Espionnage: Pourquoi Jonathan Pollard n’est pas près d’être libéré (Has money-hungry Pollard been paying for the Mossad’s overgreediness?)

https://i2.wp.com/www.veteranstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/14-640x426.jpgPollard lui-même n’avait aucune idée de la valeur de ce qu’il transmettait. Officiel de la CIA
Benjamin Blumberg, ancien responsable du contre-espionnage et de la sécurité au ministère de la Défense (…) était en train de monter une agence secrète, chargée de se procurer l’équipement et les matériels indispensables au programme israélien, mais en principe impossibles à acquérir sur le marché légal. Cette agence, installée dans un bâtiment du ministère de la Défense, serait si secrète que même le Mossad ne serait pas informé de son activité. Au début des années 1970, elle serait baptisée “Bureau de liaison scientifique” ou Lakam, et surnommée par certains initiés le “Mossad II”. Elle devait acquérir les équipements nécessaires au programme nucléaire par tous les moyens, y compris la tromperie, le vol et la force. En effet, à cette époque la relation avec la France était en train de se refroidir et il était urgent de trouver d’autres canaux d’approvisionnement. Système de guidage de missiles, centrifugeuses, carburant pour fusées, équipement de vision nocturne, lasers… la liste des demandes allait bientôt ressembler à un inventaire à la Prévert et excéder largement les besoins du programme nucléaire pour couvrir tous les secteurs de la défense israélienne au fur et à mesure que les succès s’accumuleraient et que la notoriété du Lakam déborderait certains cercles étroits. Une commission secrète de scientifiques fut formée pour définir les besoins prioritaires. Elle se réunissait chaque semaine pour établir les listes d’objectifs, précisant où on pouvait se les procurer. Qui s’en chargeait ensuite et par quels moyens? Les membres n’avaient pas besoin de le savoir. Pendant les années 1970, le Lakam fut si discret qu’aucune des agences de renseignement occidentales ne soupçonna son existence, alors même qu’il agissait sur la plupart de leurs territoires. Dans son étude sur le système du renseignement israélien saisie par les Iraniens lors de la prise d’otages de l’ambassade des Etats-Unis à Téhéran en 1979, la CIA identifie correctement la recherche technologique dans les pays amis comme une des priorités israéliennes. Mais elle ne soupçonne pas l’existence d’une agence distincte chargée de cette mission. De ce fait, les soupçons et la surveillance du contre-espionnage restèrent longtemps focalisés sur les équipes du Mossad, laissant le champ libre aux francs-tireurs du Lakam. D’autant plus francs-tireurs que certains, à l’image d’Arnon Milchan, avaient sur le territoire américain une véritable et légitime activité économique. (…) Après la guerre de Kippour de 1973, qui avait montré pour la première fois l’armée d’Israël en difficulté, la priorité du ministère de la Défense fut à la modernisation de ses troupes. Il devenait crucial qu’elles disposent toujours des technologies les plus en pointe pour ne pas se retrouver acculées lors de la prochaine guerre. De leur côté, les Etats-Unis accordaient désormais à Israël des aides toujours plus considérables… à dépenser auprès de l’industrie américaine. Ce fut une période faste pour les entreprises d’Arnon Milchan et pour ses clients, en particulier Raytheon. C’est lors d’une visite privée dans les installations nucléaires de Dimona que Milchan entendit pour la première fois parler du krytron. Les krytrons sont utilisés dans les photocopieuses et nombre d’appareils médicaux. Ils ont aussi un usage comme détonateur de bombe nucléaire, ce qui est moins connu. Une seule société les fabriquait aux Etats-Unis à l’époque et leur exportation était sérieusement réglementée. En 1975, on demanda à Smyth d’en acheter quatre cents et, comme c’était la règle, il remplit la licence d’exportation de munitions requise pour ce type de matériel, qui fut cette fois refusée. En 1976, un nouvel essai fut à nouveau infructueux. Cette fois, la CIA commença à se poser des questions sur les activités de Milco. Pendant ce temps, (…) l’homme d’affaires fut informé par son mentor Peres du rapprochement en cours entre Israël et l’Afrique du Sud. Ce pays africain allait devenir le premier marché israélien pour l’armement. Cette fois encore, Milchan allait servir d’agent commercial à cette part de l’industrie israélienne, alors en plein essor. On demanda aussi à Milchan de seconder l’effort de réhabilitation médiatique tenté par le gouvernement sud-africain, qui consistait à racheter les journaux et magazines susceptibles de faire évoluer l’opinion publique internationale. Après quelques séjours en Afrique du Sud, Milchan, de plus en plus mal à l’aise avec les réalités du régime, laissa vite tomber cette activité. Pendant cette époque, il développa aussi des relations commerciales avec Taïwan, qui souffrait alors du rapprochement diplomatique entre la Chine continentale et les Etats-Unis. L’oncle Sam ne pouvait plus décemment vendre d’armes au frère ennemi taïwanais de ses nouveaux amis chinois, mais rien n’empêchait qu’Israël se substitue à lui comme partenaire commercial. C’est ainsi que jusqu’à 20 % du chiffre d’affaires de Milco fut réalisé à la fin des années 1970 avec Taïwan. Dans les années 1980, le rapprochement entre la Chine et Israël conduirait l’Etat hébreu à réduire à son tour ses exportations vers Taïwan, mais entretemps le groupe Milchan aurait bénéficié de plusieurs beaux marchés.
(…) En 1981, le Lakam changea de tête pour la première fois, sur décision du nouveau ministre de la Défense, Ariel Sharon, qui trouvait Blumberg trop proche de Peres à son goût pour un poste aussi sensible. Il le remplaça par Rafi Eitan, un ami et ancien du Mossad alors âgé de 55 ans. Eitan était déjà à l’époque une légende du renseignement israélien. Ancien du Shin Bet et du Mossad, il avait commandé l’équipe qui captura Eichmann à Buenos Aires en 1960. A la fin des années 1960, il faisait partie de l’équipe qui travailla sur l’affaire NUMEC, permettant le rapatriement d’une grosse quantité d’uranium enrichi. Ce qui montre au passage que le Lakam n’était pas sans contact avec le Mossad, comme on l’a dit par la suite. Dans les années 1970, Eitan devint directeur adjoint des opérations du Mossad. C’était un petit homme myope et presque sourd d’une oreille, mais il ne fallait pas se fier à son allure. John Le Carré prit Eitan comme modèle pour son personnage de Marty Kurtz dans La Petite Fille au tambour, qui traque sans relâche les terroristes palestiniens. En 1976, Eitan quitta le Mossad pour travailler auprès de son ami Ariel Sharon, devenu conseiller de Rabin pour les affaires de sécurité. Puis il partit dans le privé, où il s’ennuya ferme. C’est pourquoi il accepta bien volontiers en 1978 de devenir conseiller antiterrorisme du Premier ministre Begin, à l’instigation de son mentor Sharon. Et il sauta en 1981 sur l’opportunité de diriger le Lakam. Il avait conservé avec lui un fichier de sources et de sayanim du Mossad en territoire américain, pensant que certains noms pourraient lui être utiles. Parmi eux, un certain Jonathan Pollard, analyste du renseignement naval, affecté au centre antiterroriste de Suitland dans le Maryland. Pollard était un Juif militant, choqué de voir que le renseignement américain ne partageait pas toutes ses informations sur le Moyen-Orient avec le Mossad. Il avait commencé à fournir des copies de rapports d’une grande valeur. Après plusieurs mois de production, le Mossad avait décidé de laisser cette source “en jachère” pour ne pas l’exposer inutilement. Eitan saisit l’occasion de la réactiver, dans un premier temps pour sa plus grande satisfaction, sans savoir que Pollard allait le mener à perdre son poste quelques années plus tard.
 Alliance
L’espionnage sur les alliés est normal, et c’est une voie à double sens. Avant de trop monter sur leurs grands chevaux, les Américains devraient se rendre compte que Washington n’est pas innocent. De Reagan à Obama, le gouvernement américain a effectué un travail massif d’espionnage contre Israël. Exemples: Itamar Rabinovich, ambassadeur d’Israël à Washington, qui a révélé l’affaire des écoutes téléphoniques aux États-Unis. Yosef Amit, ancien major du renseignement militaire israélien, a espionné pour le compte de la CIA pendant plusieurs années, en se concentrant sur les mouvements de troupes et les politiques envers le Liban et les Palestiniens, jusqu’à son arrestation en 1986. Un sous-marin mystérieux dans les eaux territoriales israéliennes à 17kms 50 de Haïfa, en novembre 2004, qui a fui lorsqu’il a été découvert, s’est avéré être américain, ce qui ravive le souvenir de la mission secrète du navire USS Liberty en juin 1967. Yossi Melman, un journaliste israélien spécialisé dans le renseignement, a trouvé que les attachés militaires américains à Tel-Aviv avaient recueilli des informations secrètes; des responsables israéliens, révèle-t-il, pensent que les services américains de renseignement ont été l’écoute des conversations entre le personnel clé en Israël et celui dans les missions étrangères. L’espionnage américain, conclut-il, a exposé des «secrets de la politique la plus cachée d’Israël.» Une histoire officielle des services de renseignements d’Israël, publiée en 2008 a révélé (tel que rapporté par Reuters) que les agences d’espionnage américaines utilisaient l’ambassade à Tel-Aviv pour se livrer à l’espionnage électronique et former un personnel d’ambassade pour «la collecte méthodique de renseignements». Daniel Pipes
Pollard’s disclosures were alarming to U.S. officials for several reasons, some of which were noted in their official declarations (Document 7a, Document 10) – some of which were direct responses (Document 9) to claims and analysis made by Pollard in his sentencing memorandums (Document 6, Document 8b). One, despite the fact that both the U.S. and Israeli considered each other legitimate intelligence targets, was Israel’s willingness to run a human penetration operation directed at the U.S. government. Another, was the damage to the intelligence sharing arrangement with Israel since its acquisition of material from Pollard weakened the U.S. position vis-a-vis intelligence exchanges with Israel. In addition, there was no guarantee that such documents, revealing both sources and methods as well as assessments, would not find their way to the Soviet Union via a Soviet penetration of the Israeli intelligence or defense community as had happened with a number of other allies. Further, since Israel was a target of U.S. intelligence collection particularly technical collection – operations, the documents could be used by Israeli counterintelligence and security organizations to help Israel neutralize or degrade U.S. collection operations. (…) Among the specific items of note in the newly released assessment are an account of Pollard’s claim (p. I-18) upon his late arrival for an interview, that he spent the weekend rescuing his wife from the Irish Republican Army after they had kidnaped her. Pollard’s connection with a naval intelligence unit, Task Force-168, responsible for human intelligence activities is also among the topics discussed in the damage assessment. The committee’s report also provides new insight to exactly what information the Israelis wanted and why as well as what information they did not want (pp. 38-46), including U.S. capabilities or plans. With regard to Syria, for example, Pollard was requested to provide documents concerning a suspected research and development facility, an electronics intelligence (ELINT) system, remotely piloted vehicles, a national command, control, and communications center in Damascus, Syrian military units with attached Soviet advisors, and medical intelligence on Syrian president Hafiz al-Assad. A common denominator for Israeli requests concerning Syria and other countries was the predominant focus on military intelligence relevant to Israeli security. The study also describes (on p. 38) an incident involving LAKAM chief Rafi Eitan, in which he requested documents or information from Pollard on a variety of topics. According to Pollard, his case officer, standing behind Pollard, shook his head « no » in response to many of Eitan’s requests – including those for information on the PLO’s Force 17, CIA psychological studies or other intelligence containing ‘dirt’ on senior Israeli officials, as well as information identifying the « rats » in Israel (by which he apparently meant Israelis who provided information to the United States). The study also reports (p. 60) on Israeli use of the NSA’s RASIN (Radio Signal Notation) manual, which was requested on at least two occasions, in assisting its monitoring of a communications link between the Soviet General Staff and the Soviet military assistance group in Damascus. Jeffrey T. Richelson
That a man who claimed his crime was committed to enhance the Jewish state’s security would have his freedom bought with concessions on territory or settlements that undermine the country’s ability to defend itself must be considered a bitter irony. Jonathan Tobin
Before Pollard’s plea bargain, the government had been preparing a multi-count criminal indictment that included-along with espionage, drug, and tax-fraud charges — allegations that before his arrest Pollard had used classified documents in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the governments of South Africa, Argentina, and Taiwan to participate in an arms deal for anti-Communist Afghan rebels who were then being covertly supported by the Reagan Administration. F.B.I. investigators later determined that in the fall of 1985 Pollard had also consulted with three Pakistanis and an Iranian in his efforts to broker arms. (The foreigners were quietly deported within several months of his arrest.) The NYT
What’s inequitable about Pollard’s sentence isn’t that his is too heavy. It’s that the sentences of spies such as Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen and Robert Kim have been too light. Particularly in the age of digital downloads, WikiLeaks and self-appointed transparency crusaders, the U.S. needs to make harsh examples of those who betray its secrets. That goes especially for those who spy on behalf of friendly countries or, as Bradley Manning imagined, in the ostensible interests of humanity at large. (…) Nations are rightly judged by their choice of heroes. Israel has plenty of worthy heroes, yet today there’s a square in Jerusalem named for Pollard. Bret Stephens
Pollard can be defended as a proud hero who gave Israel intelligence vital to its security at a time when U.S. policy was insufficiently friendly. Or he can be defended as a penitent fool who has now paid a heavy price for his criminal delusions of grandeur. If it’s the former, the best way to vindicate his heroism is to accept the price that must be paid for it. If it’s the latter, the best his defenders could do is acknowledge the damage he and his Israeli handlers did—not only to U.S. intelligence, but to Israel’s reputation as an ally and to the honor of the American-Jewish community as a whole. That so many of Pollard’s defenders have yet to do so is probably the single greatest impediment to his release. Nor can it help Pollard’s case that he would likely get a hero’s welcome should he ever be released to Israel. A nation that cannot recognize that wantonly committing espionage against its closest ally is an enduring source of shame, not pride, is one that has some serious soul-searching to do. Israel’s leaders get this: Pleas for Pollard’s release by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amount to an acknowledgment that he is the one paying the price for the Israeli government’s gross misjudgment. But the people who really need to get it are the ones writing me infuriated letters and disinviting me from speeches. If they cannot admit that what Pollard did was damaging and despicable, they are lending a patina of credibility to some of the worst anti-Semitic canards. It’s one thing for a rogue agent to betray U.S. secrets; it’s another for a legion of defenders to rise up to justify his espionage. The case for Israel in the U.S. has always rested on the fact that the values and interests of the two countries are compatible even if they are not identical. But that is true only so long as Israel and its advocates labor to maintain that compatibility. It is harder to think of a more efficient way to undo those labors than to defend the likes of Jonathan Pollard, the man who betrayed both his country and his people. Bret Stephens
