Two veteran Justice Department officials and Joseph E. diGenova, the U.S. attorney for Washington, will be members of the U.S. delegation expected to leave Tuesday for Israel to interview Israeli officials implicated in the Jonathan Pollard spy case.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mark M. Richard; John L. Martin, the longtime chief of the Justice Department unit that oversees espionage investigations, and diGenova, whose office is prosecuting the Pollard case, will be joined by State Department legal adviser Abraham D. Sofaer and an unidentified FBI official, U.S. officials said yesterday.
Officials said that the delegation, which is likely to be joined by additional personnel later in the week, will attempt to gather firsthand information on the extent of the alleged spying by Pollard, a civilian Navy counterterrorist analyst charged with selling U.S. secrets to the Israelis.
Officials said that the delegation's course in Israel, including the length of its stay, will be determined largely by what is learned from interviews.
"You just can't predict" what will happen, said one official.
The delegation may be allowed to interview other Israelis besides the two Israeli diplomats hastily recalled from the United States after Pollard's arrest, an Israeli legislator was quoted as telling United Press International yesterday in Tel Aviv.
Simcha Dinitz, a Labor Party lawmaker and former Israeli ambassador to the United States, told UPI he believes that the delegation will be given access "not only to those diplomats that were involved, but maybe other elements in Israel who were connected somehow with the story."
Israeli sources previously have said that Rafael Eitan, the Israeli intelligence operative who has been named a key figure in the spying case, will be made available for questioning, as well as the two diplomats, Ilan Ravid and Yosef Yagur, alleged to have been Pollard's contacts in the United States.
U.S. officials are expected to try to examine the possible relationship between Pollard and the offices of the Science Liaison Bureau, known by the Hebrew acronym Lekem, which were supervised by Eitan. Ravid and Yagur were scientific attaches assigned respectively to the Washington and New York offices of Lekem.
According to press reports from Israel, the government of Prime Minister Shimon Peres, which is conducting its own investigation, has indicated that that Pollard's alleged spying was done without the knowledge of top Israeli government officials.
A U.S. official said yesterday that Israel has not given the State Department a formal report on the matter because it has not completed its inquiry. The official noted that Secretary of State George P. Shultz has said that the State Department eventually will issue a public report.
An announcement by Shultz on Friday that ground rules for the trip had been worked out ended a week of intense negotiations with Israel in which there were indications that some U.S. officials, particularly in the Justice Department, were irritated at what they believed were delays by the Israelis.
Israeli sources have said that the Peres government, for domestic political reasons, wants the trip to be seen as an information-gathering mission and not an official U.S. investigation in Israel.
"I understand that what the government is trying to do is allow a visit by U.S. authorities in Israel in order to converse, to talk, not to interrogate," Israeli legislator Dinitz told UPI.