and no one else.
Mr. Pollard is a traitor and deserves the punishment he is receiving. He is no better than the Walkers or Aldrich Ames. Any efforts to paint him in a heroic light are repugnant and a stain upon responsible American Jewry.
I am a freelance writer located in New York City. I am also a Certified Lay Speaker in the Metropolitan District, New York Annual Conference, United Methodist Church. I am considered a Jewish Christian or Christian Jew, whichever you prefer, having been Bar-Mitzvahed in 1970 into the Tribe of Levi (making me a Levite). Plus, I'm the son of a Holocaust Survivor.