Agen­cies missed red flags in Pol­lard spy case; of­fi­cer warns of re­peat er­ror

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Shaun Water­man

The Navy coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer who gar­nered a con­fes­sion from Is­raeli spy Jonathan Pol­lard says U.S. agen­cies missed a for­est of red flags about him and risk re­peat­ing the mis­takes they made more than 20 years ago.

Ron Olive, the in­ves­ti­ga­tor who de­briefed Pol­lard in 1985, said in a new book that “the warn­ing indicators and the prob­lems were clear from the be­gin­ning of [Pol­lard’s] ca­reer” and even be­fore, and that his bizarre be­hav­ior should have pre­vented him from work­ing for the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

“It’s a wake-up call to U.S. intelligence to­day,” he said in an in­ter­view about his ac­count: “Cap­tur­ing Jonathan Pol­lard,” pub­lished by the Naval In­sti­tute Press.

The book dis­closes what Mr. Olive said are fresh de­tails about the sen­sa­tional spy case and in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which even­tu­ally re­vealed that Pol­lard passed 36,000 cu­bic feet of “the most clas­si­fied intelligence ma­te­rial the United States pos­sesses” to his Is­raeli han­dlers.

Among the red flags that in­ves­ti­ga­tors missed when Pol­lard was be­ing con­sid­ered for a top-se­cret clear­ance from the Navy was his re­jec­tion by the CIA, where Pol­lard had ap­plied for work in 1978.

Pol­lard told a CIA poly­graph ex­am­iner that he had used mar­i­juana 600 times and told nine for­eign na­tion­als that he was go­ing to work for the agency. “Not sur­pris­ingly, he didn’t get the job,” Mr. Olive said.

When De­fense De­part­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tors asked the CIA whether they had any record of Pol­lard, they were told no.

“If they had told [back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tors] that Pol­lard wasn’t hired be­cause of drug use, he would never have been in the his­tory books,” Mr. Olive said, adding that “it was CIA pol­icy at the time” not to dis­close the re­sults of pre­em­ploy­ment poly­graph tests to other U.S. agen­cies. He said the pol­icy was based on a mis­un­der­stand­ing of fed­eral pri­vacy law.

Af­ter Pol­lard’s guilty plea, Mr. Olive said, the CIA agreed to change the pol­icy and share that kind of in­for­ma­tion dur­ing back­ground checks.

Mr. Olive also faulted the back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tors from the Pen­tagon’s De­fense In­ves­tiga­tive Ser­vice for not both­er­ing to check whether Pol­lard had a mas­ter’s de­gree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplo­macy at Tufts Univer­sity in Bos­ton, as he claimed. In fact, Pol­lard had dropped out and never com­pleted the de­gree.

“If they had talked to one or two of his room­mates” from Stam­ford Univer­sity, where he got his first de­gree, said Mr. Olive, they would have come across ac­counts of his bizarre be­hav­ior.

Mr. Pol­lard told ac­quain­tances at Stam­ford that he worked for the Is­raeli intelligence ser­vice Mos­sad and had been made a colonel in an elite Is­raeli army unit, Mr. Olive said.

He added that on one oc­ca­sion, Pol­lard had run through the cor­ri­dors of a univer­sity build­ing wav­ing a firearm, shout­ing, “Ev­ery­one’s out to get me.”

Mr. Olive said he fears a rep­e­ti­tion of that kind of mis­take is al­most in­evitable, given the huge num­bers of peo­ple be­ing re­cruited to fight the war on ter­ror­ism.


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