In the Jewish Daily Forward’s “Reporters’ Roundtable” podcast, Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman and staff writer Gal Beckerman join host Josh Nathan-Kazis to discuss “the newly invigorated push from Israel to spring convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from the American prison where he’s incarcerated.” One gets the distinct impression that it’s a push toward which the three journalists are sympathetic. There is little or no mention of the details of the case or of the serious damage Pollard did to American security, as outlined in the Winter/Spring 2011 edition of Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies. In his analysis of the arguments for Pollard’s release, M. E. “Spike” Bowman, former Deputy of the National Counterintelligence Executive, writes:
Pollard pled guilty to violation of 18 U.S. Code §794. That code section provides that a person convicted of that section “shall be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.” This code section is different from other parts of the espionage codes which do limit sentencing to ten years. What is different about §794 is that it is restricted to espionage offenses of a particularly serious nature – i.e., disclosure of information that results in the death of an agent of the United States or which “directly concerned nuclear weaponry, military spacecraft or satellites, early warning systems, or other means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack; war plans; communications intelligence or cryptographic information.”
In contrast to the Forward staff’s compassionate treatment of Pollard, Bowman concludes his cogent argument against Pollard’s release by saying:
In the final analysis, Jay Pollard is not a sympathetic character when one is given the full picture of his activities against this country. He was neither a U.S. nor an Israeli patriot. He was a self-serving, gluttonous character seeking financial reward and personal gratification. Without doubt, he is intense and intelligent, but also arrogantly venal, unscrupulous, and self-obsessed.