Jonathan Jay Pollard, accused of selling classified U.S. documents to Israel, has told the FBI that he and his wife went to Israel twice within the past year and that the trips were financed by his unidentified "contact," federal prosecutors disclosed yesterday.
Sources said that Pollard identified the "contact" as an Israeli official.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State George P. Shultz said yesterday that a delegation of State and Justice department officials will leave for Israel early next week to interview Israeli officials about their connections with Pollard.
"We have every reason to believe that the issues involved will be resolved satisfactorily," Shultz said at a news conference.
His statement came amid indications over the past week that some U.S. officials, particularly in the Justice Department, were irritated by what they regarded as Israeli delaying tactics over the ground rules for the trip.
"We expect matters to go forward expeditiously and properly," said Shultz, who added that the delegation will be headed by State Department legal adviser Abraham D. Sofaer, a former federal judge who recently presided over the libel trial that former Israeli defense minister Ariel Sharon brought against Time magazine.
Israeli sources said the recent discussions, which followed an agreement in principle worked out Sunday between Shultz and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, focused on what the U.S. officials would be able to do in Israel.
These sources said that the Peres government, for domestic political reasons, wants the trip to be seen as a fact-finding mission and not an official U.S. investigation on Israeli soil.
In addition to gathering evidence about the extent of Pollard's alleged spying, U.S. officials also hope to obtain a better assessment of the possible national-security damage caused by any Pollard disclosures.
Peres has promised Shultz that any classified documents allegedly obtained from Pollard, a civilian Navy counterterrorist anaylst, will be returned to the United States.
The Pollard case has strained normally close relations between the United States and Israel, but officials of both countries have said they do not expect lasting damange.
A federal grand jury has begun investigating the case, and witnesses appearing before it have included Bernard R. Henderson, Pollard's father-in-law, and friends of the Pollards.
Henderson, a public relations executive, said yesterday that the grand jury asked what his daughter, Anne Henderson-Pollard, told him about her activities.
Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge John H. Pratt postponed until Monday a decision on a request from Henderson-Pollard's lawyer that he overturn a lower court and release Henderson-Pollard on bail. Pollard, 31, who is charged with espionage, is also being held without bond.
Henderson-Pollard, who is charged with unauthorized possession of secret U.S. documents, "was well aware they were classified documents; some were stamped top-secret," Pratt said.
"This is not exactly a naive young woman," the judge added. "She is a sophisticated person."
At a court hearing last week, FBI agent Eugene J. Noltkamper testified that Pollard admitted selling secret U.S. documents to Israel.
Pollard has told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he was paid $2,500 a month in cash during the 1 1/2 years that he spied for Israel, Noltkamper said.
The agent stated that Pollard said his payment also included two foreign trips financed by his "handler." Yesterday was the first time the government revealed that the trips included stops in Israel.
According to court papers filed by prosecutors, the couple went to Israel in November 1984 and July 1985.