Pollard, these officials told me, had done far more damage to American national security than was ever made known to the public; for example, he betrayed elements of four major American intelligence systems (…) Officials are loath to talk publicly about it, but spying on allies is a fact of life: the United States invests billions annually to monitor the communications of its friends. Many American embassies around the world contain a clandestine intercept facility that targets diplomatic communications. The goal is not only to know the military and diplomatic plans of our friends but also to learn what intelligence they may be receiving and with whom they share information. « If a friendly state has friends that we don’t see as friends, » one senior official explained, sensitive intelligence that it should not possess — such as that supplied by Pollard — « can spread to others. » Many officials said they were convinced that information Pollard sold to the Israelis had ultimately wound up in the hands of the Soviet Union.. (…) (…) The documents that Pollard turned over to Israel were not focused exclusively on the product of American intelligence — its analytical reports and estimates. They also revealed how America was able to learn what it did — a most sensitive area of intelligence defined as « sources and methods. » Pollard gave the Israelis vast amounts of data dealing with specific American intelligence systems and how they worked. For example, he betrayed details of an exotic capability that American satellites have of taking off-axis photographs from high in space. While orbiting the earth in one direction, the satellites could photograph areas that were seemingly far out of range. Israeli nuclear-missile sites and the like, which would normally be shielded from American satellites, would thus be left exposed, and could be photographed. « We monitor the Israelis, » one intelligence expert told me, « and there’s no doubt the Israelis want to prevent us from being able to surveil their country. » The data passed along by Pollard included detailed information on the various platforms — in the air, on land, and at sea — used by military components of the National Security Agency to intercept Israeli military, commercial, and diplomatic communications. At the time of Pollard’s spying, select groups of American sailors and soldiers trained in Hebrew were stationed at an N.S.A. listening post near Harrogate, England, and at a specially constructed facility inside the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, where they intercepted and translated Israeli signals. Other interceptions came from an unmanned N.S.A. listening post in Cyprus. Pollard’s handing over of the data had a clear impact, the expert told me, for « we could see the whole process » — of intelligence collection — « slowing down. » It also hindered the United States’ ability to recruit foreign agents. Another senior official commented, with bitterness, « The level of penetration would convince any self-respecting human source to look for other kinds of work. » A number of officials strongly suspect that the Israelis repackaged much of Pollard’s material and provided it to the Soviet Union in exchange for continued Soviet permission for Jews to emigrate to Israel. Other officials go further, and say there was reason to believe that secret information was exchanged for Jews working in highly sensitive positions in the Soviet Union. A significant percentage of Pollard’s documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world, was of practical importance only to the Soviet Union. One longtime C.I.A. officer who worked as a station chief in the Middle East said he understood that « certain elements in the Israeli military had used it » — Pollard’s material — « to trade for people they wanted to get out, » including Jewish scientists working in missile technology and on nuclear issues. Pollard’s spying came at a time when the Israeli government was publicly committed to the free flow of Jewish emigres from the Soviet Union. The officials stressed the fact that they had no hard evidence — no « smoking gun, » in the form of a document from an Israeli or a Soviet archive — to demonstrate the link between Pollard, Israel, and the Soviet Union, but they also said that the documents that Pollard had been directed by his Israeli handlers to betray led them to no other conclusion. High-level suspicions about Israeli-Soviet collusion were expressed as early as December, 1985, a month after Pollard’s arrest, when William J. Casey, the late C.I.A. director, who was known for his close ties to the Israeli leadership, stunned one of his station chiefs by suddenly complaining about the Israelis breaking the « ground rules. » The issue arose when Casey urged increased monitoring of the Israelis during an otherwise routine visit, I was told by the station chief, who is now retired. « He asked if I knew anything about the Pollard case, » the station chief recalled, and he said that Casey had added, « For your information, the Israelis used Pollard to obtain our attack plan against the U.S.S.R. all of it. The coordinates, the firing locations, the sequences. And for guess who? The Soviets. » (boldface mine – Ronin)Casey had then explained that the Israelis had traded the Pollard data for Soviet emigres. « How’s that for cheating? » he had asked. (…) There was little doubt, I learned from an official who was directly involved, that Soviet intelligence had access to the most secret information in Israel. « The question, » the official said, « was whether we could prove it was Pollard’s material that went over the aqueduct. We couldn’t get there, so we suggested » in the Weinberger affidavit that the possibility existed. Caution was necessary, the official added, for « fear that the other side would say that ‘these people are seeing spies under the bed.’  » The Justice Department further informed Judge Robinson, in a publicly filed memorandum, that « numerous » analyses of Soviet missile systems had been sold by Pollard to Israel, and that those documents included « information from human sources whose identity could be inferred by a reasonably competent intelligence analyst. Moreover, the identity of the authors of these classified publications » was clearly marked. A retired Navy admiral who was directly involved in the Pollard investigation told me, « There is no question that the Russians got a lot of the Pollard stuff. The only question is how did it get there? » The admiral, like Robert Gates, had an alternative explanation. He pointed out that Israel would always play a special role in American national security affairs. « We give them truckloads of stuff in the normal course of our official relations, » the admiral said. « And they use it very effectively. They do things worth doing, and they will go places where we will not go, and do what we do not dare to do. » Nevertheless, he said, it was understood that the Soviet intelligence services had long since penetrated Israel. (One important Soviet spy, Shabtai Kalmanovitch, whose job at one point was to ease the resettlement of Russian emigrants in Israel, was arrested in 1987.) It was reasonably assumed in the aftermath of Pollard, the admiral added, that Soviet spies inside Israel had been used to funnel some of the Pollard material to Moscow. (…) In fact, it is widely believed that Pollard was not the only one in the American government spying for Israel. During his year and a half of spying, his Israeli handlers requested specific documents, which were identified only by top-secret control numbers. After much internal assessment, the government’s intelligence experts concluded that it was « highly unlikely, » in the words of a Justice Department official, that any of the other American spies of the era would have had access to the specific control numbers. « There is only one conclusion, » the expert told me. The Israelis « got the numbers from somebody else in the U.S. government. » THE men and women of the National Security Agency live in a world of chaotic bleeps, buzzes, and whistles, and talk to each other about frequencies, spectrums, modulation, and bandwidth — the stuff of Tom Clancy novels. They often deal with signals intelligence, or SIGINT, and their world is kept in order by an in-house manual known as the RASIN an acronym for radio-signal notations. The manual, which is classified « top-secret Umbra, » fills ten volumes, is constantly updated, and lists the physical parameters of every known signal. Pollard took it all. « It’s the Bible, » one former communications-intelligence officer told me. « It tells how we collect signals anywhere in the world. » The site, frequency, and significant features of Israeli communications — those that were known and targeted by the N.S.A. — were in the RASIN; so were all the known communications links used by the Soviet Union. The loss of the RASIN was especially embarrassing to the Navy, I was told by the retired admiral, because the copy that Pollard photocopied belonged to the Office of Naval Intelligence. « He went into our library, found we had an out-of-date version, requested a new one, and passed it on, » the officer said. « I was surprised we even had it. » (…) « It is a complete catalogue of what the United States was listening to, or could listen to — information referred to in the N.S.A. as ‘parametric data.’ It tells you everything you want to know about a particular signal — when it was first detected and where, whom it was first used by, what kind of entity, frequency, wavelength, or band length it has. When you’ve copied a signal and don’t know what it is, the RASIN manual gives you a description. » A senior intelligence official who consults regularly with the N.S.A. on technical matters subsequently told me that another issue involved geometry. (…) If, as many in the American intelligence community suspected, the Soviet communications experts had been able to learn which of their signals were being monitored, and where, they could relocate the signal and force the N.S.A. to invest man-hours and money to try to recapture it. Or, more likely, the Soviets could continue to communicate in a normal fashion but relay false and misleading information. Pollard’s betrayal of the RASIN put the N.S.A. in the position of having to question or reevaluate all of its intelligence collecting. « We aren’t perfect, » the career intelligence officer explained to me. « We’ve got holes in our coverage, and this » — the loss of the RASIN — tells where the biases and the weaknesses are. It’s how we get the job done, and how we will get the job done. » « What a wonderful insight into how we think, and exactly how we’re exploiting Soviet communications! » the retired admiral exclaimed. « It’s a how-to-do-it book — the fireside cookbook of cryptology. Not only the analyses but the facts of how we derived our analyses. Whatever recipe you want. » (…) The career intelligence officer who helped to assess the Pollard damage has come to view Pollard as a serial spy, the Ted Bundy of the intelligence world. « Pollard gave them every message for a whole year, » the officer told me recently, referring to the Israelis. « They could analyze it » — the intelligence — « message by message, and correlate it. They could not only piece together our sources and methods but also learn how we think, and how we approach a problem. All of a sudden, there is no mystery. These are the things we can’t change. You got this, and you got us by the balls. » In other words, the Rota reports, when carefully studied, gave the Israelis « a road map on how to circumvent » the various American collection methods and shield an ongoing military operation. The reports provide guidance on « how to keep us asleep, thinking all is working well, » he added. « They tell the Israelis how to raid Tunisia without tipping off American intelligence in advance. That is damage that is persistent and severe. » (…) One official who had been involved with it told me recently, « It was full of great stuff, particularly in HUMINT — human intelligence. Many Americans who went to the Middle East for business or political reasons agreed, as loyal citizens, to be debriefed by American defense attaches after their visits. They were promised anonymity — many had close friends inside Israel and the nearby Arab states who would be distressed by their collaboration — and the reports were classified. « It’s who’s talking to whom, » the officer said. « Like handing you the address book of the spooks for a year. » (…) Pollard also provided the Israelis with what is perhaps the most important day-to-day information in signals intelligence: the National SIGINT Requirements List, which is essentially a compendium of the tasks, and the priority of those tasks, given to various N.S.A. collection units around the world. Before a bombing mission, for example, a United States satellite might be re-deployed, at enormous financial cost, to provide instantaneous electronic coverage of the target area. In addition, N.S.A. field stations would be ordered to begin especially intensive monitoring of various military units in the target nation. Special N.S.A. coverage would also be ordered before an American covert military unit, such as the Army’s Delta Force or a Navy Seal team, was inserted into hostile territory or hostile waters. Sometimes the N.S.A.’s requests were less comprehensive: a European or Middle Eastern business suspected of selling chemical arms to a potential adversary might be placed on the N.S.A. « watch list » and its faxes, telexes, and other communications carefully monitored. The Requirements List is « like a giant to-do list, » a former N.S.A. operative told me. « If a customer » — someone in the intelligence community — « asked for specific coverage, it would be on a list that is updated daily. » That is, the target of the coverage would be known. « If we’re going to bomb Iraq, we will shift the system, » a senior specialist subsequently told me. « It’s a tipoff where the American emphasis is going to be. » With the List, the specialist added, the Israelis « could see us move our collection systems » prior to military action, and eventually come to understand how the United States Armed Forces « change our emphasis. » In other words, he added, Israel « could make our intelligence system the prime target » and hide whatever was deemed necessary. « The damage goes past Jay’s arrest, » the specialist said, « and could extend up to today. » Israel made dramatic use of the Pollard material on October 1, 1985, seven weeks before his arrest, when its Air Force bombed the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Tunisia, killing at least sixty-seven people. The United States, which was surprised by the operation, eventually concluded that the Israeli planners had synergistically combined the day-to-day insights of the SIGINT Requirements List with the strategic intelligence of the FOSIF reports and other data that Pollard provided to completely outwit our government’s huge collection apparatus in the Middle East. Even Pollard himself, the senior official told me, « had no idea what he gave away. » (…) A senior intelligence official whose agency was involved in preparing the report for the White House told me, somewhat facetiously, that he would drop all objections to Pollard’s immediate release if the Israeli government would answer two questions: “First, give us a list of what you’ve got, and, second, tell us what you did with it.”Such answers are unlikely to be forthcoming. The Israeli government has acknowledged that Pollard was indeed spying on its behalf but has refused — despite constant entreaties — to provide the United States with a complete list of the documents that were turned over to it. Seymour Hersh
La responsabilité du gouvernement israélien est totale puisque l’opération a été couverte, en son nom, par un officier du Mossad en mission aux Etats-Unis. (…) Cette affaire ressemble à la fameuse affaire Lavon, du nom du ministre de la Défense nommé fin 1953 en remplacement de David Ben Gourion. Afin d’empêcher un rapprochement entre l’Occident et l’Egypte, il avait commandité des opérations de terrorisme en Egypte, préparées et exécutées sous le contrôle des services secrets de l’armée israélienne. L’échec de l’opération «Shoshana» avait entrainé la capture des treize membres du commando dont deux furent exécutés en Egypte, une suicidée et les autres emprisonnées jusqu’à leur libération à la suite d’un échange survenu après la guerre de Six Jours. Le commando était constitué uniquement de jeunes juifs égyptiens inexpérimentés agissant sous l’emprise d’un sionisme exacerbé. L’échec de cette opération conduisit le Mossad à interdire dorénavant l’utilisation d’agents nationaux dans des missions d’espionnage contre leur propre pays. Il s’agissait surtout de ne pas provoquer de dilemme entre le sentiment national et l’exigence de solidarité avec Israël car les communautés juives devaient affirmer leur neutralité vis-à-vis du pays qui les héberge. Cette règle a été ouvertement bafouée dans l’affaire Pollard par un officier traitant qui avait manœuvré en solo, malgré des instructions rigoureuses et parfaitement établies. Il surfait sur l’auréole qu’il avait acquise avec l’arrestation du SS Adolf Eichmann en Argentine. L’éventualité d’une riche moisson d’informations inédites avait conduit le Mossad à faire preuve d’aveuglement coupable. Jamais un juif américain n’aurait dû être autorisé à espionner sa patrie, même si l’importance des données glanées impliquait une exception en la matière. Les conséquences sont effectivement terribles puisque les Américains refusent les règles tacites appliquées par les services de renseignements pour l’élargissement des «honorables correspondants». Ils semblent qu’ils veuillent faire payer l’indélicatesse, sinon la provocation, des Israéliens qui ont nommé l’officier traitant, Rafi Eitan, à un ministère alors qu’il était interdit de séjour aux Etats-Unis et qu’il refuse, encore aujourd’hui, de dévoiler le contenu de sa mission relevant, selon lui, du secret-défense. Dans cette affaire comme dans l’affaire Lavon, le gouvernement israélien semble avoir été mis devant le fait accompli par des officiers omnipotents, agissant sans contrôle et avides de résultats à bon compte. Leur faute aura été de fuir leur responsabilité en lâchant l’espion et lui refusant l’asile. L’opinion publique israélienne a toujours été choquée par ce comportement assimilé à l’abandon d’un blessé de Tsahal sur le champ de bataille. L’affaire Lavon, intrigue militaro-politique, censurée pendant dix ans par le gouvernement et donc occultée par les médias, a été à l’origine d’un cataclysme politique entrainant la démission de ministres et la chute du gouvernement. L’affaire Pollard occupe les esprits depuis plus de vingt ans et, de manière cyclique, elle revient à la une des médias. Les Israéliens estiment que cette affaire ne rehausse pas l’honneur du Mossad qui a préféré sacrifier son agent plutôt que de reconnaitre son erreur auprès de l’administration américaine. (…) La dernière décision du Sénat américain indique que l’espion du Mossad n’est pas prêt d’être libéré et qu’il continue de payer un raté des services qui l’employaient. Il paie aussi parce que l’affaire Pollard n’est pas la seule à défrayer les chroniques alors qu’une nouvelle action d’espionnage similaire était mise à jour. Le FBI et le bureau de contre-espionnage du département de la Justice des Etats-Unis ont enquêté en 2004 sur un analyste de haut rang du Pentagone, Larry Franklin, suspecté d’espionnage au profit d’Israël pour avoir transmis des informations confidentielles sur l’Iran. Il est en cours de jugement et la sentence pourrait rejaillir sur le responsable du Mossad de l’époque, Uzi Arad, persona non grata aux Etats-Unis mais nommé conseiller diplomatique de Benjamin Netanyahou. Sa nomination dans le cercle restreint des conseillers intimes du Premier ministre est considérée par l’administration américaine comme une provocation et un nouveau casus belli. Et n’arrange pas les affaires de Pollard… Jacques Benillouche

Attention: un Jonathan Pollard peut cacher beaucoup d’autres !

