Jonathan Pollard’s attorneys slam NY Times ‘Don’t Trust This Spy’ op-ed

A Hebrew sign in Israel calling for Jonathan Pollard's release. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, who have served as pro bono attorneys for jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard since 2000, slammed a recent New York Times op-ed on Pollard titled “Don’t Trust This Spy.”

The op-ed penned by M.E. Bowmanformer deputy general counsel for national security law at the FBI and former deputy of the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive—claims that Pollard “sold the daily report from the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet Ocean Surveillance Facility in Rota, Spain.”

That allegation “is nowhere to be found in the public court record,” Lauer and Semmelman wrote in a Jerusalem Post op-ed that responded to Bowman’s article. 

“Bowman makes a series of false and inflammatory allegations that are contradicted by the public court record,” they wrote. “Since Bowman would be committing a crime were he to reveal anything contained in the non-public, classified portion of the court record, it is fair to presume that he is not doing so. Since his assertions are nowhere to be found in (and indeed, are contradicted by) the public court record, the only possible conclusion is that his allegations are false.” 

Pollard, who is in his 29th year in U.S. prison, is the only person to receive a life sentence for passing information to a U.S. ally (Israel) without intent to harm America. Declassified CIA documents published in 2012 by the National Security Archive at George Washington University revealed that the intelligence Pollard conveyed to his handlers was limited to information on Pakistan, Arab states, and the Soviet Union. The handlers “did not request or receive from Pollard intelligence concerning some of the most sensitive U.S. national security resources,” the documents said.

Bowman’s op-ed contrasts with the positions taken by a number of officials in the intelligence community and elsewhere who have called for Pollard’s release, including former Secretary of State George Shultz; William Webster, head of the FBI at the time of Pollard’s arrest; former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger, who served as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time of Pollard’s conviction; former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, who served as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Pollard’s sentencing; former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb; and former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, who served under President Ronald Reagan when Pollard was investigated.

Posted on January 21, 2014 .