Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Jonathan Jay Pollard Spy Case

The Near Escape

The driver floored the accelerator of the five-year-old green Mustang. The overweight man, sporting aviator-style eyeglasses below a receding hairline, was in a gut wrenching, dry-mouthed, sweaty-palmed, and heart pounding panic. His attractive redheaded wife sat in the passenger seats, holding Dusty, the family cat, on her lap. Having just undergone an operation, she was in physical discomfort and mentally groggy. Her mind was clear enough, however, to be afraid. The woman had in her possession a variety of important papers, including birth and marriage certificates and the vaccination records for the cat, that the couple would need in starting the new life that they hoped against hope that they were speeding toward.

Israeli flag (AP)
Israeli flag (AP)

The couple was driving to the Israeli embassy in Washington, D. C., believing that they would be given refuge there. When they got within sight of the light beige brick building, they saw its flag, made up of a crisp blue Star of David on a background of purest white, flying proud and high. That flag seemed to beckon them to safety and freedom.

The man was named Jonathan Jay Pollard. Family and friends always called him "Jay." The woman was his wife, Anne Henderson-Pollard. Both were terrified that they would soon be arrested on charges of espionage unless they could get to the Israeli embassy in time.

The gate of the embassy opened up for the car in front of the Mustang and Pollard zoomed in right behind it. He and Anne breathed a sigh of relief. They had made it!

"The FBI is on to me, I need help," Jay Pollard, 31, told an Israeli security guard.

Guards left to confer with their superiors. They came back to the Pollards with surprising and distressing news. The security officers informed the American couple that they could not stay at the embassy. They must leave immediately.

Terrified and flustered, Jay Pollard tried to explain. There had to be some kind of mistake. After all, those at the embassy enjoyed diplomatic immunity and could not be arrested for helping him. Surely they would aid one of their best agents.

"Do you know what I have done for Israel?" he asked and pled at the same time. "I'm an Israeli agent."

"Get out," he was told again.

"I want to invoke my right under the Law of Return to Israeli citizenship!" he cried. "We're Jews. We're on Israeli territory. You can't throw us out."

"Get out!" the guard shouted.

Jay Pollard was frantic. His voice broke and he burst into tears as he begged, "Please, you can't do this."

Repeatedly, Jay and Anne were told the same message and it was as implacable as it was unwelcome: "GET OUT!"

Finally the anguished Pollard turned the car around and drove it out of the embassy but that was as far as the the couple got. Cars and vans carrying FBI agents surrounded the embassy. As soon as Jay got out of his car, he was arrested on charges of spying, handcuffed, and told his Miranda rights. The contents of the green Mustang were impounded as evidence.

Anne was allowed to go home with Dusty. The next day, Anne too, was arrested.


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