Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Jonathan Jay Pollard Spy Case

Cloak & Dagger Desk Man

Pollard was soon spying on a regular basis for Israel. He leaked thousands of pages of highly sensitive documents to the Israelis. He was a most valuable and efficient spy for, as Carl Tashian wrote, "no one has stolen so much classified information so quickly." Many in Israeli intelligence, who knew of Pollard's work but not his real name, dubbed him "The Hunting Horse." In Elliot Goldenberg's book of the same title, he says that "'Hunting Horse' is a transliteration from the Hebrew, and loosely means he would 'hunt' up information on request and that he was a 'horse' for his handlers; an exceptional agent on whose back his handlers [could] ride up the promotional ladder."

At one of their meetings, Sella raised the issue of payment. Jay replied that he had no interest in it. He was motivated solely by his love for Israel. However, Avi insisted that Israel wanted to compensate the agent who was so productive for them.

This was a standard move in the world of espionage, as Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman noted in Every Spy a Prince, their history of Israel's intelligence operations. As they wrote, "The spy who tells his controllers he is acting voluntarily, out of ideological affection for the country he is helping or disgruntled hatred of the nation he is betraying can easily be overcome by fear or change his mind. Being a volunteer, he feels he can withdraw at any time." By contrast, "A paid agent cannot. He feels obliged to deliver, and in the background lies the threat of blackmail. The recruiters could always get the agent in trouble with documentary proof of money handed over. By establishing this implied contract, the employer can feel certain of having hired a loyal agent."

On one occasion, Pollard delivered some documents to a suburban home in a Washington suburb. As they were chatting, Sella informed Jay that he would have to travel abroad to meet someone called "the old man." The Israelis would pay for Jay to fly to Paris where details of his payment would be worked out. Sella also suggested a way for Pollard to explain his new riches. The trip to the City of Light would be an engagement gift to Jay and Anne from Jay's fictitious "Uncle Joe Fisher."

Paris skyline (AP)
Paris skyline (AP)

Anne and Jay were in Paris in November 1984. Contrary to Sella's repeated instructions, Pollard had always told Anne Henderson of everything he was doing. They were an extremely close couple and Jay could not keep secrets from her.

In Paris, Jay was introduced to "the old man," who turned out to be Rafael "Rafi" Eitan, head of LAKAM. Eitan was a well-known and seasoned spy who had been involved in the Israeli abduction of the infamous Nazi Adolf Eichmann. Eitan was one of the three men who physically tackled Eichmann and hustled him into a waiting car. Eitan was respected for his extensive knowledge in the ways of espionage but was regarded as something of a social klutz. He was nicknamed "Rafi the Stinker," a name that attached to him in the army, supposedly because he gave off a bad odor from failing to change his socks often enough.

Eitan, together with Sella and Yagur, gave detailed instructions to Pollard about the classified data that they wanted him to obtain. They also discussed payments to Jay. The spy would receive a salary of $1,500 per month. Other gifts would follow, including reimbursements for Pollard's trips and an expensive diamond and sapphire ring that ended up on Anne's finger as her engagement ring.

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