WASHINGTON (Dec. 2)
The State Department indicated today that it believes that Israel will cooperate fully in the investigation of Jonathan Pollard, the Navy civilian counterterrorism expert charged with selling classified information to Israel.
The Department’s deputy spokesman, Charles Redman, stressed that “circumstances have changed” since Friday when he expressed “dismay” that Israel had “not yet provided the full and prompt cooperation we asked.”
But since then, Redman noted, Israel’s Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, apologized yesterday for Israel’s espionage in the U.S. “to the extent that it did take place” and promised to uncover the facts in the case. Redman also noted that Secretary of State George Shultz yesterday welcomed the Israeli apology, calling it “an excellent statement.”
Redman would not discuss the two specific demands made on Friday — U.S. access to two Israeli diplomats recalled the day after Pollard was arrested outside the Israel Embassy on November 21, and return of any stolen documents.
But he noted that Shultz said, “We have been assured that the Israelis will provide us with access to the individuals who are knowlegeable about the case and that Israel will give us a full report on the extent of whatever activity their investigation reveals to have taken place.”
He also pointed to Shultz’s statement that “for our part, we will work closely with Israeli authorities so that both countries can expeditiously get to the bottom of this case and see that justice is done.”
Redman would not confirm speculation that the statements by Peres and Shultz were worked out by the two officials during a telephone conversation between them early yesterday. He would only say that the U.S. and Israel are always in close contact with each other.