Au lendemain des vacances de Monsieur Hulot en Terre sainte …

Et au moment où l’affaire d’espionnage Jonathan Pollard est en train de se transformer en véritable cause célèbre en Israël et ailleurs …

Petit retour, avec un long papier de Seymour Hersch de 1999, sur l’apparemment incroyable étendue des dégâts (jusqu’aux codes d’accès et de cryptage des écoutes ainsi qu’à des listes d’agents pour l’ensemble des services imposant à ces derniers des milliers d’heures et millions de dollars de modifications, autrement dit bien au-delà, si l’on en croit les sources de Hersh, de ce que Pollard lui-même pouvait imaginer: rien de moins, en termes d’espionnage, que les joyaux de la couronne !) …

Causés par l’incroyable appétit (même si tout le monde sait et pratique l’espionnage interallié) …

Tant d’un Pollard pour l’argent mais aussi la mégalomanie (jusqu’à la vente d’armes, via l’Afrique du sud, l’Argentine et Taiwan, pour les rebelles afghans ?) …

Que d’un Mossad (en fait sa branche scientifique, aujourd’hui dissoute, dite Lakam) pour  les secrets militaires de son principal allié (jusqu’à, pour récupérer des savants juifs, en refiler une partie au KGB ?) …

Et donc la raison pour laquelle, sauf urgence humanitaire ou accès soudain (?) de démagogie de M. Hulot lui-même après 28 ans, la communauté du renseignement américain n’est probablement pas près d’accepter l’élargissement …

D’un impénitent qui, sans compter les nouvelles et récentes affaires d’espionnage en cours aux Etats-Unis mêmes ou en Australie et un Mossad (ou d’un Aman, le renseignement militaire dont on se souvient des coups tordus) qui n’a toujours pas accepté de révéler sauf exceptions ce qu’il avait vraiment appris dans l’affaire ou s’il y avait eu d’autres espions en jeu ou des infiltrations soviétiques (après avoir mis 13 ans à reconnaitre les faits),  serait accueilli en plus en Israël en véritable héros national …

Why Pollard Should Never Be Released (The Traitor)

Seymour Hersh

The New Yorker Magazine

January 18, 1999

The Case Against Johnathon Pollard

In the last decade, Jonathan Pollard, the American Navy employee who spied for Israel in the mid-nineteen-eighties and is now serving a life sentence, has become a cause celebre in Israel and among Jewish groups in the United States. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a consortium of fifty-five groups, has publicly called for Pollard’s release, arguing, in essence, that his crimes did not amount to high treason against the United States, because Israel was then and remains a close ally. Many of the leading religious organizations have also called for an end to Pollard’s imprisonment, among them the Reform Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Orthodox Union.

Pollard himself, now forty-seven, has never denied that he turned over a great deal of classified material to the Israelis, but he maintains that his sole motive was to protect Israeli security. « From the start of this affair, I never intended or agreed to spy against the United States, » he told United States District Court Judge Aubrey Robinson,Jr., in a memorandum submitted before his sentencing, in 1986. His goal, he said, was « to provide such information on the Arab powers and the Soviets that would permit the Israelis to avoid a repetition of the Yom Kippur War, » in 1973, when an attack by Egypt and Syria took Israel by surprise. « At no time did I ever compromise the names of any U.S. agents operating overseas, nor did I ever reveal any U.S. ciphers, codes, encipherment devices, classified military technology, the disposition and orders of U.S. forces . . . or communications security procedures, » Pollard added. « I never thought for a second that Israel’s gain would necessarily result in America’s loss. How could it? »

Pollard’s defenders use the same arguments today. In a recent op-ed article in the Washington Post, the Harvard Law School professor Alan M. Dershowitz, who served as Pollard’s lawyer in the early nineteen-nineties, and three co-authors called for President Clinton to correct what they depicted as « this longstanding miscarriage of justice » in the Pollard case. There was nothing in Pollard’s indictment, they added, to suggest that he had « compromised the nation’s intelligence-gathering capabilities » or « betrayed worldwide intelligence data. »

In Israel, Pollard’s release was initially championed by the right, but it has evolved into a mainstream political issue. Early in the Clinton Administration, Yitzhak Rabin, the late Israeli Prime Minister, personally urged the President on at least two occasions to grant clemency. Both times, Clinton reviewed the evidence against Pollard and decided not to take action. But last October, at a crucial moment in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations at the Wye River Conference Centers, in Maryland, he did tentatively agree to release Pollard, or so the Israeli government claimed. When the President’s acquiescence became publicly known, the American intelligence community responded immediately, with unequivocal anger. According to the Times, George J. Tenet, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, warned the President that he would be forced to resign from the agency if Pollard were to be released. Clinton then told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Pollard’s release would not be imminent, and ordered a formal review of the case.

The President’s willingness to consider clemency for Pollard so upset the intelligence community that its leaders took an unusual step: they began to go public. In early December, four retired admirals who had served as director of Naval Intelligence circulated an article, eventually published in the Washington Post, in which they argued that Pollard’s release would be « irresponsible » and a victory for what they depicted as a « clever public relations campaign. » Since then, sensitive details about the secrets Pollard gave away have been made public by CBS and NBC.

In the course of my own interviews for this account, the officials who knew the most about Jonathan Pollard made it clear that they were talking because they no longer had confidence that President Clinton would do what they believed was the right thing — keep Pollard locked up. Pollard, these officials told me, had done far more damage to American national security than was ever made known to the public; for example, he betrayed elements of four major American intelligence systems. In their eyes, there is no distinction between betraying secrets to an enemy, such as the Soviet Union, and betraying secrets to an ally.

Officials are loath to talk publicly about it, but spying on allies is a fact of life: the United States invests billions annually to monitor the communications of its friends. Many American embassies around the world contain a clandestine intercept facility that targets diplomatic communications. The goal is not only to know the military and diplomatic plans of our friends but also to learn what intelligence they may be receiving and with whom they share information. « If a friendly state has friends that we don’t see as friends, » one senior official explained, sensitive intelligence that it should not possess — such as that supplied by Pollard — « can spread to others. » Many officials said they were convinced that information Pollard sold to the Israelis had ultimately wound up in the hands of the Soviet Union.

JONATHAN JAY POLLARD was born in 1954 and grew up as the youngest of three children in South Bend, Indiana; his father, Dr. Morris Pollard, was an award-winning microbiologist who taught at Notre Dame. The young boy did not fit in well in South Bend, and members of his family have described his years in public school there as hellish:

he made constant complaints of being picked on and, in high school, beaten up, because he was Jewish. One of the boy’s happiest times, the family told journalists after his arrest, came when, at the age of sixteen, he attended a summer camp for gifted children in Israel. He talked then of serving in the Israeli Army, but instead he finished high school and went on to Stanford University. His Stanford classmates later recalled that he was full of stories about his ties to Israeli intelligence and the Israeli Army. He also was said to have been a heavy drug and alcohol user.

He graduated in 1976, and in the next three years he attended several graduate schools without getting a degree. He applied for a Job with the C.I.A. but was turned down when the agency concluded, after a lie-detector test and other investigations, that he was « a blabbermouth, » as one official put it, and had misrepresented his drug use. Pollard then tried for a job with the Navy, and obtained a civilian position as a research analyst in the Field Operational Intelligence Office, in Suitland, Maryland. The job required high-level security clearances, and the Navy, which knew nothing about the C.I.A.’s assessment, eventually gave them to Pollard. His initial assignments dealt with the study of surface-ships systems in non-Communist countries, and, according to Pollard’s superiors, his analytical work was excellent. While at Suitland, however, he repeatedly told colleagues far-fetched stories about ties he had with Mossad, the Israeli foreign-intelligence agency, and about his work as an operative in the Middle East.

Pollard’s bragging and storytelling didn’t prevent his immediate supervisors from recognizing his competence as an analyst. He was given many opportunities for promotion, but at least one of them he sabotaged. In the early nineteen-eighties, Lieutenant Commander David G. Muller, Jr., who ran an analytical section at Suitland, had an opening on his staff and summoned Pollard for an interview. « I had respect for him, » Muller recalled recently. « He knew a lot about Navy hardware and a lot about the Middle East. » An early-Monday-morning interview was set up. « Jay blew in the first thing Monday, » Muller recounted. « He looked as if he hadn’t slept or shaved. He proceeded to tell me that on Friday evening his then fiancee, Anne Henderson, had been kidnapped by I.R.A. operatives in Washington, and he’d spent the weekend chasing the kidnappers. » Pollard said that he had managed to rescue his fiancee « only in the wee hours of Monday morning » — just before his appointment. Of course, Pollard did not get the job, Muller said, but he still wishes that he had warned others. « I ought to have gone to the security people, » Muller, who is retired, told me, « and said, ‘Hey, this guy’s a wacko.’ « 

A career American intelligence officer who has been actively involved for years in assessing the damage caused by Pollard told me that Pollard had been desperately broke during this period: « He had credit-card debts, loan debts, debts on rent, furniture, cars. » He was also borrowing heavily from his colleagues, in part to forestall possible garnishment of his wages — an action that could lead to loss of his top-secret clearances. Despite his chronic financial problems, the intelligence officer said, Pollard was constantly spending money on meals in expensive restaurants, on drugs, and on huge bar bills.

In late 1983, shortly after the terrorist bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut, the Navy set up a high-powered Anti-Terrorist Alert Center at Suitland, and in June, 1984, Pollard was assigned to that unit’s Threat Analysis Division. He had access there to the most up-to-date intelligence in the American government. By that summer, however, he had been recruited by Israeli intelligence. He was arrested a year and a half later, in November of 1985.

Pollard was paid well by the Israelis: he received a salary that eventually reached twenty-five hundred dollars a month, and tens of thousands of dollars in cash disbursements for hotels, meals, and even jewelry. In his pre-sentencing statement to Judge Robinson, Pollard depicted the money as a benefit that was forced on him. « I did accept money for my services, » he acknowledged, but only « as a reflection of how well I was doing my job. » He went on to assert that he had later told his controller, Rafi Eitan, a longtime spy who at the time headed a scientific-intelligence unit in Israel, that « I not only intended to repay all the money I’d received but, also, was going to establish a chair at the Israeli General Staff’s Intelligence Training Center outside Tel Aviv. »

Charles S. Leeper, the assistant United States attorney who prosecuted Pollard, challenged his statement that money had not motivated him. In a publicly filed sentencing memorandum, Leeper said that Pollard was known to have received fifty thousand dollars in cash from his Israeli handlers and to have been told that thirty thousand more would be deposited annually in a foreign bank account. Pollard had made a commitment to spy for at least ten years, the memorandum alleged, and « stood to receive an additional five hundred and forty thousand dollars ($540,000) over the expected life of the conspiracy. »

There was no such public specificity, however, when it came to the top-secret materials that Pollard had passed on to Israel. In mid-1986, he elected to plea-bargain rather than face a trial. The 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 classified sworn declaration signed by Caspar W. Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense, which detailed, by categories, some of the intelligence systems that had been compromised. Judge Robinson, for his part, said nothing in public about the scope of the materials involved in the case, and merely noted at the end of a lengthy sentencing hearing, in March, 1987, that he had « read all of the material once, twice, thrice, if you will. » He then sentenced Pollard to life in prison. Pollard’s wife, Anne (they had married in 1985), who had been his accomplice, was convicted of unauthorized possession and transmission of classified defense documents and was given a five-year sentence.

Once in jail, Pollard became increasingly fervent in proclaiming his support for Israel. In the Washington Post last summer, the journalist Peter Perl wrote that even Pollard’s friends saw him as « obsessed with vindication, consumed by the idea that he is a victim of anti-semitism and that Israel can rescue him through diplomatic and political pressure. » Pollard has also turned increasingly to Orthodox Judaism. He divorced his wife after her release from prison, in 1990, and in 1994 proclaimed that, under Jewish law, he had been married in prison to a Toronto schoolteacher named Elaine Zeitz. Esther Pollard, as she is now known, is an indefatigable ally, who passionately believes that her husband was wrongfully accused of harming the United States and was therefore wrongfully imprisoned. « This is the kind of issue I feel very strongly concerns every Jew and every decent, law-abiding citizen, » she told an interviewer shortly after the marriage. « The issues are much bigger than Jonathan and myself…. Like it or not, we are writing a page of Jewish history. »

ESTHER POLLARD and her husband s other supporters are mistaken in believing that Jonathan Pollard caused no significant damage to American national security. Furthermore, according to senior members of the American intelligence community, Pollard’s argument that he acted solely from idealistic motives and provided Israel only with those documents which were needed for its defense was a sham designed to mask the fact that he was driven to spy by his chronic need for money.

Before Pollard’s plea bargain, the government had been preparing a multi-count criminal indictment that included-along with espionage, drug, and tax-fraud charges — allegations that before his arrest Pollard had used classified documents in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the governments of South Africa, Argentina, and Taiwan to participate in an arms deal for anti-Communist Afghan rebels who were then being covertly supported by the Reagan Administration. F.B.I. investigators later determined that in the fall of 1985 Pollard had also consulted with three Pakistanis and an Iranian in his efforts to broker arms. (The foreigners were quietly deported within several months of his arrest.)

Had Pollard’s case gone to trial, one of the government’s major witnesses would have been a journalist named Kurt Lohbeck, who had a checkered past. He had served seven months in prison after being convicted of passing a bad check in New Mexico in 1977, but by 1985 he was under contract to the CBS Evening News. Lohbeck, who now lives in Albuquerque — (he received a full pardon from the governor of New Mexico two years ago), acknowledged in a telephone interview that he was prepared to testify, if necessary, about his involvement in Pollard’s unsuccessful efforts in 1985 to broker arms sales for the rebels in the Afghan war. At one meeting with a foreign diplomat, Lohbeck said, Pollard posed as a high-level C.I.A. operative. Lohbeck, who was then CBS’s main battlefield correspondent in the Afghan war, told me that Pollard had provided him, and thus CBS, with a large number of classified American documents concerning the war. He also told me that Pollard had never discussed Israel with him or indicated any special feelings for the state. « I never heard anything political from Jay, » Lohbeck added, « other than that he tried to portray himself as a Reaganite. Not a word about Israel. Jay’s sole interest was in making a lot of money. »

Lohbeck went on to say that he had also been prepared to testify, if asked, about Pollard’s drug use. « Jay used cocaine heavily, and had no compunction about doing it in public. He’d just lay it in lines on the table. » In 1985, Lohbeck made similar statements, government officials said, to the F.B.I.

