Classified information allegedly given Israel by accused spy Jonathan Jay Pollard consisted in part of technical assessments of radar and other electronic equipment used by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and possibly Jordan to monitor Middle East military activities, foreign diplomatic sources said yesterday.
In addition, they said, Pollard allegedly supplied material about the ability of U.S. vessels and planes in the Mediterranean Sea to track Arab and Israeli military activity.
The sources said Pollard also allegedly may have passed assessments of the capabilities of Soviet weaponry, and possibly American equipment, used by the armed forces of various Arab countries.
Among the documents Pollard has told the FBI that he sold to the Israelis are reports on U.S. weapons systems and military capabilities as well as details of weapons systems of unnamed foreign countries, according to the testimony of FBI agent Eugene J. Noltkamper at a court hearing last week.
Classified documents on U.S. weapons systems were contained in a suitcase seized by the FBI. Noltkamper testified that Pollard told agents he already had delivered those documents "to the Israelis."
Sources said yesterday Pollard's alleged Israeli contacts seemed interested in obtaining information about the military capabilities of Arab governments that the United States regards as friendly to Western interests. The United States is known to provide Israel with substantial intelligence about radical Arab regimes such as Libya and Syria, but it normally does not give Israel information relating to countries that are considered U.S. allies.
The description given by the sources here of the stolen documents parallels earlier reports from Israel. Israeli government-inspired leaks to the press there and to visiting American Jewish leaders have sought to give the impression that any espionage activities involving Pollard were not aimed against the United States but instead were attempts to get otherwise unobtainable information about the military and antiterrorism activities of Arab countries openly or potentially hostile to the Jewish state.
A U.S. official familiar with the Pollard case said statements from Israel indicate that the Israelis "are beginning to try their case in the press from Jerusalem."
The official said the Israelis risk irritating U.S. officials by trying to get out a version of what happened before U.S. authorities arrive in Israel to interview Israelis linked to Pollard. "They run the risk of massive embarrassment ultimately," the official said.
In a lengthy telephone discussion early Sunday, Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres reached agreement in principle that Israel would return the documents and permit U.S. officials to interview Israeli officials, including two diplomats who left the United States after Pollard's arrest on Nov. 21.
U.S. officials refused comment yesterday on press reports from Israel that a U.S. delegation, headed by State Department legal adviser Abraham D. Sofaer and including representatives of the Justice Department and FBI, would go to Israel within the next few days.
However, the diplomatic sources said the Israelis have not yet issued the necessary invitation. These sources ascribed the delay to arguments about what the U.S. delegation will be permitted to do.