Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pollard's Damage

The American National Security Archive has released a redacted declassified version of the damage assessment made in 1987 about Jonathan Pollard's espionage activities for Israel. Apparently, the security agencies themselves objected to making any part of the document public, and when you read it you can see why. Any penetrating glimpse into the way intelligence agencies go about their job is sensitive; an assessment of how someone thwarted them will be full of interesting detail. Yet the initial objections were overridden, and the declassifiers were sent back to be more precise, and to open as much of the document as possible. So they did.

This was one of Israel's worst moments in its relations with the United States. It is at least of small comfort that so far as we can see, Pollard and his Israeli handlers were not seeking information about the US, but rather to tap into the American intellgence capabilities regarding Israel's enemies.

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