RALPH PETERS: SHOULD JONATHAN POLLARD BE RELEASED? NO….SEE NOTE PLEASE
IN MY OPINION JONATHAN POLLARDS IS NOT AND HAS NEVER BEEN A HERO, AND I HAVE BEEN VERY CRITICAL OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE HIM ONE HERE AND IN ISRAEL. POLLARD IS A PUNK WHO TOOK MONEY FOR BETRAYING AMERICA….HOWEVER, HE HAS SERVED A HARSHER SENTENCE THAN OTHER SPIES WHO SOLD SECRETS TO AMERICAN ENEMIES AND I THINK HE SHOULD NOW BE RELEASED….PETERS IS WRONG HERE….RSK
I have been a dedicated supporter of Israel since childhood. I believe that Israel is worth fighting and dying for. I believe that Israel is an integral part of my civilization. I believe that Israel’s survival is critical on practical, strategic and moral grounds. And I believe that Jonathan Pollard should have been executed for treason and espionage.
Pollard is scheduled for release from prison in 2015. His release will be a travesty of justice.
Now Pollard’s misguided American supporters want him freed even earlier to enable him to attend his father’s funeral.
Our government’s response must be “No.”
While I believe that support for Israel by U.S. citizens is a moral imperative, there are clear lines that must not be crossed. And Pollard crossed one of the clearest of those lines: Despite his oath to protect the classified information to which he, as a civilian analyst employed by the U.S. Navy, was granted privileged access, he passed on enough Secret, Top Secret and Codeword material to Israel to fill a delivery van with the print-outs.
Doing so was an act of treason and espionage against the United States. Period.
Well-meaning—but duped—supporters of Pollard argue that it wasn’t really a grave offense, since he only gave the classified data to Israel. They’re wrong on two counts. First, on a practical level, Pollard committed his security breaches during a crucial phase of the Cold War, when we had serious problems with U.S. intelligence information and defense secrets leaking from Israel to the former Soviet Union.
But the ethical and legal case is even more powerful: Espionage is espionage. You don’t get a pass because you illicitly shared classified information with a “friendly” country. First, governments don’t have friends, only allies. Legally and ethically, it does not matter whether you gave the information to China or to Canada—you still betrayed a fundamental trust which all recipients of classified information swear to uphold. A spy is a spy is a spy. And the penalty for spying against our country should be death.
We’ve gone soft, of course. Nowadays, the absolute worst thing a spy can expect is a life sentence—with the possibility of eventual parole. This is unacceptable.
We have to deal with the legal system as it is, of course, but we cannot afford to weaken it even more. Betraying the special trust your country has bestowed upon you must remain a serious matter. There can be no “personal hardship” exceptions for spies.
Our government has sound practical programs and practices for sharing appropriate classified information with our allies. When necessary or helpful, the information is passed on. Often, we share information with Israel and other close allies as a matter of routine. But that information must flow through the proper channels and be subject to review by those officially empowered to oversee the relevant programs.
Pollard passed on a wealth of information—much of which was not of particular value in the defense of Israel, but which compromised highly classified U.S. programs, capabilities, sources and methods. He did deep and extensive damage to our security. This was not a matter of accidental disclosure or a single misstep or two. Pollard systematically and enthusiastically betrayed us all.
The day he is released from prison will be a black day for those of us who honorably and loyally safeguarded the classified information entrusted to us during our careers of service to the noblest country in the history of humankind. Let it sound as brutal as it may, but I hope Pollard dies in prison before his 2015 release.
This is a crucial test case. We cannot afford to fail it. As it is, too many Americans regard the safeguarding of classified information as a joke.
Which brings me to my gravest fear for the system: the ultimate fate of PFC Bradley Manning, the worst American traitor since Julius Rosenberg (who did all he could to help Stalin build a Soviet atomic bomb with American secrets). As it is, Manning will not face the death penalty. Personally, I wish we could not only sentence him to death, but execute him with the music of his beloved Lady Gaga thumping in the background. There is no penalty sufficiently cruel for traitors.
I worry that, if a military court convenes and convicts Manning before President Obama leaves office, Obama will “do a Clinton” and pardon no end of scoundrels at the end of his regime (and it is, indeed, a regime). To please his America-hating left-wing base, I fear he will pardon Manning, making a mockery of the worst American security breach in over a half-century—even worse than the security compromise that should have brought Jonathan Pollard the death penalty.
Should we support Israel? Unstintingly. But loyalty to the United States of America must come first for every U.S. citizen.
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer, a former enlisted man, a journalist and a bestselling author. He has experience in seventy countries on six continents. His latest books are “The Officers’ Club,” a novel of the post-Vietnam military, and “Endless War: Middle-Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization.” Ralph Peters worked briefly with the Pakistani military and intelligence leadership during in the mid-1990s. His military report on his on-the-ground experience warned of growing Islamization within the Pakistani forces. Nobody in Washington cared.
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