Pollard, told by me of Lohbeck’s assertions, sent a response from a jail cell in North Carolina: « My relationship with Lohbeck is extremely complicated. I was never indicted for anything I did with him. Remember that. »

The documents that Pollard turned over to Israel were not focussed exclusively on the product of American intelligence — its analytical reports and estimates. They also revealed how America was able to learn what it did — a most sensitive area of intelligence defined as « sources and methods. » Pollard gave the Israelis vast amounts of data dealing with specific American intelligence systems and how they worked. For example, he betrayed details of an exotic capability that American satellites have of taking off-axis photographs from high in space. While orbiting the earth in one direction, the satellites could photograph areas that were seemingly far out of range. Israeli nuclear-missile sites and the like, which would normally be shielded from American satellites, would thus be left exposed, and could be photographed. « We monitor the Israelis, » one intelligence expert told me, « and there’s no doubt the Israelis want to prevent us from being able to surveil their country. » The data passed along by Pollard included detailed information on the various platforms — in the air, on land, and at sea — used by military components of the National Security Agency to intercept Israeli military, commercial, and diplomatic communications.

At the time of Pollard’s spying, select groups of American sailors and soldiers trained in Hebrew were stationed at an N.S.A. listening post near Harrogate, England, and at a specially constructed facility inside the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, where they intercepted and translated Israeli signals. Other interceptions came from an unmanned N.S.A. listening post in Cyprus. Pollard’s handing over of the data had a clear impact, the expert told me, for « we could see the whole process » — of intelligence collection — « slowing down. » It also hindered the United States’ ability to recruit foreign agents. Another senior official commented, with bitterness, « The level of penetration would convince any self-respecting human source to look for other kinds of work. »

A number of officials strongly suspect that the Israelis repackaged much of Pollard’s material and provided it to the Soviet Union in exchange for continued Soviet permission for Jews to emigrate to Israel. Other officials go further, and say there was reason to believe that secret information was exchanged for Jews working in highly sensitive positions in the Soviet Union. A significant percentage of Pollard’s documents, including some that described the techniques the American Navy used to track Soviet submarines around the world, was of practical importance only to the Soviet Union. One longtime C.I.A. officer who worked as a station chief in the Middle East said he understood that « certain elements in the Israeli military had used it » — Pollard’s material — « to trade for people they wanted to get out, » including Jewish scientists working in missile technology and on nuclear issues. Pollard’s spying came at a time when the Israeli government was publicly committed to the free flow of Jewish emigres from the Soviet Union. The officials stressed the fact that they had no hard evidence — no « smoking gun, » in the form of a document from an Israeli or a Soviet archive — to demonstrate the link between Pollard, Israel, and the Soviet Union, but they also said that the documents that Pollard had been directed by his Israeli handlers to betray led them to no other conclusion.

High-level suspicions about Israeli-Soviet collusion were expressed as early as December, 1985, a month after Pollard’s arrest, when William J. Casey, the late C.I.A. director, who was known for his close ties to the Israeli leadership, stunned one of his station chiefs by suddenly complaining about the Israelis breaking the « ground rules. » The issue arose when Casey urged increased monitoring of the Israelis during an otherwise routine visit, I was told by the station chief, who is now retired. « He asked if I knew anything about the Pollard case, » the station chief recalled, and he said that Casey had added, « For your information, the Israelis used Pollard to obtain our attack plan against the U.S.S.R. all of it. The coordinates, the firing locations, the sequences. And for guess who? The Soviets. » (boldface mine – Ronin)Casey had then explained that the Israelis had traded the Pollard data for Soviet emigres. « How’s that for cheating? » he had asked.

In subsequent interviews, former C.I.A. colleagues of Casey’s were unable to advance his categorical assertion significantly. Duane Clarridge, then in charge of clandestine operations in Europe, recalled that the C.I.A. director had told him that the Pollard material « goes beyond just the receipt in Israel of this stuff. » But Casey, who had many close ties to the Israeli intelligence community, hadn’t told Clarridge how he knew what he knew. Robert Gates, who became deputy C.I.A. director in April, 1986, told me that Casey had never indicated to him that he had specific information about the Pollard material arriving in Moscow. « The notion that the Russians may have gotten some of the stuff has always been a viewpoint, » Gates said, but not through the bartering of emigres. « The only view I heard expressed was that it was through intelligence operations » — the K.G.B.

In any event, there was enough evidence, officials told me, to include a statement about the possible flow of intelligence to the Soviet Union in Defense Secretary Weinberger’s top-secret declaration that was presented to the court before Pollard’s sentencing. There was little doubt, I learned from an official who was directly involved, that Soviet intelligence had access to the most secret information in Israel. « The question, » the official said, « was whether we could prove it was Pollard’s material that went over the aqueduct. We couldn’t get there, so we suggested » in the Weinberger affidavit that the possibility existed. Caution was necessary, the official added, for « fear that the other side would say that ‘these people are seeing spies under the bed.’ « 

The Justice Department further informed Judge Robinson, in a publicly filed memorandum, that « numerous » analyses of Soviet missile systems had been sold by Pollard to Israel, and that those documents included « information from human sources whose identity could be inferred by a reasonably competent intelligence analyst. Moreover, the identity of the authors of these classified publications » was clearly marked.

A retired Navy admiral who was directly involved in the Pollard investigation told me, « There is no question that the Russians got a lot of the Pollard stuff. The only question is how did it get there? » The admiral, like Robert Gates, had an alternative explanation. He pointed out that Israel would always play a special role in American national security affairs. « We give them truckloads of stuff in the normal course of our official relations, » the admiral said. « And they use it very effectively. They do things worth doing, and they will go places where we will not go, and do what we do not dare to do. »

Nevertheless, he said, it was understood that the Soviet intelligence services had long since penetrated Israel. (One important Soviet spy, Shabtai Kalmanovitch, whose job at one point was to ease the resettlement of Russian emigrants in Israel, was arrested in 1987.) It was reasonably assumed in the aftermath of Pollard, the admiral added, that Soviet spies inside Israel had been used to funnel some of the Pollard material to Moscow.

A full accounting of the materials provided by Pollard to the Israelis has been impossible to obtain: Pollard himself has estimated that the documents would create a stack six feet wide, six feet long, and ten feet high. Rafi Eitan, the Israeli who controlled the operation, and two colleagues of his attached to the Israeli diplomatic delegation — Irit Erb and Joseph Yagur — were named as unindicted co-conspirators by the Justice Department. In the summer of 1984, Eitan brought in Colonel Aviem Sella, an Air Force hero, who led Israel’s dramatic and successful 1981 bombing raid on the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. (Sella was eventually indicted, in absentia, on three counts of espionage.) Eitan’s decision to order Sella into the case is considered by many Americans to have been a brilliant stroke: the Israeli war hero was met with starry eyes by Pollard, a chronic wannabe.

Yagur, Erb, and Sella were in Washington when Pollard was first seized by the F.B.I., in November, 1985, but they quickly left the country, never to return. During one period, Pollard had been handing over documents to them almost weekly, and they had been forced to rent an apartment in northwest Washington, where they installed a high-speed photocopying machine. « Safe houses and special Xeroxes? » an American career intelligence officer said, despairingly, concerning the Pollard operation. « This was not the first guy they’d recruited. » In the years following Pollard’s arrest and confession, the Israeli government chose not to cooperate fully with the F.B.I. and Justice Department investigation, and only a token number of the Pollard documents have been returned. It was not until last May that the Israeli government even acknowledged that Pollard had been its operative.

In fact, it is widely believed that Pollard was not the only one in the American government spying for Israel. During his year and a half of spying, his Israeli handlers requested specific documents, which were identified only by top-secret control numbers. After much internal assessment, the government’s intelligence experts concluded that it was « highly unlikely, » in the words of a Justice Department official, that any of the other American spies of the era would have had access to the specific control numbers. « There is only one conclusion, » the expert told me. The Israelis « got the numbers from somebody else in the U.S. government. »

THE men and women of the National Security Agency live in a world of chaotic bleeps, buzzes, and whistles, and talk to each other about frequencies, spectrums, modulation, and bandwidth — the stuff of Tom Clancy novels. They often deal with signals intelligence, or SIGINT, and their world is kept in order by an in-house manual known as the RASIN an acronym for radio-signal notations. The manual, which is classified « top-secret Umbra, » fills ten volumes, is constantly updated, and lists the physical parameters of every known signal. Pollard took it all. « It’s the Bible, » one former communications-intelligence officer told me. « It tells how we collect signals anywhere in the world. » The site, frequency, and significant features of Israeli communications — those that were known and targeted by the N.S.A. — were in the RASIN; so were all the known communications links used by the Soviet Union.

The loss of the RASIN was especially embarrassing to the Navy, I was told by the retired admiral, because the copy that Pollard photocopied belonged to the Office of Naval Intelligence. « He went into our library, found we had an out-of-date version, requested a new one, and passed it on, » the officer said. « I was surprised we even had it. »

The RASIN theft was one of the specifics cited in Defense Secretary Weinberger’s still secret declaration to the court before Pollard’s sentencing hearing. In fact, the hearing’s most dramatic moment came when Pollard’s attorney, Richard A. Hibey, readily acknowledged his client’s guilt but argued that the extent of the damage to American national security did not call for the imposition of a maximum sentence.

« I would ask you to think about the Secretary of Defense’s affidavit, as it related to only one thing, » Judge Robinson interjected, « with reference to one particular category of publication, and I fail to see how you can make that argument. » He invited Hibey to approach the bench, along with the Justice Department attorneys, and the group spent a few moments reviewing what government officials told me was Weinberger’s account of the importance of the RAISIN. One Justice Department official, recalling those moments with obvious pleasure, said that the RASIN was the ninth item on the Weinberger damage-assessment list. After the bench conference, Hibey made no further attempt to minimize the national-security damage caused by its theft. (Citing national security, Hibey refused to discuss the case for this article.)

The ten volumes of the RASIN were available on a need-to-know basis inside the N.S.A. « I’ve never seen the monster, » a former senior watch officer at an N.S.A. intercept site in Europe told me, but added that he did supervise people who constantly used it, and he described its function in easy-to-understand terms:

« It is a complete catalogue of what the United States was listening to, or could listen to — information referred to in the N.S.A. as ‘parametric data.’ It tells you everything you want to know about a particular signal — when it was first detected and where, whom it was first used by, what kind of entity, frequency, wavelength, or band length it has. When you’ve copied a signal and don’t know what it is, the RASIN manual gives you a description. » A senior intelligence official who consults regularly with the N.S.A. on technical matters subsequently told me that another issue involved geometry.

A senior intelligence official who consults regularly with the N.S.A. on technical matters subsequently told me that another issue involved geometry. The RASIN, he explained, had been focussed in particular on the Soviet Union and its thousands of high-frequency, or shortwave, communications, which had enabled Russian military units at either end of the huge land mass to communicate with each other. Those signals « bounced » off the ionosphere and were often best intercepted thousands of miles from their point of origin. If, as many in the American intelligence community suspected, the Soviet communications experts had been able to learn which of their signals were being monitored, and where, they could relocate the signal and force the N.S.A. to invest man-hours and money to try to recapture it. Or, more likely, the Soviets could continue to communicate in a normal fashion but relay false and misleading information.

Pollard’s betrayal of the RASIN put the N.S.A. in the position of having to question or reevaluate all of its intelligence collecting. « We aren’t perfect, » the career intelligence officer explained to me. « We’ve got holes in our coverage, and this » — the loss of the RASIN — tells where the biases and the weaknesses are. It’s how we get the job done, and how we will get the job done. »

« What a wonderful insight into how we think, and exactly how we’re exploiting Soviet communications! » the retired admiral exclaimed. « It’s a how-to-do-it book — the fireside cookbook of cryptology. Not only the analyses but the facts of how we derived our analyses. Whatever recipe you want. »

Pollard, asked about the specific programs he compromised, told me, « As far as SIGINT information is concerned, the government has consistently lied in its public version of what I gave the Israelis. »

In the mid-nineteen-eighties, the daily report from the Navy’s Sixth Fleet Ocean Surveillance Information Facility (FOSIF) in Rota, Spain, was one of America’s Cold War staples. A top-secret document filed every morning at 0800 Zulu time (Greenwich Mean Time), it reported all that had gone on in the Middle East during the previous twenty-four hours, as recorded by the N.S.A.’s most sophisticated monitoring devices.

The reports were renowned inside Navy commands for their sophistication and their reliability; they were based, as the senior managers understood it, on data supplied both by intelligence agents throughout the Middle East and by the most advanced technical means of intercepting Soviet military communications. The Navy’s intelligence facility at Rota shared space with a huge N.S.A. intercept station, occupied by more than seven hundred linguists and cryptographers, which was responsible for monitoring and decoding military and diplomatic communications all across North Africa. Many at Rota spent hundreds of hours a month listening while locked in top-secret compartments aboard American ships, aircraft, and submarines operating in the Mediterranean.

The Navy’s primary targets were the ships, the aircraft, and, most important, the nuclear-armed submarines of the Soviet Union on patrol in the Mediterranean. Those submarines, whose nuclear missiles were aimed at United States forces, were constantly being tracked; they were to be targeted and destroyed within hours if war broke out.

Pollard’s American interrogators eventually concluded that in his year and a half of spying he had provided the Israelis with more than a year’s worth of the daily FOSIF reports from Rota. Pollard himself told the Americans that at one point in 1985 the Israelis had nagged him when he missed several days of work because of illness and had failed to deliver the FOSIF reports for those days. One of his handlers, Joseph Yagur, had complained twice about the missed messages and had asked him to find a way to retrieve them. Pollard told his American interrogators that he had never missed again.

The career intelligence officer who helped to assess the Pollard damage has come to view Pollard as a serial spy, the Ted Bundy of the intelligence world. « Pollard gave them every message for a whole year, » the officer told me recently, referring to the Israelis. « They could analyze it » — the intelligence — « message by message, and correlate it. They could not only piece together our sources and methods but also learn how we think, and how we approach a problem. All of a sudden, there is no mystery. These are the things we can’t change. You got this, and you got us by the balls. » In other words, the Rota reports, when carefully studied, gave the Israelis « a road map on how to circumvent » the various American collection methods and shield an ongoing military operation. The reports provide guidance on « how to keep us asleep, thinking all is working well, » he added. « They tell the Israelis how to raid Tunisia without tipping off American intelligence in advance. That is damage that is persistent and severe. »

NOT every document handed over by Pollard dealt with signals intelligence. DIAL-COINS is the acronym for the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Community On-Line Intelligence System, which was one of the government’s first computerized information-retrieval-network systems. The system, which was comparatively primitive in the mid-nineteen-eighties — it used an 8088 operating chip and thermafax paper — could not be accessed by specific issues or key words but spewed out vast amounts of networked intelligence data by time frame. Nevertheless, DIAL-COINS contained all the intelligence reports filed by Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine attaches in Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East. One official who had been involved with it told me recently, « It was full of great stuff, particularly in HUMINT — human intelligence. Many Americans who went to the Middle East for business or political reasons agreed, as loyal citizens, to be debriefed by American defense attaches after their visits. They were promised anonymity — many had close friends inside Israel and the nearby Arab states who would be distressed by their collaboration — and the reports were classified. « It’s who’s talking to whom, » the officer said. « Like handing you the address book of the spooks for a year. »

Government investigators discovered that one of the system’s heaviest users in 1984 and 1985 was Jonathan Pollard. He had all the necessary clearances and necessary credentials to gain access to the classified Pentagon library; he also understood that librarians, even in secret libraries, are always eager to help, and in one instance he relied on the library security guards. With some chagrin, officials involved in the Pollard investigation recounted that Pollard had once collected so much data that he needed a handcart to move the papers to his car, in a nearby parking lot, and the security guards held the doors for him.

