Israeli Military Promotes Recruiter of US Spy Pollard – After 34 Years
Aviem Sella, an Israeli Air Force officer and fighter pilot who, while studying at Columbia University, recruited US naval intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard to spy for Israel, was finally given the promotion he was promised 34 years ago. As the FBI closed in on Pollard in 1985, Sella fled the US and returned to Israel. When US investigators learned of his involvement in the affair, they requested that he be extradited for questioning, which Israel refused to do. He was later indicted in absentia on three counts of espionage – a charge that could have landed him in an American prison for the rest of his life. Instead, he was offered to command Israel’s Tel Nof air force base – a plum job that comes with the rank of brigadier general. The Americans let it be known that they were not happy and he was forced to turn down the position. In January of this year, on then-US President Donald Trump’s last day in office, he granted Sella clemency. “The State of Israel has issued a full and unequivocal apology, and has requested the pardon in order to close this unfortunate chapter in US-Israel relations,” the White House announced as Trump packed his bags and boarded Marine One. And today, Sella – now 75 years old and long since retired from the military – was finally awarded the rank of brigadier general that he was promised all those years ago.