2nd Spy for Israel Aided Pollard, Probe Indicates
Nearly a year after Jonathan Jay Pollard was sentenced to life in prison as a spy for Israel, Justice Department officials have concluded that Israel almost certainly had another American espionage agent--dubbed “Mr. X” by government investigators--in the CIA or the Defense Department, according to informed sources.
The Justice Department is continuing its investigation in an attempt to establish the identity of a second spy for Israel, the sources said.
The belief that a Mr. X must exist grew out of a massive, three-stage debriefing and polygraphing of Pollard over many months, the sources said. Pollard told U.S. officials that his Israeli handlers often specified by date and document control number the highly sensitive U.S. documents they wanted him to acquire, and once showed him a top secret U.S. document to which--investigators have established--he did not have access.
It was an index or catalogue that Pollard was then able to use to obtain documents from U.S. intelligence agencies during one phase of his espionage. U.S. investigators have concluded that the other American--Mr. X--had provided this index and other specific information on U.S. secrets that Pollard learned from his Israeli handlers.
U.S. intelligence agencies have drawn up lists of suspects, but no evidence has been developed so far pointing to any individual as a possible Mr. X.
Justice Department spokesman Terry Eastland said Thursday: “As we have indicated previously, there are unanswered questions in the case and the investigation continues.” An Israeli Embassy spokesman, Yossi Gal, said the Pollard case was an aberration and the Israeli government has no spy or spies in the U.S. government and does not conduct espionage against the United States or its interests.
The alleged Mr. X, investigators say, must have been so highly placed or in such a position that he could not regularly gather documents, whereas Pollard was a low-level analyst who had a courier card and whose job was to assemble information. Investigators concluded that Israel may have been more interested in protecting Mr. X than Pollard.
Efforts by the U.S. government to probe for the identity of Mr. X ran into opposition in Israel, where officials denied there was or had been another spy. One source who dealt with the Israelis in the investigation said, however, that “the denial was less than categorical.”
U.S. investigators also have been searching for evidence of a direct connection between Pollard’s arrest on Nov. 21, 1985, and the Israeli role in secret arms sales to Iran. In the previous August and September, Israel had shipped 508 American-made TOW anti-tank missiles to Tehran with U.S. approval.
Within weeks of Pollard’s arrest, Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, then an aide on the National Security Council staff, received Israeli permission to use $800,000 left from an aborted Israeli sale of U.S. military spare parts to Iran for “whatever purpose we wanted,” North has testified. The money was used to buy military equipment for the Nicaraguan Contras, the first such diversion in the Iran-Contra affair.
Investigators for the Justice Department and independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh attach significance to the timing of the Pollard arrest and the first Contra diversion. One investigator said recently: “There has to be a connection . . . two of the most important events of 1985 to both (the) United States and Israeli governments weren’t occurring in a vacuum.”