Pollard also provided the Israelis with what is perhaps the most important day-to-day information in signals intelligence: the National SIGINT Requirements List, which is essentially a compendium of the tasks, and the priority of those tasks, given to various N.S.A. collection units around the world. Before a bombing mission, for example, a United States satellite might be re-deployed, at enormous financial cost, to provide instantaneous electronic coverage of the target area. In addition, N.S.A. field stations would be ordered to begin especially intensive monitoring of various military units in the target nation. Special N.S.A. coverage would also be ordered before an American covert military unit, such as the Army’s Delta Force or a Navy Seal team, was inserted into hostile territory or hostile waters. Sometimes the N.S.A.’s requests were less comprehensive: a European or Middle Eastern business suspected of selling chemical arms to a potential adversary might be placed on the N.S.A. « watch list » and its faxes, telexes, and other communications carefully monitored. The Requirements List is « like a giant to-do list, » a former N.S.A. operative told me. « If a customer » — someone in the intelligence community — « asked for specific coverage, it would be on a list that is updated daily. » That is, the target of the coverage would be known.

« If we’re going to bomb Iraq, we will shift the system, » a senior specialist subsequently told me. « It’s a tipoff where the American emphasis is going to be. » With the List, the specialist added, the Israelis « could see us move our collection systems » prior to military action, and eventually come to understand how the United States Armed Forces « change our emphasis. » In other words, he added, Israel « could make our intelligence system the prime target » and hide whatever was deemed necessary. « The damage goes past Jay’s arrest, » the specialist said, « and could extend up to today. »

Israel made dramatic use of the Pollard material on October 1, 1985, seven weeks before his arrest, when its Air Force bombed the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Tunisia, killing at least sixty-seven people. The United States, which was surprised by the operation, eventually concluded that the Israeli planners had synergistically combined the day-to-day insights of the SIGINT Requirements List with the strategic intelligence of the FOSIF reports and other data that Pollard provided to completely outwit our government’s huge collection apparatus in the Middle East. Even Pollard himself, the senior official told me, « had no idea what he gave away. » The results of President Clinton’s requested review of the Pollard case by officials in the intelligence community and other interested parties were to be presented to the White House by January 11th. A former Justice Department official told me, « Nobody can believe that any President would have the gall to release this kind of spy. » But as the report was being prepared the nature of the questions that the White House was referring to the Justice Department convinced some intelligence officials that Clinton was considering a compromise, such as commuting Pollard’s life sentence to twenty-five years in prison.

The queries about commutation were coming not from Roger Adams, the President’s pardon attorney, but from Charles F. C. Ruff, the White House counsel. « Pollard would get half a loaf, » one distraught career intelligence official told me. The deal believed to be under consideration would provide for his release, with time off for good behavior, in the summer of 2002. The solution had a certain « political beauty, » the official added — in the eyes of the White House. « Pollard doesn’t get out right away, and the issue doesn’t cause any trouble. And getting the United States to bend would be a serious victory for Israel. »

A senior intelligence official whose agency was involved in preparing the report for the White House told me, somewhat facetiously, that he would drop all objections to Pollard’s immediate release if the Israeli government would answer two questions: « First, give us a list of what you’ve got, and, second, tell us what you did with it. » Such answers are unlikely to be forthcoming. The Israeli government has acknowledged that Pollard was indeed spying on its behalf but has refused — despite constant entreaties — to provide the United States with a complete list of the documents that were turned over to it.

Some members of the intelligence community view themselves today as waging a dramatic holding action against a President who they believe is eager to split the difference with the Israelis on Pollard’s fate. They see Bill Clinton as a facilitator who would not hesitate to trade Pollard to the Israelis if he thought that would push Israel into a peace settlement and result in a foreign-policy success. The officials emphasize that they support Clinton’s efforts to resolve the Middle East crisis but do not think it is appropriate to use Pollard as a bargaining chip.

Adding to their dismay, some officials made clear, is the fact that Clinton himself, having studied the case years ago, when he was considering Yitzhak Rabin’s request for clemency, knows as much as anyone in the United States government about the significance of Pollard’s treachery. One informed official described a private moment at the Wye peace summit when George Tenet, the C.I.A. director, warned the President that Pollard’s release would enrage and demoralize the intelligence community. « What he got back, » the official told me, « was ‘Nah, don’t worry about it. It’ll blow over.’ « 

Voir aussi:

Pollard, l’espion américain que Washington ne veut pas libérer

Les Etats-Unis refusent toujours de libérer Jonathan Pollard, un Américain condamné en 1987 pour espionnage au profit d’Israël.

Jacques Benillouche

Slate

Le scientifique russe Igor Soutiaguine a été échangé le 8 juillet à Vienne contre la jeune espionne moscovite de 28 ans, Anna Chapman après avoir été condamné à de la prison ferme en Russie. Il avait été convaincu d’espionnage pour le compte des États-Unis. Anna Chapman fait partie des dix personnes qui ont été arrêtées lors d’un coup de filet spectaculaire aux Etats-Unis, en juin 2010 et qui ont été relâchées après un échange russo-américain.

Pendant ce temps, l’espion israélien Jonathan Pollard a fêté ses 9.000 jours de captivité aux Etats-Unis, un quart de siècle, après avoir été arrêté en 1986. Des manifestations pour sa libération et des illuminations en son honneur ont été organisées le 13 juillet par la mairie de Jérusalem devant le mur occidental. L’acharnement américain pour ce prisonnier est inexplicable puisque le gouvernement israélien s’était engagé officiellement à interdire dorénavant toute activité d’espionnage sur le sol américain.

Chaque élection d’un président américain était l’occasion pour exhumer le dossier Pollard mais les premiers ministres israéliens successifs n’ont pas réussi à obtenir la grâce de l’espion condamné à perpétuité aux Etats-Unis en 1987 pour espionnage au profit d’Israël. Citoyen américain né en 1954, il travaillait depuis novembre 1979 pour la marine américaine en tant qu’officier de renseignement et communiquait de nombreux documents protégés. Découvert par le FBI, il tenta alors de fuir en réclamant, auprès de l’ambassade israélienne, un asile politique qui ne lui a pas été accordé. L’Etat d’Israël a mis plusieurs années à reconnaitre que l’espion était israélien tandis que le FBI était persuadé qu’il arrêtait un agent du Pakistan ou de l’Arabie Saoudite.

L’entêtement de l’administration américaine à refuser la grâce n’est pas liée aux secrets, depuis périmés, qui ont été divulgués mais au fait que deux pays amis ne pouvaient participer à un espionnage mutuel. Le Sénat américain s’oppose systématiquement à la libération anticipée de l’espion: «Nous ne souhaitons pas mettre à mal les intérêts stratégiques américains en libérant Pollard ». Mais la timidité des interventions israéliennes en faveur de leur espion ne laissent pas d’étonner car la responsabilité du gouvernement israélien est totale puisque l’opération a été couverte, en son nom, par un officier du Mossad en mission aux Etats-Unis.

Affaire Lavon Bis

Cette affaire ressemble à la fameuse affaire Lavon, du nom du ministre de la Défense nommé fin 1953 en remplacement de David Ben Gourion. Afin d’empêcher un rapprochement entre l’Occident et l’Egypte, il avait commandité des opérations de terrorisme en Egypte, préparées et exécutées sous le contrôle des services secrets de l’armée israélienne. L’échec de l’opération «Shoshana» avait entrainé la capture des treize membres du commando dont deux furent exécutés en Egypte, une suicidée et les autres emprisonnées jusqu’à leur libération à la suite d’un échange survenu après la guerre de Six Jours.

Le commando était constitué uniquement de jeunes juifs égyptiens inexpérimentés agissant sous l’emprise d’un sionisme exacerbé.L’échec de cette opération conduisit le Mossad à interdire dorénavant l’utilisation d’agents nationaux dans des missions d’espionnage contre leur propre pays. Il s’agissait surtout de ne pas provoquer de dilemme entre le sentiment national et l’exigence de solidarité avec Israël car les communautés juives devaient affirmer leur neutralité vis-à-vis du pays qui les héberge.

Cette règle a été ouvertement bafouée dans l’affaire Pollard par un officier traitant qui avait manœuvré en solo, malgré des instructions rigoureuses et parfaitement établies. Il surfait sur l’auréole qu’il avait acquise avec l’arrestation du SS Adolf Eichmann en Argentine. L’éventualité d’une riche moisson d’informations inédites avait conduit le Mossad à faire preuve d’aveuglement coupable. Jamais un juif américain n’aurait dû être autorisé à espionner sa patrie, même si l’importance des données glanées impliquait une exception en la matière.

Les conséquences sont effectivement terribles puisque les Américains refusent les règles tacites appliquées par les services de renseignements pour l’élargissement des «honorables correspondants». Ils semblent qu’ils veuillent faire payer l’indélicatesse, sinon la provocation, des Israéliens qui ont nommé l’officier traitant, Rafi Eitan, à un ministère alors qu’il était interdit de séjour aux Etats-Unis et qu’il refuse, encore aujourd’hui, de dévoiler le contenu de sa mission relevant, selon lui, du secret-défense.

Dans cette affaire comme dans l’affaire Lavon, le gouvernement israélien semble avoir été mis devant le fait accompli par des officiers omnipotents, agissant sans contrôle et avides de résultats à bon compte. Leur faute aura été de fuir leur responsabilité en lâchant l’espion et lui refusant l’asile. L’opinion publique israélienne a toujours été choquée par ce comportement assimilé à l’abandon d’un blessé de Tsahal sur le champ de bataille.

Censure gouvernementale

L’affaire Lavon, intrigue militaro-politique, censurée pendant dix ans par le gouvernement et donc occultée par les médias, a été à l’origine d’un cataclysme politique entrainant la démission de ministres et la chute du gouvernement. L’affaire Pollard occupe les esprits depuis plus de vingt ans et, de manière cyclique, elle revient à la une des médias. Les Israéliens estiment que cette affaire ne rehausse pas l’honneur du Mossad qui a préféré sacrifier son agent plutôt que de reconnaitre son erreur auprès de l’administration américaine.

Un collectif d’associations avait adressé une supplique à Benjamin Netanyahou:

« A l’approche de votre visite aux Etats-Unis, nous ressentons le devoir moral d’évoquer à nouveau le sujet de la libération de Jonathan Pollard, qui a agi au nom de l’Etat et en sa faveur. Israël a l’obligation incontestable de le ramener à la maison. »

Le Premier ministre israélien est toujours revenu bredouille de ses voyages.

La dernière décision du Sénat américain indique que l’espion du Mossad n’est pas prêt d’être libéré et qu’il continue de payer un raté des services qui l’employaient. Il paie aussi parce que l’affaire Pollard n’est pas la seule à défrayer les chroniques alors qu’une nouvelle action d’espionnage similaire était mise à jour. Le FBI et le bureau de contre-espionnage du département de la Justice des Etats-Unis ont enquêté en 2004 sur un analyste de haut rang du Pentagone, Larry Franklin, suspecté d’espionnage au profit d’Israël pour avoir transmis des informations confidentielles sur l’Iran. Il est en cours de jugement et la sentence pourrait rejaillir sur le responsable du Mossad de l’époque, Uzi Arad, persona non grata aux Etats-Unis mais nommé conseiller diplomatique de Benjamin Netanyahou. Sa nomination dans le cercle restreint des conseillers intimes du Premier ministre est considérée par l’administration américaine comme une provocation et un nouveau casus belli. Et n’arrange pas les affaires de Pollard…

Voir également:

CHRONIQUE CINEMA

Israël : Lakam ou le fonctionnement du Mossad II. L’histoire d’Arnon Milchan jusqu’à Hollywod.

AllianceFr

L’homme que Hollywood célébrait était un des plus grands maîtres espions d’Israël, et il avait procuré à son pays, une quantité impressionnante de technologies américaines…

Arnon Milchan est né en 1944 au sein d’une famille nombreuse dans la ville de Rehovot, alors une des plus dynamiques de la Palestine sous mandat britannique, sur une terre de vignobles et d’orangers autrefois cultivée par son grand-père. Quatre ans plus tard, grâce à un vote des Nations unies, Rehovot se trouvait faire partie d’un petit pays de pionniers et de survivants des camps, bientôt assiégé par ses voisins arabes.

Après la guerre, la région entama sa transformation en centre technologique et scientifique. La famille Milchan se lança dans l’industrie des fertilisants et la distribution de carburants. Après ses premiers succès, elle installa ses bureaux à Tel-Aviv.

Arnon fut donc élevé au milieu de l’élite ashkénaze (issue de l’émigration européenne) et se distingua rapidement par sa vivacité d’esprit et son hyperactivité. L’adolescent fut envoyé dans une école chic anglaise, afin de lui donner un vernis cosmopolite. Il s’y distingua par ses talents au football et y fit aussi sa première expérience de l’antisémitisme.

Après son service militaire, le jeune homme fut envoyé en Suisse pour y suivre des études de chimie et se préparer à travailler dans l’entreprise familiale de fertilisants. Mais en 1965, il dut interrompre brutalement ses études pour rentrer au chevet de son père, mourant. A 21 ans, il lui fallut reprendre les rênes de l’entreprise familiale. A cette époque, la société était au bord de la faillite et ses partenaires ne donnaient pas cher du nouveau P-DG.

En inventoriant les dossiers de son père, Arnon fit une découverte qui allait changer le cours des événements. La société n’était pas seulement, comme il le croyait, engagée dans le domaine agricole. Dans le plus grand secret, elle avait aussi développé une petite mais prometteuse activité d’import-export en armement !

Capitalisant sur cette première expérience, Arnon réussit à maintenir la société à flot et à la développer au-delà de tout ce que l’on aurait cru possible. Totalement ignorant en matière d’armes, le jeune homme s’abonna à toutes les revues spécialisées de la planète, apprit par cœur les noms de tous les fabricants et les contacta tous en leur proposant de devenir leur représentant exclusif en Israël. Il obtint plusieurs rendez-vous et quelques contrats. Il fit à cette époque la connaissance de deux personnages capitaux pour son travail mais aussi pour le tour qu’allait prendre sa vie.

L’un d’eux était le célèbre Moshe Dayan, vétéran de Tsahal et ministre de la Défense ; l’autre, moins célèbre à l’époque, se nommait Shimon Peres : il était alors sous-ministre de la Défense après avoir été directeur général du ministère, en charge d’achats d’armes.

Ce fut le début d’une relation qui allait faire basculer Arnon dans le monde obscur du renseignement. Après quelques mois de fréquentation amicale, Peres informa Milchan du “grand secret” d’Israël : son programme nucléaire clandestin, développé avec l’aide des Français. Il lui présenta l’homme à qui il avait confié la sécurité du programme: Benjamin Blumberg, ancien responsable du contre-espionnage et de la sécurité au ministère de la Défense.

Ce dernier était en train de monter une agence secrète, chargée de se procurer l’équipement et les matériels indispensables au programme israélien, mais en principe impossibles à acquérir sur le marché légal. Cette agence, installée dans un bâtiment du ministère de la Défense, serait si secrète que même le Mossad ne serait pas informé de son activité.

Au début des années 1970, elle serait baptisée “Bureau de liaison scientifique” ou Lakam, et surnommée par certains initiés le “Mossad II”. Elle devait acquérir les équipements nécessaires au programme nucléaire par tous les moyens, y compris la tromperie, le vol et la force. En effet, à cette époque la relation avec la France était en train de se refroidir et il était urgent de trouver d’autres canaux d’approvisionnement.

