Thursday, January 26, 2012

MENL: U.S. Used Intel To Pressure Israel

MENL: U.S. Used Intel To Pressure Israel
MENL: U.S. Used Intel To Pressure Israel
Middle East Newsline - January 25, 2012,24911-U-S-Used-Intel-To-Pressure-Israe.aspx

WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The United States was said to have used its
intelligence community to pressure Israel.

A leading former U.S. senator said Washington has employed intelligence as
a lever for concessions from Israel. Former Senate Intelligence Committee
chairman Dennis DeConcini cited a victim impact statement in the case of
former U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard, sentenced to life in 1986 for
relaying classified information to Israel.

"In short, Mr. Pollard's activities have adversely affected U.S. relations
with both its Middle East Arab allies and the government of Israel," the
impact statement quoted by DeConcini said.

The former Senate committee chairman said Pollard upset the balance of
power between Jerusalem and the Arab world. The statement by prosecutors,
who at one point agreed to a 10-year sentence, said Pollard's transfer of
intelligence denied Washington the option of pressuring the Jewish state.

"In summary, the [victim impact] statement said Pollard gave Israel U.S.
information on the weaponry of the Arab countries and this information
deprived the U.S. of its bargaining leverage with Israel on
intelligence-sharing and assisted Israel in its balance of power with the
Arab countries," DeConcini wrote in a column in the U.S. newspaper Arizona
Republic on Jan. 22.

DeConcini, one of the few to review the classified material on Pollard,
has been calling for the latter's release since 1995. He said numerous
former members of Congress as well as senior officials have also concluded
that Pollard should be released.

The victim impact statement quoted by DeConcini was the first disclosure
of how Washington viewed its intelligence exchange with Israel. Israeli
officials have long complained of being short-changed in the amount of
intelligence released by Washington in exchange for Israeli information on
Middle East and other countries, including Iraq and Iran.

"It is a fact that Israel provides far more intelligence to the United
States than it receives," a former Israeli official said.

In 2011, former members of Congress and the intelligence community have
called for Pollard's release. They included former CIA director James
Woolsey, former Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann and former White
House counsel Bernard Nussbaum, all of whom were given access to the
classified material on Pollard.

So far, President Barack Obama has not replied to both the former
officials as well as Israel, which publicly apologized for the Pollard case.
In 2011, Obama told a Jewish donor to the Democratic Party that he was being
pestered to release Pollard. In late 2011, Vice President Joseph Biden met
Jewish leaders in the highest-level discussion of Pollard's fate.

"It is obvious that across the Jewish community there is widespread
support for Pollard's release, and this view is shared by major American
figures from both sides of the political aisle," DeConcini said. "Netanyahu
asked for Pollard's release from prison. So far this request has gone