Former U.S. naval intelligence clerk Jonathan Pollard speaks during an interview, May 15, 1998. — Photo by AP

WASHINGTON: One of the major tasks of Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli spy in the United States, was to collect information about Pakistan’s nuclear programme, according to a document released this week.

In 1984 and 1985, Mr Pollard passed on to his Israeli handlers several sets of official US documents about the Kahuta plant.

Mr Pollard, although an American citizen, spied for Israel while working for the US Navy’s intelligence service. In 1987, he was sentenced to life in prison for spying but can be released on parole on Nov 21, 2015.

Last week the CIA released a classified document — “The Jonathan Jay Pollard Espionage Case: A Damage Assessment” — it had prepared on Oct 30, 1987.

The document, declassified on an appeal by the George Washington University’s National Security Archive project, contains previously classified information about Mr Pollard’s activities as an Israeli mole in the US intelligence system. The archive is a non-profit organisation working to reduce secrecy in the US government.

In a testimony to the trial court, former US defence secretary Caspar Weinberger said the documents Mr Pollard provided to the Israelis could fill a 6’x6’x10’ space.

The CIA document showed that Mr Pollard focused on “Arab (and Pakistani) nuclear intelligence; Arab exotic weaponry, including chemical weapons; Soviet aircraft; Soviet air defences; Soviet air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles; and Arab order-of-battle, deployments, readiness”.

In a section titled “Implications of Compromises — What Israel Gained from Pollard’s Espionage”, the document reveals that “Mr Pollard’s stolen material, from the Israeli perspective, provided significant benefits [redacted] …. Page 59, [redacted] Pollard’s deliveries concerning PLO headquarters near Tunis, Tunisian and Libyan air defences, and Pakistan’s plutonium reprocessing facility near Islamabad”.

Israel used this information to attack the PLO headquarters in Tunis in Oct 1985.

There are 10 references to Pakistan and its nuclear facilities in the document but details have been erased from the copy posted on the archive’s website.

At one place, the CIA says that “political and economic intelligence was deemed less valuable than military and technical material” about all Middle Eastern countries, which one of Mr Pollard’s handlers, Yagur, defined as “ranging from Morocco to Pakistan and from Lebanon to Yemen.”

Some pages also contained information about the Afghan war and Pakistan’s role in that war.

Although the CIA document does not reveal what the Americans knew about Pakistan’s nuclear programme, other recently declassified documents, posted on the same website do.

The records show that by 1980s the Americans knew that Pakistan had a fairly advanced nuclear programme, but Islamabad’s support for the US-led war against the Soviets in Afghanistan prevented them from taking any major action against the Pakistanis.

In July 1982, the Reagan administration sent former CIA deputy director Gen Vernon Walters to meet Gen Muhammad Ziaul Haq with US intelligence reports about “an upswing of clandestine Pakistani efforts” to procure nuclear weapons. Confronted with the evidence, Gen Zia acknowledged that the information “must be true”, but restated earlier promises not to develop a nuclear weapon and made pledges to avoid specific nuclear “firebreaks”.

In 1986, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency director Kenneth Adelman also warned the White House that Pakistan was secretly enhancing its nuclear capability, but “top levels of the US government let relations with a friendly government supersede non-proliferation goals as long as there was no public controversy”.

One document claims that the Reagan administration did not even want the Pakistanis to share their secrets with them because they “feared that … the ‘truth’ would have made it impossible for them to certify to Congress that Pakistan was not developing nuclear weapons”.

And on that certification “rode the continued flow of aid to assist the Afghanistan resistance,” the document adds.

The records suggest that “lack of trust and confidence was an important element in the US-Pakistan relationship, as it is today”.

By the early summer of 1981, State Department intelligence estimated that the Pakistanis were “probably capable of producing a workable device at this time,” although the Kahuta enrichment plant was unlikely to produce enough fissile material for a test until 1983.

But in December 1982, Secretary of State George Shultz warned President Reagan of the “overwhelming evidence that Gen Zia has been breaking his assurances” of not making a nuclear weapon.

In the spring of 1987, senior State Department officials wrote that Pakistani nuclear development activities were proceeding apace and that General Zia was approaching a “threshold which he cannot cross without blatantly violating his pledge not to embarrass the President”.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (38)