Système de guidage de missiles, centrifugeuses, carburant pour fusées, équipement de vision nocturne, lasers… la liste des demandes allait bientôt ressembler à un inventaire à la Prévert et excéder largement les besoins du programme nucléaire pour couvrir tous les secteurs de la défense israélienne au fur et à mesure que les succès s’accumuleraient et que la notoriété du Lakam déborderait certains cercles étroits.

Une commission secrète de scientifiques fut formée pour définir les besoins prioritaires. Elle se réunissait chaque semaine pour établir les listes d’objectifs, précisant où on pouvait se les procurer.

Qui s’en chargeait ensuite et par quels moyens? Les membres n’avaient pas besoin de le savoir.

Pendant les années 1970, le Lakam fut si discret qu’aucune des agences de renseignement occidentales ne soupçonna son existence, alors même qu’il agissait sur la plupart de leurs territoires.

Dans son étude sur le système du renseignement israélien saisie par les Iraniens lors de la prise d’otages de l’ambassade des Etats-Unis à Téhéran en 1979, la CIA identifie correctement la recherche technologique dans les pays amis comme une des priorités israéliennes.

Mais elle ne soupçonne pas l’existence d’une agence distincte chargée de cette mission. De ce fait, les soupçons et la surveillance du contre-espionnage restèrent longtemps focalisés sur les équipes du Mossad, laissant le champ libre aux francs-tireurs du Lakam. D’autant plus francs-tireurs que certains, à l’image d’Arnon Milchan, avaient sur le territoire américain une véritable et légitime activité économique.

Après avoir révélé à son ami Arnon les dessous de la politique de défense israélienne, et constaté avec satisfaction que sa motivation à servir Israël dans un environnement dangereux était inchangée, Shimon Peres le mit entre les mains de Benjamin Blumberg, dont le jeune entrepreneur allait devenir un des plus importants agents.

En apparence, le quinquagénaire Blumberg tenait plus du bureaucrate que du maître espion, avec son physique quelconque, sa voix douce et son air sinistre. Mais les deux hommes développèrent rapidement une amitié durable, au point que Milchan fut vite considéré au sein du service comme le chouchou du patron.

Aux yeux de Blumberg, l’audacieux et créatif Arnon Milchan correspondait parfaitement au profil d’agents qu’il souhaitait recruter pour compléter son réseau d’attachés militaires : des hommes d’affaires légitimes, avec de véritables activités, et suffisamment patriotes pour prendre des risques au service du Lakam.

On le forma donc à toutes techniques qu’il aurait besoin de maîtriser au cours de ses missions : comment créer des sociétés écrans, jongler avec les comptes bancaires offshore, la technique des faux documents de destination pour le commerce d’armes, etc.

Des compétences qui lui seraient également d’une grande utilité pour développer ses affaires. Arnon reçut aussi une formation sur le recrutement et la manipulation de sources. Et il se fit la main avec quelques petites “courses” pour le Lakam. Besoin de 1000 tonnes de perchlorate d’ammonium ? De radars de précision ? A chaque fois, Arnon trouvait la solution. Pas de doute, il était prêt pour des missions à risque…

Après quelques mois d’immersion dans le monde du renseignement, Milchan put prendre l’initiative et surprendre ses recruteurs. Il fit à ses amis Shimon Peres et Moshe Dayan une proposition qu’ils ne pouvaient pas refuser.

D’ores et déjà, sa société était le représentant non exclusif en Israël de plusieurs industriels de l’armement et de l’aviation. Si le ministère de la Défense expliquait de façon officieuse à ces industriels que Milchan était dorénavant le point de passage obligé, ce dernier s’engageait à reverser ses commissions sur les contrats aux fonds secrets du ministère, et donc du Lakam ! Les commissions seraient versées par les industriels sur des comptes secrets à l’étranger, ce qui permettrait ensuite de financer des missions qui ne devaient laisser aucune trace.

De facto, Milchan devenait le banquier occulte des grosses opérations secrètes du renseignement israélien à l’étranger : non seulement celles du Lakam, mais aussi parfois celles du Mossad.

Lui seul connaissait l’ensemble des comptes ouverts un peu partout dans le monde et les avoirs disponibles dans chacun d’eux. En fonction des besoins, il faisait mettre à disposition de tel agent dans tel pays une somme en liquide dont la provenance serait impossible à établir. Il pourrait aussi s’en servir pour régler des achats de matériels… ou pour payer une rançon ou un pot-de-vin.

Ce qui ne signifie pas que Milchan soit informé de chaque mission en détail: il devait en savoir le moins possible, uniquement ce qui était nécessaire pour mettre à disposition une certaine somme à l’usage d’une certaine personne… Ce seul rôle donnait au jeune homme un pouvoir considérable, mais ses ambitions ne s’arrêtaient pas là.

L’entrepreneur fit à ses amis une deuxième suggestion : il offrit d’établir notamment aux Etats-Unis des filiales de son groupe, qui serviraient de couverture aux activités du service.

Il devenait ainsi un rouage essentiel du dispositif. Ce qui ne pouvait avoir que des effets positifs sur son business avec le ministère de la Défense. Comment en effet refuser à un allié si précieux un petit coup de pouce de temps à autre, surtout s’il ne laisse pas de trace ?
(…)

Après la guerre de Kippour de 1973, qui avait montré pour la première fois l’armée d’Israël en difficulté, la priorité du ministère de la Défense fut à la modernisation de ses troupes.

Il devenait crucial qu’elles disposent toujours des technologies les plus en pointe pour ne pas se retrouver acculées lors de la prochaine guerre. De leur côté, les Etats-Unis accordaient désormais à Israël des aides toujours plus considérables… à dépenser auprès de l’industrie américaine. Ce fut une période faste pour les entreprises d’Arnon Milchan et pour ses clients, en particulier Raytheon.

C’est lors d’une visite privée dans les installations nucléaires de Dimona que Milchan entendit pour la première fois parler du krytron. Les krytrons sont utilisés dans les photocopieuses et nombre d’appareils médicaux. Ils ont aussi un usage comme détonateur de bombe nucléaire, ce qui est moins connu.

Une seule société les fabriquait aux Etats-Unis à l’époque et leur exportation était sérieusement réglementée. En 1975, on demanda à Smyth d’en acheter quatre cents et, comme c’était la règle, il remplit la licence d’exportation de munitions requise pour ce type de matériel, qui fut cette fois refusée.

En 1976, un nouvel essai fut à nouveau infructueux. Cette fois, la CIA commença à se poser des questions sur les activités de Milco.

Pendant ce temps, celles de Milchan continuaient à se développer un peu partout dans le monde. L’homme d’affaires fut informé par son mentor Peres du rapprochement en cours entre Israël et l’Afrique du Sud. Ce pays africain allait devenir le premier marché israélien pour l’armement.

Cette fois encore, Milchan allait servir d’agent commercial à cette part de l’industrie israélienne, alors en plein essor.

On demanda aussi à Milchan de seconder l’effort de réhabilitation médiatique tenté par le gouvernement sud-africain, qui consistait à racheter les journaux et magazines susceptibles de faire évoluer l’opinion publique internationale. Après quelques séjours en Afrique du Sud, Milchan, de plus en plus mal à l’aise avec les réalités du régime, laissa vite tomber cette activité.

Pendant cette époque, il développa aussi des relations commerciales avec Taïwan, qui souffrait alors du rapprochement diplomatique entre la Chine continentale et les Etats-Unis. L’oncle Sam ne pouvait plus décemment vendre d’armes au frère ennemi taïwanais de ses nouveaux amis chinois, mais rien n’empêchait qu’Israël se substitue à lui comme partenaire commercial.

C’est ainsi que jusqu’à 20 % du chiffre d’affaires de Milco fut réalisé à la fin des années 1970 avec Taïwan. Dans les années 1980, le rapprochement entre la Chine et Israël conduirait l’Etat hébreu à réduire à son tour ses exportations vers Taïwan, mais entretemps le groupe Milchan aurait bénéficié de plusieurs beaux marchés.
(…)

En 1981, le Lakam changea de tête pour la première fois, sur décision du nouveau ministre de la Défense, Ariel Sharon, qui trouvait Blumberg trop proche de Peres à son goût pour un poste aussi sensible. Il le remplaça par Rafi Eitan, un ami et ancien du Mossad alors âgé de 55 ans. Eitan était déjà à l’époque une légende du renseignement israélien. Ancien du Shin Bet et du Mossad, il avait commandé l’équipe qui captura Eichmann à Buenos Aires en 1960.

A la fin des années 1960, il faisait partie de l’équipe qui travailla sur l’affaire NUMEC, permettant le rapatriement d’une grosse quantité d’uranium enrichi. Ce qui montre au passage que le Lakam n’était pas sans contact avec le Mossad, comme on l’a dit par la suite.

Dans les années 1970, Eitan devint directeur adjoint des opérations du Mossad. C’était un petit homme myope et presque sourd d’une oreille, mais il ne fallait pas se fier à son allure. John Le Carré prit Eitan comme modèle pour son personnage de Marty Kurtz dans La Petite Fille au tambour, qui traque sans relâche les terroristes palestiniens.

En 1976, Eitan quitta le Mossad pour travailler auprès de son ami Ariel Sharon, devenu conseiller de Rabin pour les affaires de sécurité. Puis il partit dans le privé, où il s’ennuya ferme. C’est pourquoi il accepta bien volontiers en 1978 de devenir conseiller antiterrorisme du Premier ministre Begin, à l’instigation de son mentor Sharon.

Et il sauta en 1981 sur l’opportunité de diriger le Lakam. Il avait conservé avec lui un fichier de sources et de sayanim du Mossad en territoire américain, pensant que certains noms pourraient lui être utiles.

Parmi eux, un certain Jonathan Pollard, analyste du renseignement naval, affecté au centre antiterroriste de Suitland dans le Maryland. Pollard était un Juif militant, choqué de voir que le renseignement américain ne partageait pas toutes ses informations sur le Moyen-Orient avec le Mossad.

Il avait commencé à fournir des copies de rapports d’une grande valeur. Après plusieurs mois de production, le Mossad avait décidé de laisser cette source “en jachère” pour ne pas l’exposer inutilement. Eitan saisit l’occasion de la réactiver, dans un premier temps pour sa plus grande satisfaction, sans savoir que Pollard allait le mener à perdre son poste quelques années plus tard.
(…)

Quelques jours plus tard, au Nouvel An 1983, un ou des cambrioleurs pénétraient dans les entrepôts et les bureaux de Milco et saisissaient les ordinateurs. Smyth ne put que déclarer l’effraction et répondre aux questions du FBI. Très effrayé par ce qui était en train de se passer, il mentionna les krytrons et le fait qu’il avait peut-être commis une erreur involontaire en les expédiant.

Il tenta ensuite de joindre Milchan, qui ne répondit pas. Le Lakam était déjà passé en mode “contrôle des dommages” et Milchan avait instruction de ne plus parler à Smyth. Le FBI ne tarda pas à mettre la main sur l’auteur du cambriolage, un adolescent qui avait stocké le produit de son larcin dans le garage de ses parents. Mais cela ne mettait pas un point final à l’affaire.

Désormais le FBI s’intéressait de très près aux produits commercialisés par Milco, et resserrait son étreinte sur Smyth et son épouse, également salariée de la société. Pendant ce temps, Milchan avait cessé toute commande, et la société n’enregistrait plus aucune entrée de fonds.

Début 1985, Smyth était dans le collimateur de la justice américaine, qui avait obtenu la preuve des précédentes demandes de licence d’exportation de Milco pour des krytrons. Smyth ne pouvait donc plus prétendre avoir agi par ignorance des règles. Milco était la première victime d’un programme d’action des douanes, ironiquement baptisé opération “Exodus”, pour mettre fin à l’exportation de technologies duales.

Sur le point d’être inculpé, Smyth s’envola avec sa famille. Ils arrivèrent en Israël comme touristes, alors que la presse américaine annonçait son inculpation. Sa présence sur le sol israélien devenait embarrassante. Il était temps de passer au niveau politique pour mettre fin à l’affaire. Des représentants du gouvernement israélien expliquèrent à l’administration Reagan que les krytrons acquis par Israël avaient servi pour des applications militaires classiques, autrement dit non nucléaires. En toute bonne foi, Israël proposait de restituer ceux qui n’avaient pas été utilisés, ce qui fut fait.

Presque au même moment, Shimon Peres recevait la visite officieuse d’un conseiller de Ronald Reagan, qui sollicitait son aide pour obtenir de l’Iran la libération d’otages américains retenus au Liban. C’était le début de l’affaire “Iran-Contra”, dans laquelle Israël vendit des armes à l’Iran dans l’espoir d’obtenir des libérations d’otages. Milchan n’y prit aucune part, son adversaire Nimrodi ayant préempté le marché afin de rétablir sa position en Iran.

Ce que l’on peut en revanche observer, c’est qu’à partir de ce moment où l’administration Reagan sollicitait les Israéliens pour une mission clandestine des plus délicates, il ne fut plus question d’Arnon Milchan et des activités occultes du Lakam. De retour en Californie, Smyth dut en revanche affronter la perspective d’un procès des plus sévères : il encourait jusqu’à cent cinq ans de prison !

Entretemps, en novembre 1985, le public américain avait appris l’arrestation par le FBI d’un espion au service d’Israël : Jonathan Pollard, une affaire qui allait grossir jusqu’à devenir l’une des plus grandes crises entre Israël et les Etats-Unis. On commençait alors dans les médias à parler du Lakam. Le couple Smyth décida à cette époque de s’enfuir pour de bon, et partit s’installer en Suisse, avant d’emménager en 1986 dans la station balnéaire espagnole de Malaga.

C’est là qu’il devait être retrouvé par la justice américaine en juin 2001, pour une raison des plus banales: ayant atteint l’âge de 65 ans, et presque à bout de ressources, Smyth s’était risqué à faire valoir ses droits à la retraite auprès de la sécurité sociale américaine, calculant que l’énorme machine administrative ne ferait pas le lien avec un fugitif. Il avait tort.

Vingt ans après les faits qui lui étaient reprochés, Smyth fut donc arrêté et extradé vers les Etats-Unis. La justice le condamna à une peine de quarante mois de prison. Il fut libéré et mis en probation en 2005, et totalement libre en 2006.

Il serait raisonnable de penser que pendant toute cette affaire, ou du moins la période la plus chaude, entre 1983 et 1985, Arnon Milchan fit profil bas dans le monde des affaires et évita de visiter les Etats-Unis. Il n’en est rien. Dans les années 1980, le toujours hyperactif et insatiable Arnon Milchan ajouta une corde à son arc: après quelques investissements ponctuels dans le cinéma, il aspirait à devenir un producteur à part entière. Bien entendu, il ne pouvait pour cela faire valoir aucune expérience sérieuse du métier.

L’histoire d’Hollywood est d’une certaine manière celle d’un gouffre financier qui a vu défiler nombre de gogos richissimes, éblouis par ce monde de stars et d’illusion. Dans les seules années 1980, Sony (acquéreur de Columbia) et le Crédit lyonnais (dans l’affaire MGM) ont payé pour apprendre qu’un investissement dans un studio hollywoodien est rarement rentable et qu’on s’y fait plumer plus souvent qu’à son tour, avec le sourire. C’est dire si l’arrivée d’Arnon Milchan dans la Mecque du cinéma provoqua des ricanements, du moins chez ceux qui prirent la peine de l’écouter.

