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Capturing Jonathan Pollard: How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice

34 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1591146520
ISBN-10: 1591146526
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About the Author

Ronald J. Olive spent thirty years in law enforcement, including twenty-two with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), mostly in counterintelligence. Since his retirement in 1999, he has run his own consulting and confidential investigations company near Phoenix, Arizona.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 299 pages
  • Publisher: US Naval Institute Press (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591146526
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591146520
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,302,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I spent thirty years in law enforcement, the last twenty-two with the NCIS-The Naval Criminal Investigative Service. As the assistant special agent in charge of counterintelligence I personally led the Jonathan Pollard espionage investigation and garnered his confession to spying for the Israeli government against the United States.
In October 2006, when the first edition of Capturing Jonathan Pollard was released, I found myself in an environment never before experienced. I first presented the story of the Pollard case to a sold-out crowd at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., with C-Span Book TV in one dark corner and Israeli TV in another. Many favorable book reviews followed. I kept seeing quotes like "A chilling "true" spy thriller "- "A story of intrigue and espionage" but the superlative surprise came when the Israeli Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz newspapers published substantial reviews. Although not overly enthusiastic, they proved fair and balanced. One reviewer even recommended that supporters of Pollard should read my book.
The true Pollard story is an extreme example of a counterintelligence failure where mistaken assumptions and leadership failures enabled Pollard to ransack America's defense intelligence long after he should have been fired.
When I present the Pollard case to organizations today, my focus is on how and why this espionage disaster occurred and how it could have been prevented. As the saying goes, "If we don't learn from our past we're doomed to repeat it." The Pollard case is indeed a textbook example of what can happen within our government and corporate America when management and security fail to follow their own policies. The prelude to potential loss of classified and proprietary information begins when rules, regulations, and procedures are misinterpreted, misunderstood, manipulated, circumvented, bent, or simply ignored. Failure of leadership at all levels to take corrective action against employees who are problematic or show signs of potential security risk increase the chance for loss of sensitive information. Finally, employees who become complacent and fail to report security violations or suspicious activity in the workplace can ultimately lead to a total breakdown of national, organizational, and corporate security, unlocking the vault for "Insider Betrayal."
But out of tragedy come lessons. In addition to presenting a behind-the-scenes account, my goal is to provide vital insight into how Pollard's espionage activities could have been prevented. I will consider my effort in writing this book worthwhile if it raises awareness about the need for vigilance on the part of those entrusted with protecting the national defense secrets of the United States.
I own and operate my own company, Consulting and Confidential Investigations Int'l LLC, near Phoenix, Arizona. I enjoy telling the Pollard story and engaging large audiences. People everywhere tell me "truth is stranger than fiction" and walk away in astonishment at how Pollard actually took, and subsequently sold to Israel - more than one million pages of classified material - would fill a six-by-ten-foot room with the stacks rising six feet high.
I also teach part time for the Department of Energy Counterintelligence Training Academy, and work as a retired law enforcement consultant with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, "Team Adam-Missing Child Rapid Response System." In my spare time I enjoy training my horse and my wife and I enjoy trail riding in the mountains.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 107 people found the following review helpful By maskirovka VINE VOICE on September 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Some people like to call Jonathan Pollard "America's Dreyfus." Pollard's own supporters tried to get the Israeli government to accord him "prisoner of Zion" status (i.e. formal designation as someone suffering persecution for Zionist activities).

If you read Olive's recounting of Pollard's sordid little life and his sordid betrayal of the US, you will quickly see that he is neither. Dreyfus was an innocent man framed as a traitor by anti-semites in France. Prisoners of Zion are people like Natan Scharansky and others in the Soviet Union who suffered imprisonment and worse for expressing their Jewish identity and a desire to emigrate.

What Olive's book shows Pollard to be is something much less heroic, namely a grubby little man who deliberately and willfully betrayed over a million pages of top secret and secret documents to a foreign power.

