This is an interesting Newsbreak from Dandelion Books on Benjamin Netanyahu's recent prison visit with Jonathan Pollard, a main character in Gordon Thomas's new book, Seeds of Fire. My review of Seeds of Fire for the conservative Lutheran weekly, Christian News and for an upcoming edition of the Internet site Freedom Writer can be seen at www.MarkDankof.com. Click on Articles/Essays and then on Seeds of Fire. --- Mark Dankof)
Author Gordon Thomas, whose new book, Seeds of Fire: China and the Story Behind the Attack on America, skyrocketed to 49 in amazon.com sales rank listings in two days, has just learned that Jonathan Pollard, the spy convicted of espionage against the United States 17 years ago, was secretly visited in his U.S. Federal Prison on Monday, January 7 by former Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Natanyahu.
Pollard, who is a central figure in Thomas’ Seeds of Fire, was convicted of espionage against the United States.
"But I am told on the highest authority in Israel that Natanyahu's visit is the first step in persuading the Bush administration to set him free so he can go to Israel, the country for whom he spied," said Thomas.
The author is renowned for his contacts in Mossad, the Israeli secret service. His book was the preview bestseller to Seeds of Fire. Titled Gideon's Spies, it took Thomas two years to research and write. Mossad directors and other key officers granted him exclusive interviews.
In Seeds of Fire he details how one of those officers, former Operations Chief Rafi Eitan, ranks Pollard as the most effective spy Israel has ever had. Eitan told the author in a taped interview that he would "only wish to have Pollard free again before I die."
"His targets were the innermost intelligence secrets of the U.S. He stole more than the Russians ever did," said Thomas.
Esther Pollard, the spy's wife, said, "This was a very personal meeting between Bibi and Jonathan. I cannot tell you what Bibi said. But it was an excellent meeting. A very long meeting, and it left Jonathan filled with hope."
The ex-Israeli prime minister traveled to Pollard's prison in North Carolina and spent hours with the spy alone, said Thomas.
Mrs. Pollard added that her husband has been kept in solitary confinement during his life sentence.
She said that previously Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu had tried to secure Pollard's release as part of a package deal with former President Bill Clinton at the Wye talks – but failed.
"But CIA chief George Tenet has let it be known that if Pollard is freed it could be a resignation matter for him," said Thomas.
"Tenet regards Pollard as a man who nearly wrecked the CIA intelligence gathering operations throughout the globe," said Thomas. "He believes that if Pollard is sent back to Israel he could have something useful to do for Mossad," he added.
Seeds of Fire describes Pollard's never before revealed role in the theft of the most important software in the U.S.intelligence arsenal."
Seeds of Fire is backed by over 100 pages of never before published documents that not only show how the theft was carried out – but also how it eventually led to China having a copy of it.
Seeds of Fire shows how China used it to prepare itself to become a new Superpower.
Quoting from a CIA Briefing paper, prepared by incumbent CIA director George Tenet for President Bush, Thomas reveals the agency's fear about a coming conflict with China.
Hours after Gordon Thomas had revealed exclusive details in Seeds of Fire about the full intent of China's threat, it was confirmed today by the CIA, and followed up by ABC News and the Associated Press. Said Dandelion President Carol Adler: "Not for the first time, Gordon Thomas has set the news agenda with is revelations. There are many more in Seeds of Fire which we believe will find their way into the mainstream news media in the coming days. But remember: you read it here first!"
Seeds of Fire: China and the Story Behind the Attack on America (ISBN 1893302547) is available at bookstores and at www.dandelionbooks.com .
BACKGROUND TO THE POLLARD CASE IN SEEDS OF FIRE
Seeds of Fire: China and the Story Behind the Attack on America reveals why Pollard was sentenced to die in prison after he had been found guilty of being the greatest traitor in the history of the United States.
Seeds of Fire shows how, compared to Pollard, the damage done to U.S. security by others spying against the U.S. pales into significance.
Pollard was a civilian senior analyst in the most secret Field Operational Intelligence office in Suitland, Maryland. The post required top security clearance because Pollard had access to highly classified files in the entire U.S. intelligence community.
Seeds of Fire documents how a powerful lobby WITHIN the United States has lobbied to have Pollard freed. It names the lobbyists. They are headed by Harvard Law School Professor, Alan M. Dershowitz, once Pollard's attorney.
Seeds of Fire quotes the attorney thus: “"here is nothing in Pollard's conviction to suggest that he had compromised the nation's intelligence-gathering capabilities or betrayed worldwide intelligence data."
Backed by such powerful sources, Israel has now begun a new campaign to persuade the Bush Administration to set Pollard free.
But CIA Director, George Tenet, as Seeds of Fire reveals, is leading the opposition to such a move.
