Israel Paid Pollard $2,500 a Month, FBI Agent Says
Naval intelligence analyst Jonathan J. Pollard told federal agents that he was being paid $2,500 a month for providing classified U.S. documents to Israeli government officials in Washington, an FBI agent testified in federal court Wednesday.
Prosecutors also suggested in the pretrial hearing that Pollard’s 25-year-old wife, Anne Henderson-Pollard, may have been planning to sell documents to the Chinese government that detailed U.S. government knowledge of Chinese intelligence-gathering operations in the United States.
U.S. Magistrate Patrick J. Attridge ordered Pollard held without bail.
FBI special agent Eugene J. Noltkamper, revealing new details of Pollard’s tangled case as he recounted statements Pollard made after being arrested last week, said the $2,500-a-month payments came in cash from an Israeli official identified by Noltkamper only as “his handler.” Pollard, 31, told agents that he had spied for a year and a half for the Israelis, who had also provided him two trips to Europe, Noltkamper said.
Pollard, arrested last Thursday after he and his wife unsuccessfully sought asylum at the Israeli Embassy, has been charged with providing national defense secrets to a representative of a foreign government.
His wife, arrested the next day, was charged with the less serious offense of unauthorized possession of classified documents. Attridge deferred until next Tuesday a decision on whether to set bail for her.
As the court hearing ended late in the afternoon amid uncertainty over whether Israel would cooperate in the investigation, Secretary of State George P. Shultz called Israeli Ambassador Meir Rosenne to the State Department for consultation.
Israeli radio stations reported that one or more unnamed Israeli diplomats had been recalled from the United States after being identified by the FBI as Pollard’s contacts, but Rosenne said upon leaving the State Department that “nobody has left.”
This morning, Israel radio identified two diplomats it said were implicated in the Pollard case. The radio said the two are Yosef Nagur, a science attache at the Israeli mission in New York, and Ilan Ravid, assistant to the science attache at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
State Department spokesman Charles Redman said the Israeli government has promised “full cooperation” in the investigation and added that the U.S. government “expects that the Justice Department would have an opportunity to interview any Israelis who may be involved.”
But an FBI spokesman was less optimistic, saying: “We have asked for full cooperation and discussions are taking place"--an assessment the spokesman acknowledged fell far short of “full cooperation.”
Noltkamper told the court that Pollard said during questioning after his arrest that he had been told that “if he could shake his surveillance to come on in” to the Israeli embassy. When the couple arrived, however, “they saw they were not going to be admitted and decided to leave before they created a ruckus,” Noltkamper testified.
Pollard had first been stopped and questioned three days before his arrest as he attempted to leave his office carrying a packet “similar to that in which classified information is transported,” Noltkamper said. The information in the documents was not related to Pollard’s work as a Caribbean specialist for the Naval Investigative Service, the agent added.
Twice Phoned Wife
During the questioning, Pollard phoned his wife twice--first to ask that she remove “cactus” from their apartment, then instructing her to do the same with “wedding photographs,” Noltkamper testified.
“Cactus,” the agent said, apparently is an acronym for a weapons system described in documents found in the couple’s apartment. While Noltkamper provided no further information, the authoritative reference guide Jane’s Weapon’s Systems describes “CACTUS” as a French-made mobile surface-to-air guided-weapon system, versions of which have been sold to Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia, some of Israel’s most powerful Arab neighbors.
Some of the documents had been stashed in the couple’s closet, under clothing and wedding photographs.
Hundreds of government documents were recovered from Pollard’s apartment, the basement of his apartment building and a packet he was taking from his office when stopped by federal agents, the FBI’s Noltkamper testified. The papers--many of which had “top secret or higher” classification--contained information regarding the military capability of the United States and other foreign countries, including some of Israel’s chief enemies, he said.
Chinese Link Described
Some documents, hidden in a suitcase in the basement of the couple’s building, reportedly related to U.S. knowledge of Chinese intelligence in this country. Noltkamper told the court that Pollard’s wife had asked an unnamed “witness” to take the suitcase to an unnamed Washington hotel and told the witness that it contained classified documents that she needed for a presentation she planned to make at the Chinese Embassy as part of her new public-relations business.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Charles Leeper told the court that the documents detailed “how the People’s Republic of China gathers intelligence in this country. We know it. Do they know that we know it? . . . That was going to be some presentation at the Chinese Embassy.”
Separately, FBI agents are examining Pollard’s assertion during questioning that an American journalist served as his contact with the Israelis, a source close to the investigation said. The identity of the individual could not be learned and an FBI source said it would be incorrect to assume that a journalist is under investigation.
Fear She May Flee
Mrs. Pollard, whose bail hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday, contends that she needs to be set free to seek medical treatment for gastrointestinal problems. But prosecutors insist that she may attempt to flee the country.
James Hibey, her attorney, suggested in court that when she and her husband went to the Israeli Embassy, she was still under the influence of Valium and Demerol that had been administered as part of a medical procedure earlier that day.
But prosecutor Leeper noted that she and her husband had arrived at the embassy carrying suitcases packed with their cat and “family photographs, the heirloom type.”
Noting that FBI agents had found the couple’s birth certificates and marriage license as well as the cat’s immunization record, Leeper said: “Those items are precisely what is needed to establish a new life in a foreign country. (They) even had what they needed for the cat to establish a new life.”
Times staff writers Norman Kempster and Ronald J. Ostrow contributed to this story.