Altruistic motives or dollars and cents? New reports are suggesting that Jonathan Pollard,
the American convicted of spying for Israel,
admitted during his FBI interrogation that prior to launching his espionage activities on Israel's behalf, he provided Australia with classified information in hope of becoming a spy for Canberra.
Lydia Jechorek, the FBI agent assigned to the Pollard case, told Newsmax on Monday that after his arrest in 1985, Pollard admitted to her that he had attempted to spy for another “friendly country” before spying for Israel. Jechorek received the proper clearance from the FBI to discuss the case.
While she would not name the country, John L. Martin, who supervised the case as chief of the Justice Department’s Counterespionage Division, said that the country in question was Australia.
“After Australia rejected his overtures, Pollard spied for Israel,” Martin said.
Free Pollard rally (Archives: Zvika Klein)
Newsmax theorized that these new revelations may lead many who support the campaign to free Pollard over his "sacrifice" for Israel to question the cause.
The rationale has been that Pollard was only trying to help Israel by providing it with intelligence on its Arab neighbors. The fact that he previously tried the same thing with Australia suggests otherwise.
In addition, Pollard admitted to the Naval Investigative Service, now called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), that he gave classified documents to South Africa in 1980, Jechorek says.
Jechorek noted that Pollard admitted to giving classified documents to a country other than Israel when she interviewed him in a Washington DC jail, and later at the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg Pennsylvania.
In the 2006 book “Capturing Jonathan Pollard,” Ronald J. Olive, the NIS agent in charge of that case, mentioned the Australian spying effort briefly, but the allegations received little media attention.
Newsmax noted that Jacques Semmelman, a Pollard's lawyer, was unavailable for comment.
Former FBI agent Jechorek has never previously spoken publicly about the case. As Jechorek sees it, Pollard was motivated in part by the "thrill of the espionage game."
“He wanted to be someone important,” Jechorek said. “I think the money was important, but he did it not so much for the pay as it helped him live the life that he wanted to live.”
In recent months, an increasing number of Israeli and US officials have been calling on President Barack Obama to release Pollard, who has been imprisoned in the US for over 25 years.