Jonathan Pollard pleaded guilty Wednesday to spying for Israel while working as a civilian intelligence analyst for the United States Navy.
His wife, Anne, also pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiring to receive embezzled government property and being an accessory after the fact to the possession of national defense documents.
The pleas worked out between the Justice Department and the Pollards means that the government avoids a jury trial in which revelations could have further damaged relations between the United States and Israel.
Chief Judge Aubrey Robinson, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia withheld sentencing pending a report from the Probation Department on the two Pollards.
‘CONSPIRACY’ TO COMMIT ESPIONAGE
Pollard, 31, actually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit espionage rather than to espionage itself, apparently as a result of the agreement between the Justice Department and his lawyer.
But either charge carries a maximum of a life prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. Anne Pollard, 26, could receive up to 10 years in prison and fines totalling $500,000.
U.S. Attorney Joseph di Genova indicated to reporters that he will not seek the maximum but would seek “substantial” sentences. Pollard’s attorney, Richard Hibey, told reporters that “at no time” did Pollard believe “he was acting contrary to the interests of the United States.”
He said Pollard was “totally committed to America” but was also concerned about the survival of Israel and the need to fight terrorism. Pollard worked in the Navy’s newly established anti-terrorist alert center.
PROBE IS CONTINUING
However, di Genova said Pollard pleaded guilty to espionage and by definition that meant damaging the national security of the U.S.
Di Genova said that the investigation is continuing and that the Pollards are cooperating as part of their agreement with the Justice Department. He said it was possible that others would be indicted, but would not say whether they were Israelis or Americans.
The indictment and the Factual Proffer signed by Pollard lists four Israelis as co-conspirators. They are: Rafael Eitan, who headed the unit to which Pollard reported; Israeli Air Force Col. Aviem Sella, the first Israeli Pollard dealt with; Joseph Yagur, the science consul at the Israeli Consulate in New York; Irit Erb, a secretary at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. The documents give details of the case since Pollard in the Spring of 1984 said he wanted to supply information to the Israelis. According to it documents, Pollard first began supplying documents to Sella, at that time a graduate student at New York University.
In September 1984, Sella said he was returning to Israel and directed Pollard and his wife to go to Paris at Israeli expense. There, they met with Sella, Eitan and Yagur.
BROUGHT DOCUMENTS TO EMBASSY EMPLOYEE
Back in Washington, the documents said, Pollard brought documents every two weeks to the Washington apartment of Erb. He also met once a month with Yagur, who paid him at that time. The documents were photographed and brought back to Pollard’s office.
In Washington and during a trip to Israel. Pollard also met with an Israeli identified only as “Uzi.” Di Genova refused to identify him any further.
Pollard received $1,500 a month at first and then was raised to $2,500 for a total of $45,000 by the time he was arrested outside the Israeli Embassy last November.
The documents also reveal that in the fall of 1985, Yagur showed Pollard an Israeli passport with Pollard’s photograph and the name “Danny Cohen,” the name Pollard would have when he eventually went to Israel.
Yagur said a foreign bank account was opened in the name of “Danny Cohen” with a deposit of $30,000.
He was told $30,000 would be deposited each year for nine years since the espionage operation was expected to last 10 years.
The documents said that Anne Pollard, who was doing public relations work, was given classified information on China by her husband to help her in a presentation she was to make at the Chinese Embassy.
Di Genova noted that the Israeli government cooperated in the investigation with the “unprecedented” act of allowing U.S. investigators to go to Israel and interview persons involved in the case.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.