Tenet is not the only one who has joined in the battle over Pollard's future. Four retired US admirals, one who had served as a director of US Naval Intelligence, have circulated a paper within the Washington intelligence community that bluntly states Pollard's release would not only be "irresponsible to the highest degree, but also a victory for the clever public relations campaign waged for the worst traitor this country has had."
So far such trenchant views have remained within the intelligence community, but a number of senior members of the CIA, FBI and other agencies who were involved in assessing the damage Pollard did, have begun to say they will go public on what they know the extent of that damage to be.
Though reluctant to be named, for the moment, one FBI agent told Gordon Thomas: "Pollard stole every worthwhile intelligence secret we had. We are still trying to recover from what he did. We have had to withdraw dozens of agents in place in the former Soviet Union, in the Middle East, South Africa and friendly nations like Britain, France and Germany. The American public just don't know the full extent of what he did."
Ironically, Pollard in his youth had made no secret of his support for Israel. The youngest son of an award-winning microbiologist, his family and friends have described as his near obsession with “"he power of Mossad." At Stanford University he said he was "waiting for the day when Israel will call upon me." Nobody took him seriously; many thought he was a fantasist. For that reason the CIA rejected his job application, dismissing him as a "blabbermouth."
But the agency also saw that he had an extraordinary gift as an analyst. This talent allowed Naval Intelligence to overlook his other faults.
His former chief, David Muller, admitted that "despite his stories about his visits to Israel when he claimed to have met with Mossad, he was a genius when it came to breaking down complex data. He was a one-off in every sense of the word. With hindsight we all should have listened to the alarm bells ringing. Pollard had a drug habit. He had huge debts. He lived well above his salary. In every sense he was a prime target for a foreign intelligence service to recruit."
No other US spy in modern intelligence has generated such controversy as Jonathan Pollard. Now forty-seven years of age and incarcerated in a maximum security jail supposedly for the rest of his life, no one publicly still knows the full extent of the damage he did after he was recruited in November 1984 to spy for Israel.
The man who did the recruiting was Rafi Eitan, Mossad's legendary spymaster who captured Adolf Eichmann. Pollard was to be an even greater triumph for Eitan and Israel.
Eitan is one of the few who knows the full extent of the top-secret materials Pollard passed over. But within the Israeli intelligence community it is accepted that Pollard also provided a clear picture of U.S. intelligence gathering methods in the Middle East.
For over eleven months Pollard had raped US intelligence. His trial was told "over 360 cubic feet of paper was transmitted to Israel."
Yitzhak Shamir, then Israeli's prime minister, had personally approved the recruiting of Pollard.
Pollard was arrested on November 21, 1986, outside the Israeli embassy in Washington. He elected to plea-bargain rather than face a full trial. The US government agreed with alacrity: no state secrets would have to be revealed, especially about the extent of Israeli espionage.
After the plea bargain, the Justice Department supplied the court with a sworn declaration signed by Caspar W. Weinberger, the Secretary of Defence, which detailed by categories some of the intelligence systems that had been compromised.
In prison Pollard divorced his first wife Anne (who had been sentenced to five years imprisonment for being his accomplice), and converted to Orthodox Judaism. In 1994 he married, in prison, a Toronto schoolteacher named Elaine Zeitz. Esther Pollard, as she was from then on known, became the spearhead of the campaign to have her husband freed. Now she has been enjoined by Benyamin Netanyahu.
"Much of what he knows is still in his head. And some of what he stole is still in use by us," Seeds of Fire reveals. "The reasons the key was thrown away to his cell is because until he died he would be useful to Israel. They would just have to show him something and he would know how to extrapolate from it. A man like that doesn't lose his touch because he is locked away."
Yet the lobbyists are now arguing that Pollard has to be seen within the context of the "big picture’ in the Middle East," says Gordon Thomas.
A former FBI officer who had been involved in tracking Pollard told the author he would have no objection to a deal over Pollard "providing Israel listed everything Pollard had stolen and what they have done with the materials in terms of all their friends in Beijing".
He conceded that such a hope was forlorn. Far more realistic he thought, was that one day soon Jonathan Pollard might yet get to use the Israeli passport that spymaster Rafi Eitan had provided him.
Certainly the old spymaster is more than ready to welcome Pollard to Israel. "It would be really nice to see Jonathan again and discuss old times," Eitan has told Gordon Thomas.
The full untold story of Pollard, Eitan and Israel's secret operations in the United States are documented in Seeds of Fire: China and the Story Behind the Attack on America, by Gordon Thomas, ISBN 1893302547, Dandelion Books, Paperback, 524 pages, over 100 original documents. $25.95.
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