Well before the 1998 Chaghai tests, the Pakistani lab, which produced the plutonium for its nuclear weapons, was one of the targets of an Israeli espionage effort that led to the arrest and conviction of Jonathan Pollard.
Along with the thousands of documents he passed on to his handlers, Pollard, who was Israel’s mole in the U.S. Navy’s Anti-Terrorist Alert between 1984 and 1985 also gave them information about Pakistan’s plutonium reprocessing facility near Islamabad.
This new detail is contained in The Jonathan Jay Pollard Espionage Case: A Damage Assessment, October 30, 1987 prepared by the CIA, and declassified for the second time on December 13.
A heavily redacted version of the report was first declassified in 2006. The latest version fills some of the blanks and was released as a result of appeals by the National Security Archive, a non-profit organisation working to reduce secrecy in U.S. government.
It is available at www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/ NSAEBB/ NSAEBB407/
Pollard, who — according to a testimony by then Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger — delivered to the Israelis documents that could fill a 6’x6’x10’ space, was detected and arrested in the U.S. in 1985, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The assessment report contains a confession by Pollard and reveals new details on the subjects on which he was asked by his Israeli handlers to provide intelligence, “in descending order of priority”:
“Arab (and Pakistani) nuclear intelligence; Arab exotic weaponry, including chemical and weapons; Soviet aircraft; Soviet air defenses; Soviet air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles; and Arab order-of-battle, deployments, readiness.”
In the 17 months that Pollard worked for Israel, he was initially paid $ 1,500 a month; the amount was later increased to $ 2,500.
In a still heavily whited-out section titled “Implications of Compromises —What Israel Gained from Pollard’s Espionage,” the document reveals on Page 58 that “Pollard’s stolen material, from the Israeli perspective, provided significant benefits [redacted] …. Page 59, [redacted] Pollard’s deliveries concerning PLO headquarters near Tunis, Tunisian and Libyan air defenses, and Pakistan’s plutonium reprocessing facility near Islamabad.”
It is known that Israel used the information provided by Pollard for its October 1985 attack on the PLO headquarters in Tunis.
The reference to Pakistan is most likely about the Pakistan Institute of Science & Technology’s New Labs near Rawalpindi, where there has been a plutonium reprocessing facility since the 1980s. In 2009, New Labs was in the news again when a U.S think tank, using satellite imagery, said it had added another plutonium separation plant at the same site.