Néanmoins, avec la même détermination qu’il avait mis à apprendre le business des armes, l’entrepreneur décida de se réinventer une nouvelle fois comme producteur. Il n’est pas possible de livrer ici le détail de cette odyssée, que l’on trouvera dans sa biographie officielle. Le démarrage fut chaotique, mais témoigna d’une certaine qualité de jugement cinéphilique: Martin Scorsese (The King of Comedy, 1983), Sergio Leone (Il était une fois en Amérique, 1984) et Terry Gilliam (Brazil, 1985).

Trois fortes personnalités, trois tournages catastrophiques (dont le dernier se solda par un conflit ouvert avec le studio chargé de distribuer le film), mais à l’arrivée au moins deux films cultes.

A l’issue de cette première séquence qui aurait pu tuer la plupart des producteurs expérimentés, Arnon Milchan reconnut qu’il fallait peut-être devenir un peu plus grand public. Après quelques essais moyennement convaincants, il acheta pour une bouchée de pain un scénario qui avait été rejeté par presque tout Hollywood.

Et qui devint Pretty Woman, le “carton” de l’année 1990.

Depuis lors, plus personne ne ricane à Hollywood sur le passage d’Arnon Milchan, dont les productions naviguent entre le familial (les séries Sauvez Willy, Alvin et les Chipmunks, Fantastic Mr Fox), le film d’action (Under Siege, Mr & Ms Smith), le film de vampires et le polar haut de gamme (Heat, LA confidential).

Devenu une figure du Tout-Hollywood, Arnon arrive même à être en affaires simultanément avec des ennemis jurés comme Summer Redstone, le patron de Viacom, et Rupert Murdoch, le propriétaire de la Fox. En 1991, surfant sur la vague de Pretty Woman, il a créé son propre mini-studio, New Regency, en association avec Warner et Canal +, et une participation de Silvio Berlusconi. Le premier gros projet du studio a été JFK d’Oliver Stone. En 2011, New Regency a signé un nouveau partenariat avec le studio Fox, qui doit courir jusque 2022.

Arnon aurait-il entretemps abandonné ses autres activités? Pas davantage. Tout occupé qu’il était à monter New Regency en 1991, il a aussi trouvé le temps au début de la guerre du Golfe de négocier pour le ministère israélien de la Défense l’achat express de missiles Patriot pour faire pièce aux Scud que Saddam Hussein menaçait de lancer sur l’Etat hébreu. Et, depuis lors, il reste un intermédiaire privilégié pour l’industrie d’armement du monde entier.

Officiellement, le Lakam a été dissous après le scandale de l’affaire Pollard en 1985. Officieusement, il n’en continue pas moins ses activités sous un autre nom, partout dans le monde. Sauf aux Etats-Unis, affirme-t-on à Tel-Aviv. De son côté la famille Smyth essaie d’oublier toute cette affaire et vit avec de maigres ressources dans un camping-car en Californie.

Arnon Milchan, qui fréquente aussi bien Brad Pitt et Angelina Jolie que Shimon Peres et Benyamin Netanyahou, est de ceux qui ont permis à Israël de mener à bien son programme de recherche nucléaire. Mais il serait étonnant qu’il s’arrête là, à seulement 68 ans.
(…)

Voir de même:

Espion contre espion, l’Amérique contre Israël

Daniel Pipes

National Review Online

7 août 2012

Version originale anglaise: Spy vs. Spy, America vs. Israel

Adaptation française: Anne-Marie Delcambre de Champvert

Le fait que les Israéliens espionnent les Américains est de nouveau dans les journaux: les dirigeants de l’Etat juif viennent de faire une pétition pour la libération de Jonathan Pollard et l’Associated Press a rapporté avec inquiétude que les responsables de la sécurité nationale américaine, à certains moments, considèrent Israël comme «une menace authentique pour le contre-espionnage.» Le ton outragé adopté, le souffle presque coupé [d’indignation] laisse à penser: Comment osent-ils! Pour qui se prennent-ils?

Mais l’espionnage sur les alliés est normal, et c’est une voie à double sens. Avant de trop monter sur leurs grands chevaux, les Américains devraient se rendre compte que Washington n’est pas innocent. De Reagan à Obama, le gouvernement américain a effectué un travail massif d’espionnage contre Israël. Exemples:

Itamar Rabinovich, ambassadeur d’Israël à Washington, qui a révélé l’affaire des écoutes téléphoniques aux États-Unis.

Yosef Amit, ancien major du renseignement militaire israélien, a espionné pour le compte de la CIA pendant plusieurs années, en se concentrant sur les mouvements de troupes et les politiques envers le Liban et les Palestiniens, jusqu’à son arrestation en 1986.

Un sous-marin mystérieux dans les eaux territoriales israéliennes à 17kms 50 de Haïfa, en novembre 2004, qui a fui lorsqu’il a été découvert, s’est avéré être américain, ce qui ravive le souvenir de la mission secrète du navire USS Liberty en juin 1967.

Yossi Melman, un journaliste israélien spécialisé dans le renseignement, a trouvé que les attachés militaires américains à Tel-Aviv avaient recueilli des informations secrètes; des responsables israéliens, révèle-t-il, pensent que les services américains de renseignement ont été l’écoute des conversations entre le personnel clé en Israël et celui dans les missions étrangères. L’espionnage américain, conclut-il, a exposé des «secrets de la politique la plus cachée d’Israël.»

Une histoire officielle des services de renseignements d’Israël, publiée en 2008 a révélé (tel que rapporté par Reuters) que les agences d’espionnage américaines utilisaient l’ambassade à Tel-Aviv pour se livrer à l’espionnage électronique et former un personnel d’ambassade pour «la collecte méthodique de renseignements»

Barak Ben-Zur, un officier retraité du renseignement Shin Bet[le shabak ; agence de contre-espionnage israélienne, pour la sécurité intérieure d’Israël (NDLT)], a écrit dans ce même volume que «Les Etats-Unis ont été à l’affût des capacités non conventionnelles d’Israël et de ce qui se passe aux échelons de prise de décision. »

Un mémorandum secret de 5000 mots du 31 octobre 2008 (publié par Wikileaks), envoyé sous le nom de la Secrétaire d’Etat américaine Condoleezza Rice, a répertorié les sujets sur lesquels l’État voulait des informations. La très longue liste comprend des renseignements sur «le processus décisionnel d’Israël pour le lancement des opérations militaires et la détermination de représailles pour des attaques terroristes», «la preuve de l’implication du gouvernement d’Israël dans «l’établissement des colonies et leur croissance» en Cisjordanie; les détails sur les opérations de Forces de défense israéliennes contre le Hamas, «y compris les assassinats ciblés et les tactiques/techniques utilisées par les unités aériennes et au sol»; et toutes les choses sur les technologies d’information qui sont utilisées par «les autorités gouvernementales et militaires, les services du renseignement et de sécurité»;

La National Security Agency (l’Agence de Sécurité nationale) emploie un grand nombre de gens parlant hébreu à Fort Meade, dans les quartiers généraux du siège de Maryland, où ils écoutent pour intercepter les communications israéliennes. Les problèmes juridiques en 2009 de l’un des leurs, Shamai K. Leibowitz., au sujet de la fuite d’informations, a révélé qu’il avait traduit en hébreu des conversations à l’ambassade israélienne à Washington en anglais, confirmant parfaitement ce que révèle Rabinovich.

Les observateurs en ont tiré la conclusion évidente: «Yitzhak Rabin, deux fois Premier ministre a commenté, -pour paraphraser Caroline Glick -, qu’ «il ne se passe pas d’années qu’Israël ne découvre encore un agent américain faisant de l’espionnage contre l’Etat.» Un agent du contre -espionnage israélien note que les Américains « tentent de nous espionner tout le temps et toutes les manières possibles.» Matthieu M.Aid , l’auteur américain de la Guerre des «Intel»(2012), constate que Washington «a commencé l’espionnage sur Israël avant même que l’Etat d’Israël n’ait été officiellement fondé en 1948, et Israël a toujours espionné sur nous.»

Comme Aid le note, l’espionnage est réciproque. Il y a plus: cela a été la routine, un fait connu et accepté implicitement par les deux parties. De même ce n’est pas très inquiétant, car ces alliés ont beaucoup en commun, depuis les valeurs morales jusqu’aux ennemis idéologiques, et ils travaillent souvent en tandem. De là l’espionnage mutuel a peu de graves conséquences.

Pourquoi alors espionner? Pourquoi ne pas inviter Israël à la communauté anglophone five eyes , un groupement qui promet de ne pas s’espionner les uns des autres? Parce qu’Israël est en guerre. Comme Ben-Zur de l’agence Shin Bet le dit, «En fin de compte, les États-Unis ne veulent pas être surpris. Même par nous. » Ni, d’ailleurs, les Israéliens non plus ne veulent pas être surpris. Même par les Américains.

Donc, soyons adultes à ce sujet et calmons-nous. Espionner les Etats, même les alliés. Ce n’est pas grave.

Voir encore:

The Jonathan Pollard Spy Case: The CIA’s 1987 Damage Assessment Declassified

New Details on What Secrets Israel Asked Pollard to Steal

CIA Withholding Overturned on Appeal by National Security Archive

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 407

December 14, 2012

UPDATED January 9, 2013

Edited by Jeffrey T. Richelson

Washington, DC, December 14, 2012 – When Naval Investigative Service analyst Jonathan Pollard spied for Israel in 1984 and 1985, his Israeli handlers asked primarily for nuclear, military and technical information on the Arab states, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union – not on the United States – according to the newly-declassified CIA 1987 damage assessment of the Pollard case, published today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).

The damage assessment includes new details on the specific subjects and documents sought by Pollard’s Israeli handlers (pages 36-43), such as Syrian drones and central communications, Egyptian missile programs, and Soviet air defenses. The Israelis specifically asked for a signals intelligence manual that they needed to listen in on Soviet advisers in Syria. The document describes how Pollard’s handler, Joseph Yagur, told him to ignore a request, from Yagur’s boss, for U.S. « dirt » on senior Israeli officials and told Pollard that gathering such information would terminate the operation (page 38).

Under the heading « What the Israelis Did Not Ask For, » the assessment remarks (page 43) that they « never expressed interest in US military activities, plans, capabilities, or equipment. »

The assessment also notes that Pollard volunteered delivery of three daily intelligence summaries that had not been requested by his handlers, but which proved useful to them, and ultimately handed over roughly 1,500 such messages from the Middle East and North Africa Summary (MENAS), the Mediterranean Littoral Intelligence Summary (MELOS), and the Indian Ocean Littoral Intelligence Summary, in addition to the more than 800 compromised documents on other subjects that Pollard delivered to the Israelis in suitcases.

The damage assessment also features a detailed 21-page chronology of Pollard’s personal life and professional career, including his work for the Israelis, highlighting more than a dozen examples of unusual behavior by Pollard that the CIA suggests should have, in retrospect, alerted his supervisors that he was a security risk. Prominent on the list were false statements by Pollard during a 1980 assignment with Task Force 168, the naval intelligence element responsible for HUMINT collection. Pollard is now serving a life sentence in prison for espionage.

The CIA denied release of most of the Pollard damage assessment in 2006, claiming for example that pages 18 through 165 were classified in their entirety and not a line of those pages could be released. The Archive appealed the CIA’s decision to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, established by President Clinton in 1995 and continued by Presidents Bush and Obama. The ISCAP showed its value yet again as a check on systemic overclassification by ordering release of scores of pages from the Pollard damage assessment that were previously withheld by CIA, and published today for the first time.

Today’s posting, edited by Archive senior fellow Jeffrey T. Richelson, includes more than a dozen other declassified documents on the Pollard case, such as the Defense Intelligence Agency biographic sketch of Pollard’s initial Israeli handler, Col. Aviam Sella. Among many other books and articles, Richelson is the author of The U.S. Intelligence Community (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2011, 6th edition), which the Washington Post called « the authoritative survey of the American cloak-and-dagger establishment. »

Jonathan Pollard: Fantasist and Spy

By Jeffrey T. Richelson

Nineteen-eighty-five became known as the « Year of the Spy » in the United States after a series of arrests and one defection revealed several serious penetrations of the U.S. intelligence and defense establishments by foreign intelligence services. On November 22, Larry Wu-Tai Chin, a long-time CIA employee, was taken into custody by the FBI and accused of spying for the People’s Republic of China. Two days later, former National Security Agency employee Ronald Pelton was arrested and charged with having provided the Soviet Union with details of five signals intelligence operations. Those arrests followed the apprehension, in May, of a former member of the U.S. Navy, John A. Walker, Jr., who had started turning over highly-secret documents to the KGB in 1968. And in September, before he could be arrested, former CIA officer Edward Lee Howard absconded to Moscow.1

But no arrest was more stunning than that of Jonathan J. Pollard, a thirty-one year old analyst for the Navy’s Anti-Terrorist Alert Center (ATAC). Pollard was detained on November 21, after a futile attempt to gain access to the Washington, D.C. embassy of Israel – to one of whose intelligence services, the Scientific Liaison Bureau (LAKAM), he had been delivering a vast assortment of documents. News of Pollard’s arrest was not the first time that the issue of Israeli intelligence activities directed against U.S. targets had been in the press. That subject had been the subject of press coverage several years earlier after the CIA’s study of the organization and operations of Israel’s intelligence and security services (Document 1) had become public, after it had been recovered from the U.S. embassy in Tehran during the November 4, 1979 takeover.2

The outlines of Pollard’s personal and professional life, as well as details of the nature of the material he turned over to Israel became the subject of both newspaper and magazine reports, books, and official, sometimes heavily redacted, internal documents (Document 3, Document 13) as well as declarations prepared for the court by both the government and defense in aid of sentencing (Document 7a, Document 8a, Document 10). Both official and media reports indicated that Pollard had first expressed his willingness to provide Israel with highly-classified documents during a late May 1984 meeting with Israeli Air Force officer Aviam Sella (Document 2a, Document 2b, Document 11). Until his arrest, Pollard delivered approximately 800 documents, many of which were classified top secret or codeword. In addition, he stole an estimated 1,500 current intelligence summary messages.3

The documents provided information on PLO headquarters in Tunisia; specific capabilities of Tunisian and Libyan air defense systems; Iraqi and Syrian chemical warfare productions capabilities (including detailed satellite imagery); Soviet arms shipments to Syria and other Arab states; naval forces, port facilities, and lines of communication of various Middle Eastern and North African countries; the MiG-29 fighter; and Pakistan’s nuclear program. Also included was a U.S. assessment of Israeli military capabilities.4

Pollard’s disclosures were alarming to U.S. officials for several reasons, some of which were noted in their official declarations (Document 7a, Document 10) – some of which were direct responses (Document 9) to claims and analysis made by Pollard in his sentencing memorandums (Document 6, Document 8b). One, despite the fact that both the U.S. and Israeli considered each other legitimate intelligence targets, was Israel’s willingness to run a human penetration operation directed at the U.S. government. Another, was the damage to the intelligence sharing arrangement with Israel – since its acquisition of material from Pollard weakened the U.S. position vis-a-vis intelligence exchanges with Israel. In addition, there was no guarantee that such documents, revealing both sources and methods as well as assessments, would not find their way to the Soviet Union via a Soviet penetration of the Israeli intelligence or defense community – as had happened with a number of other allies. Further, since Israel was a target of U.S. intelligence collection – particularly technical collection – operations, the documents could be used by Israeli counterintelligence and security organizations to help Israel neutralize or degrade U.S. collection operations.