December 19, 2012 6:20 pm
We need all that but first and foremost we need better quality of life for our people?... Have we achieved that through Nuclear bomb. ....... NO We have not
Jamshed Khan
December 20, 2012 7:59 am
What is the point of your comment?
December 19, 2012 3:05 pm
I thought Israel controlled the USA -- someone please explain why Jonathan Pollard is still in jail?
December 20, 2012 4:15 am
When enemy is faceless and when enemy conceals behind prominent faces - that is the name of the game being played in Pakistan. I have said over and over that Pakistan is in grave danger, not from the standpoint of physical breach of her borders at this point; however, the attack from within has more devastating and destructive. And that intelligence attack is being carried out by the enemies with great success - meaning mission being accomplished for them.
Imran Kakakhel
December 19, 2012 6:03 am
very impressive information, but we need more like this in our current situation
December 20, 2012 3:50 am
Just to prove those liberals a point who think Israel is not Pakistan's enemy.
December 19, 2012 8:37 am
no comment !
December 19, 2012 1:19 pm
Like in Balochistan and Waziristan?
December 19, 2012 1:20 pm
yes. we have the right to defend ourselves. we need energy and electricity. we need development.
Jamshed Khan
December 20, 2012 7:58 am
Pakistanis are eating grass for other reasons, not because ZAB said so, or because we have the nukes.
December 20, 2012 8:13 am
I don't understand why are you writing Mr. Pollard every where in this article? why so much respect?
December 19, 2012 11:39 pm
What benefit will Nuclear Weapons bring for the poverty stricken masses of Pakistan? Only one of three countries in the world still having polio; a plummeting economy; a burgeoning population that is out of control and no Health care to speak of; no education, and no future. Someone should explain to me why we should be proud to own Nuclear bombs??
Mohammad Arif
December 20, 2012 8:09 am
For that vote to Imran Khan, vote to PTI and get rid of the rest. Insha Allah your dreams will be fulfilled.
December 19, 2012 5:28 pm
Pakistan look after its interests?! it could not look after the Eastern wing of its country ....
December 20, 2012 3:40 am
One can understand the American administration ways of dealing when their interests are involved. The US aministration can look the other way when their interests are involved and thats how we developed our nukes. This thing we couldnt use to our advantage when osama was hiding in afghanistan. Our spy masters couldnt realise the aftermath , if so called al qaeeda strikes in US. If we could have facilitated US oil company to get oil and gas from turkmenistan, thru afghanstan, we would have been in a much better position. We blew up that chance and now we are facing the wrath of the modern world and are termed as most dangerous country of the world.
December 19, 2012 5:43 pm
Pakistan's vital interests have been damaged by jehadi groups like Taliban, LeJ, etc.
December 20, 2012 12:47 am
Whats the point of this article. Can't U folks write something purposeful
December 20, 2012 7:27 am
Yes we can see the development in Pakistan - It has become topmost country with respect to....errr...!!
Anwar Saadat Karak
December 19, 2012 1:48 pm
Becoming a nuclear power is a great achievement, no doubt, but curtailing the rapid corruption is far more greatest success.I fear that even the nuclear Pakistant will be disintegrated in the presence of corrupt and unscrupulous politicians.
Sardar Asghar Nadeem Jootah
December 20, 2012 5:46 am
Pakistan did what was important for his national interest & we should carry on what is important for us. we should focus on having law abiding society, equal justice for all, correction free decision making team in government & private organizations.
December 19, 2012 7:09 pm
and that was our this year's nobel prize nominee!
M. Asghar
December 19, 2012 11:13 am
Like everybody, Pakistan has looked/will look after its vital interests.
Goga Nalaik
December 19, 2012 3:04 pm
Nothing new in this article. In today's world, it is called 'industrial espionage'. I would like to read about Israel's nuclear production. It is well known in Europe but nobody dares talk about ...
December 19, 2012 2:05 pm
feels, like i am reading an article written by Zaid Hamid, heard him saying this many times before. how far a conspiracy can go???
December 19, 2012 2:14 pm
Taliban are anti-Pakistan and work in favor of anti-Pakistan forces
umair khan
December 19, 2012 4:13 pm
From where ttp gets support?
December 19, 2012 7:38 pm
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said in the UN,"Ham Ghass khayenge per Nuclear Bumb banayenge." We will eat grass but will have the Nuclear Bomb. Well, Give it to Zulfikar. He was prophetic. Pakistan has the bomb and the Pakistanis are eating grass paying the price of having the bomb.
December 19, 2012 12:06 pm
no no its a conspiracy theory! what has israel and US have to do with pakistan. they dont run operations in this country. its the taliban! the taliban !
December 19, 2012 3:36 pm
Can you please explain in detail, what are the interests of Pakistan anyway ? and what was achieved with the nuclear weapons ?? and how it made your country safe and better place after getting these weapons ??
December 19, 2012 8:09 pm
Just imagine the progress the wold can make, if there was no military and no need for weapons! So much money, all spent on the betterment of people, eradicate diseases, reduce death rates, investments in R&D, space programs.. the possibilities are endless. Yet, we choose to build politics around nukes, spying on each other and take pride in how much destruction power we have. Our priorities are so wrong...
December 19, 2012 8:03 pm
well taliban wasnt against any pakistani until the americans invaded afghanistan
December 19, 2012 2:18 pm
Whats the real point of this article at this point? Who cares how Israel got hold of information about our nukes?
December 19, 2012 8:52 pm
Don't only blame politicians for every thing ordinary people are equally to be blamed...for corruption, law and order etc. etc.
December 21, 2012 1:54 pm
DrTK, You wouldn't have existed as your enemy always wanted you to destroy. That's the point. Unfortunately we cant say that we'll defend ourselved when we are rich and educated. It has to be done 'before'.
December 21, 2012 11:57 pm
You may hate the jews as much as you like, but do not forget they are very educated,clever ,talented and rich people. They also love their country too much. Spending twenty years in jail to help their country is nothing to a jewish man. And yes,they control the world,not only America.
December 22, 2012 1:10 pm
you should be proud to be free and alive
December 22, 2012 1:15 pm
December 22, 2012 1:16 pm
Ask your politicians why?
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