Now, the refrain to this is "Israel is a US ally." Olive's response (and mine) is that it doesn't matter. The specific laws that Pollard broke don't prohibit conveying classified information to US enemies. No, the laws prohibit conveying classified information to any foreign power.

Israel is a foreign power, and believe it or not, sometimes its interests differ from those of the US. Therefore, Pollard, a lowly GS-12, had no right to do what he did.

Also, people shouldn't be fooled by Pollard's representation of himself as an Israeli patriot. Olive shows that Pollard approached four other nations and offered classified information to them. One of them was Pakistan! But it was the Israelis that took Pollard up on his offer. But I have no doubt that if the Pakistanis or South Africans had taken him up on his offers and the money had been right, Pollard would have been working for them instead of Israel.

I really do believe that before anyone becomes emotionally vested in the "plight" of "America's Dreyfus," they would do well to read Olive's book.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth P. Albertson on December 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This case has become politically charged more than any other spy case on record. As a result, there is a flood of misinformation, primarily on the internet, which attempts to obscure the facts of the case. Mr Olive, by virtue of his role as investigator into the matter is in a unique position to separate the actual facts from the spin, which came later. I have had an interest in this case and have followed it since it came to public attention. Mr Olive's book is the first objective account (from the governments viewpoint) that I have seen, and I found it to be an intresting account that tallied with what facts I had learned previously from multiple sources.

Pollards behaviour was bizarre at times, to say the least, and should have gotten him "weeded out" several times in the course of his career as a spy. The lesson here, of lax "vetting" and even more lax physical security, seems to be repeating itself lately at the White Sands complex, with uncontrolled access and highly classified material finding its way out the door. I hope that this book will find an audience that will not be dissuaded by "spinmeisters" attempting to turn a well paid spy into a self-sacrificing hero.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Ralph G. Watermeier on March 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Luck had nothing to do with it". How many times have we heard that statement? In the case of Jonathan Pollard,luck had EVERYTHING to do with it. Having spent 12 years in Army counterintelligence, and almost 30 years in the security field myself, I was amazed at how often luck favored him. Eventually, Pollard's luck ran out. The story of his downfall, as told by the man who was there, is a fascinating tale of how the true counterspy does his job. In spite of its length, this is a fast, compelling read; lucidly written. The interactions among the various agencies involved, including the FBI, US Navy, and the CIA, were fascinating to follow, and allowed the reader to begin to understand the mind-set of those agencies. A word of warning, however; do not start this book late in the evening, because you will not want to put it down until you finish.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne on February 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A fast paced, well written book by an author who personally interacted with Pollard and who was intimately involved in the investigation.

Olive was the NCIS agent at the heart of the Pollard investigation and for the first time exposes decade old myths about this notorious spy case. Olive provides a candid, and sad but true account, of how Pollard was able to walk off with 360 cubic feet (1 million pages) of classified documents. He sold them over to Israel-a foreign government.

Olive articulates how blatant Pollard was at stealing our nation's top secrets, and how his strange and bizarre behaviors were ignored from the beginning. It tells how he manipulated the system time and time again and how our intelligence agencies were ransacked. He exposes how the navy and the intelligence community, in trying to give a guy the "benefit of the doubt" and in some cases "another chance" made bad decisions and overlooked things that "just weren't right." Pollard should have been fired long before he became a spy and should never have gone down in the history books.

In his first book, Ronald Olive takes us deep inside the espionage investigation where "Murphy's Law" was always one step ahead and the confession he eventually garnered. He tells of how Anne and Pollard fell in love, what her involvement was, and how her actions-at the end of this spy game-expedited their arrest. A story that some might say is "stranger than fiction." Sad as this tale is we can learn from the lessons it teaches us and should be mandatory reading-especially for law enforcement agencies.

Revealed in the epilogue is most unbelievable and another revelation to me and a scary one, is how Pollard himself, through the years has manipulated the intelligence community and the media (and still is) into believing he is a sufferer for a cause-an Israeli patriot. This is simply not the case. Jonathan Pollard is a traitor to his country and is right where he belongs.
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