Government says convicted spy's information still top secret

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2015 6:26 PM
Government says convicted spy's information still top secret

NEW YORK (AP) — Most of the information convicted spy Jonathan Pollard had and passed along to Israel 30 years ago remains top secret and could gravely harm national security, a federal lawyer said Monday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Tinio spoke after U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan cast doubt on the reasonableness of strict parole conditions for Pollard if no one believes the former naval intelligence officer still possesses classified information.

The judge said she will require the U.S. Parole Commission to better state its reasons for parole conditions before ruling on a defense request to relax them. Pollard was released from prison last month.

"The majority of the information that Mr. Pollard had and passed along 30 years ago, your honor, remains classified," Tinio said.

She said the Justice Department's National Security Division told her that his classified information would be labeled top secret, meaning it could be expected to cause "exceptionally grave damage to national security" if it was released.

The judge is considering Pollard's lawyers' request to relax conditions including monitoring of his computers and his whereabouts, along with a curfew.

The lawyers said in court papers that Pollard's information is no longer valuable and onerous parole conditions — particularly the monitoring of his computer use at work — would hamper the 61-year-old Stanford University graduate's job prospects.

They cited declarations in which former U.S. National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane and former Senate Intelligence Committee member Dennis DeConcini say information Pollard once possessed is of no value to anyone today.

The lawyers said Pollard has an offer pending to work as an analyst in the finance department of an investment firm.

Tinio acknowledged that the government had made no mention in court papers before the hearing that it believed most of the information Pollard possessed three decades ago remained top secret.

She also said the government was willing to continue negotiations over parole conditions.

Forrest said some parole conditions Pollard has agreed to will remain in place, such as a requirement that there be prepublication review of any book he might write.

In June 1986, Pollard pleaded guilty to conspiring to deliver national defense information to a foreign government.

Prosecutors had accused him of giving secrets to Israeli agents from June 1984 through November 1985 after removing large amounts of highly secretive classified information from his office when he was an Intelligence Research Specialist in the U.S. Navy.