Of all the spy cases from 1985, the Pollard case has been the one that has had the longest life in terms of media coverage – in part because of efforts, both by private citizens and the Israeli government to have his life sentence commuted. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s 1993 appeal to President Bill Clinton resulted in a letter from defense secretary Les Aspin expressing his opposition and stressing three points: the requirement to maintain control over the disclosure of intelligence to foreign governments, the damage done by Pollard’s disclosures, and Pollard’s alleged inclusion of classified information in letters from prison. In 1998, in an attempt to facilitate his release, the Israeli government publically acknowledged (Document 15). Pollard’s role as an Israeli asset. And, former Director of Central Intelligence, George J. Tenet reports that the subject was raised by the Israeli government in 2006, and he threatened to resign if Pollard was released. As recently as January 2011, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked President Barack Obama, without success, to free Pollard.5

Relevant to that debate and as well as the historical record are the specifics of the Pollard’s professional career, what he compromised, and the assessment of the damage from the compromised material. While some of that information has been disclosed, either officially or unofficially, much of the official record has been redacted from released documents. The recent release of a significantly less-redacted copy of the damage assessment performed by the DCI’s Foreign Denial and Deception Analysis Committee (Document 13b) thus, even if it has no impact on views concerning Pollard’s fate, adds significantly to the historical record concerning his activities.

Among the specific items of note in the newly released assessment are an account of Pollard’s claim (p. I-18) upon his late arrival for an interview, that he spent the weekend rescuing his wife from the Irish Republican Army after they had kidnaped her. Pollard’s connection with a naval intelligence unit, Task Force-168, responsible for human intelligence activities is also among the topics discussed in the damage assessment. The committee’s report also provides new insight to exactly what information the Israelis wanted and why – as well as what information they did not want (pp. 38-46), including U.S. capabilities or plans. With regard to Syria, for example, Pollard was requested to provide documents concerning a suspected research and development facility, an electronics intelligence (ELINT) system, remotely piloted vehicles, a national command, control, and communications center in Damascus, Syrian military units with attached Soviet advisors, and medical intelligence on Syrian president Hafiz al-Assad. A common denominator for Israeli requests concerning Syria and other countries was the predominant focus on military intelligence relevant to Israeli security.

The study also describes (on p. 38) an incident involving LAKAM chief Rafi Eitan, in which he requested documents or information from Pollard on a variety of topics. According to Pollard, his case officer, standing behind Pollard, shook his head « no » in response to many of Eitan’s requests – including those for information on the PLO’s Force 17, CIA psychological studies or other intelligence containing ‘dirt’ on senior Israeli officials, as well as information identifying the « rats » in Israel (by which he apparently meant Israelis who provided information to the United States).

The study also reports (p. 60) on Israeli use of the NSA’s RASIN (Radio Signal Notation) manual, which was requested on at least two occasions, in assisting its monitoring of a communications link between the Soviet General Staff and the Soviet military assistance group in Damascus.

Voir aussi:

Don’t Free Jonathan Pollard

A man who betrayed his country is no martyr to the Jewish people.

Bret Stephens

The WSJ

March 18, 2013

There are a few things I’d like to hear Barack Obama say on his trip this week to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.

I’d like to hear him go beyond the bromides about « having Israel’s back » and « not bluffing » about Iran’s nuclear ambitions to spell out a U.S. timetable and a U.S. red line. I’d especially like to hear the president say the U.S. is not interested in a diplomatic settlement that solves the immediate nuclear crisis but allows Iran to retain and expand its nuclear-industrial base.

Keeping Iran from sprinting to a single bomb now so that it can amble toward 50 bombs once Mr. Obama is out of office is not a policy worthy of any American presidency.

I’d also like to hear the president tell Palestinians during his visit to Bethlehem that what really stands between them and a state isn’t Israel or its settlements. Israel dismantled its settlements in Sinai for the sake of peace with Egypt, and dismantled them again in Gaza in the interests of disengaging from the restive coastal strip. Most Israelis would gladly do so again for the sake of a real peace with the Palestinians.

But Israelis can have no confidence in such a peace so long as Palestinians elect Hamas to power, cheer the rocketing of Israeli cities, insist on a « right of return » to Tel Aviv and Haifa, play charades at the U.N., refuse to negotiate directly with Israel, and raise their children on a diet of anti-Semitic slurs. In his 2009 speech in Cairo, Mr. Obama spoke the truth about the Arab world’s Holocaust denial. He shouldn’t deprive his Palestinian audience of a similar dose of truth-telling, least of all in Bethlehem.

Finally, I’d like to hear Mr. Obama tell Jordan’s King Abdullah that the U.S. will back the Hashemite kingdom to the hilt.

Right now, the king is dealing with a long-running financial crisis, the influx of more than 300,000 refugees from Syria, diminishing political support from tribal sheiks, and an assertive Muslim Brotherhood that smells political blood. If the king falls, the U.S. loses an ally, the Arab world loses a moderate, Israel loses a secure border, and a contest for power erupts in which all the outcomes are bad. U.S. assistance to Jordan came to $736 million last year. It’s cheap at five times the price.

But here’s something I don’t want to hear from Mr. Obama, especially not when he’s in Israel: that he has agreed to release former Navy intelligence analyst and convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

Not that such a gesture wouldn’t go down well in Israel and with much of the U.S. Jewish community. As of this week, 175,000 Israelis have signed a petition calling for Pollard’s release. Israeli President Shimon Peres intends to raise the subject personally with Mr. Obama; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a formal request for the spy’s freedom two years ago.

Also true is that there is a humanitarian case to be made for Pollard’s release. He has now served 28 years of a life sentence, which comes to nearly half his life, and he is said to be in failing health. Compare that with the seven years served by Robert Kim, another Navy analyst who spied for another friendly country, in his case South Korea.

Yet whatever the humanitarian interest in freeing Pollard, it must be weighed against other interests, American as well as Israeli.

Regarding the Israeli interest: It does not help Israel to make a hero of a compulsive liar and braggart, fond of cocaine, who violated his oaths, spied on his country, inflicted damage that took billions of dollars to repair, accepted payment for his spying, jeopardized Israel’s relationship with its closest ally, failed to show remorse at the time of his sentencing, made himself into Exhibit A of every anti-Semitic conspiracy nut, and then had the chutzpah to call himself a martyr to the Jewish people.

Nor does Israel do itself any favors by making Pollard’s case a matter of national interest, and therefore a chip to be played against other concessions. As Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin has noted, « That a man who claimed his crime was committed to enhance the Jewish state’s security would have his freedom bought with concessions on territory or settlements that undermine the country’s ability to defend itself must be considered a bitter irony. » All the more so given that it’s right-wing Israelis who have been most outspoken on Pollard’s behalf.

Regarding the American interest: What’s inequitable about Pollard’s sentence isn’t that his is too heavy. It’s that the sentences of spies such as Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen and Robert Kim have been too light. Particularly in the age of digital downloads, WikiLeaks and self-appointed transparency crusaders, the U.S. needs to make harsh examples of those who betray its secrets. That goes especially for those who spy on behalf of friendly countries or, as Bradley Manning imagined, in the ostensible interests of humanity at large.

Nations are rightly judged by their choice of heroes. Israel has plenty of worthy heroes, yet today there’s a square in Jerusalem named for Pollard. So here’s something else I’d like Mr. Obama to do while he’s in Israel: Insist that the square be renamed. Maybe then, in a quieter hour and without regard to diplomacy or politics, can Jonathan Pollard’s fate be reconsidered in a purely humanitarian light.

Voir encore:

 A Postscript on Pollard

A spy who betrayed his country and his people is nobody’s hero.

Bret Stephens

The WSJ

March 25, 2013

What is the essence of a diseased politics? When the fringe captures and brands the center, rather than the other way around.

You can think of any number of examples of the phenomenon, from the disarmament obsessives (including the young Barack Obama) who made the Democratic Party unfit to hold the presidency throughout the second half of the Cold War, to the anti-immigration obsessives who are doing likewise to the Republican Party today.

What’s true about American politics writ large goes also for any number of political causes writ small. I was reminded of this on Monday when I was abruptly disinvited from delivering a keynote to a charitable pro-Israel organization for the sin of opposing, in my last column, the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

And that was just the icing on the blizzard of opprobrium— »scurrilous, » « unbelievable, » « arrogant and callous, » « it is anti-Semitic not to free him, » and so on—that piled into my inbox from people whose most fervent political identity is their support for Israel. One writer named Giulio Meotti went so far as to accuse me of committing not one, but two, « blood libels » against Pollard. I last heard from Mr. Meotti a few months ago when he apologized for plagiarizing from an old column of mine. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Two points need making here.

The first is a refresher course on who Pollard was and what he did. According to a recently declassified CIA damage assessment report (which Pollard supporters mistakenly claim vindicates him), he was an emotionally disturbed individual who lied to his superiors about his academic and professional qualifications, « disclosed classified information to the South African [defense] attache without authorization, » and on one occasion as a student « waved a pistol in the air and screamed that everyone was out to get him. » He also once claimed that his wife had been kidnapped by the IRA.

In short, he was a nut.

It was intelligence that was meant to help Israel, not harm the United States. But he also handed over « three daily intelligence summaries, prepared by the National Security Agency and Naval Intelligence, » amounting to some 1,500 messages in all. More damagingly, he handed over the NSA’s « Radio Signal Notation » manual, which helped Israel listen in on Soviet-Syrian radio traffic but also cost the U.S. billions of dollars to replace.

« In terms of the sheer quantity of identified intelligence stolen over a limited period, » the CIA concluded, « Pollard’s operation has few parallels among known U.S. espionage cases. »

Perhaps that—and not the preposterous suggestion that a self-confessed spy is really the victim of a vast anti-Semitic conspiracy perpetrated at the highest levels of the Reagan administration—has something to do with the severity of Pollard’s sentence.

Nor did Pollard help himself by telling Wolf Blitzer, then a reporter with the Jerusalem Post, that he was a « master spy » and that his plea bargain was a « judicial crucifixion, » thereby expressing something other than the remorse typically expected of those seeking more lenient sentences. One example of chutzpah is the child who kills his parents and then pleads for mercy as an orphan. So is the spy who boasts of his deeds, denounces his prosecutors and then demands a lighter sentence from the judge.

The second point is the way in which Pollard’s advocates have gone about defending him. Pollard can be defended as a proud hero who gave Israel intelligence vital to its security at a time when U.S. policy was insufficiently friendly. Or he can be defended as a penitent fool who has now paid a heavy price for his criminal delusions of grandeur.

If it’s the former, the best way to vindicate his heroism is to accept the price that must be paid for it. If it’s the latter, the best his defenders could do is acknowledge the damage he and his Israeli handlers did—not only to U.S. intelligence, but to Israel’s reputation as an ally and to the honor of the American-Jewish community as a whole.

That so many of Pollard’s defenders have yet to do so is probably the single greatest impediment to his release. Nor can it help Pollard’s case that he would likely get a hero’s welcome should he ever be released to Israel. A nation that cannot recognize that wantonly committing espionage against its closest ally is an enduring source of shame, not pride, is one that has some serious soul-searching to do.

Israel’s leaders get this: Pleas for Pollard’s release by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amount to an acknowledgment that he is the one paying the price for the Israeli government’s gross misjudgment.

But the people who really need to get it are the ones writing me infuriated letters and disinviting me from speeches. If they cannot admit that what Pollard did was damaging and despicable, they are lending a patina of credibility to some of the worst anti-Semitic canards. It’s one thing for a rogue agent to betray U.S. secrets; it’s another for a legion of defenders to rise up to justify his espionage.

The case for Israel in the U.S. has always rested on the fact that the values and interests of the two countries are compatible even if they are not identical. But that is true only so long as Israel and its advocates labor to maintain that compatibility. It is harder to think of a more efficient way to undo those labors than to defend the likes of Jonathan Pollard, the man who betrayed both his country and his people.

Voir enfin:

Pentagon Analyst Gets 12 Years for Disclosing Data

David Johnston

The NYT

January 20, 2006

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 – A federal judge sentenced a former Defense Department analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, to more than 12 years in prison today after Mr. Franklin admitted passing classified military information to two pro-Israel lobbyists and an Israeli diplomat.

The sentence meted out to Mr. Franklin, 59, by Judge T. S. Ellis III in Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., was at the low end of the federal sentencing guidelines. Judge Ellis said at the hearing that he believed Mr. Franklin was motivated by a desire to help the United States, not to damage it.

Mr. Franklin’s sentence, which included a fine of $10,000, was the first victory for the government in a case in which prosecutors have also indicted the two lobbyists with whom he shared classified information. The charges against Mr. Franklin and the two lobbyists are offenses under the Espionage Act, but none of the men have been accused of spying.

The lobbyists, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, were senior staff members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, a pro-Israel lobbying organization with close relationships to officials in the Bush administration.

The case is unusual because of the charges against the lobbyists, who did not hold security clearances, were not government employees or representatives of a foreign government. They operated in a small circle of lobbyists who have commonly traded gossip and inside information with administration officials, Congressional aides and journalists.

Before his sentencing, Mr. Franklin pleaded guilty to three felony counts for improperly retaining and disclosing classified information in exchange for his cooperation and the government’s willingness to drop three other charges against him. He will not have to begin serving his sentence until after the completion of legal proceedings against Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman, who are scheduled to go on trial in April. That could lead prosecutors to agree to seek a reduction in Mr. Franklin’s sentence, government official said.

Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman were charged in an indictment in August 2005 with conspiring to gather and disclose classified national security information to journalists and an unnamed foreign power that government officials identified as Israel. Aipac dismissed the two men in April 2005.

The indictment said the two men had disclosed classified information about a number of subjects, including American policy in Iran, terrorism in central Asia, Al Qaeda and the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers apartment in Saudi Arabia, which killed 23 Americans, mainly members of the military. Lawyers for the two men have sought to have the indictment against them dismissed.

As Aipac’s director of foreign policy issues, Mr. Rosen was a well-known figure in Washington who helped the organization define its lobbying agenda on the Middle East and forged important relationships with powerful conservatives in the Bush administration. Mr. Weissman was a senior Middle East analyst. Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman have denied any wrongdoing.

Mr. Franklin, who was regarded as an Iran expert, was among Bush administration conservatives who had pushed for an aggressive policy towards Iran, including a more confrontational approach to restrain its nuclear program.

Mr. Franklin worked at the Pentagon for a time under Douglas Feith, a former undersecretary at the agency. Mr. Franklin has said he developed a relationship with the two lobbyists in the belief that they had access to officials a the National Security Council and could communicate his views to senior officials there.

In addition to his meetings with the lobbyists, the government charged, Mr. Franklin also met with an Israeli embassy official and passed on secret military information about weapons tests in the Middle East and military activities in Iraq. He contended that the information was already known to the Israelis and that he obtained far more information than he gave away.

One Response to Espionnage: Pourquoi Jonathan Pollard n’est pas près d’être libéré (Has money-hungry Pollard been paying for the Mossad’s overgreediness?)

  1. […] démagogie de M. Hulot lui-même après 28 ans, la communauté du renseignement américain n’est pas prête d’accepter de gaité de coeur l’élargissement […]

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