In a recent trip to Israel addressing a group of reporters, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked of the possibility of granting convicted spy Jonathan Pollard clemency. Her response, “With respect to Mr. Pollard he was as you know convicted of spying in 1987. He was sentenced to life in prison. He is serving that sentence and I do not have any expectation that that is going to change.”
A few months ago Israeli President Shimon Peres sent President Barack Obama a letter urging him to pardon Pollard referencing his failing health. He went on to state that the Pollard family – and the Jewish people – are extremely concerned about the convicted spy’s physical condition. True, indeed, there are a host of not only Israeli Jews but American as well who have been placing prodigious pressure on the White House to release Pollard. The Pollard lobby (yes Jonathan Pollard has a lobby) insisted that President Peres refuse his Presidential Medal of Freedom until Pollard is released from prison.
For those who haven’t followed the Jonathan Pollard case, in 1987 the Jewish American born Naval Intelligence analyst was convicted of passing on classified information to Israel. The act, classified by his supporters as “friendly espionage” earned him a life sentence,something his supporters also consider to be superfluous.
Former Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ) and Chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee wrote to President Obama twice calling for him to commute Pollard’s sentence wrote in his defense, “I was on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee when Pollard was arrested, and subsequently became its chairman. “I am well aware of the classified information concerning the damage he caused. Pollard was charged with one count of giving classified information to an ally, Israel. He was never charged with nor to my knowledge did he ever give any information to a third country.”
Something which apparently escapes the former Senator and the 39 congressmen who signed his letter, Henry Kissinger, former Senator David Durenberger and the plethora of Pollard proponents is that what he did was not only illegal but immoral. He wasn’t passing on information to prevent a massacre or war crimes, unlike Bradley Manning. Despite those arguing the information he shared with Israel, as one of America’s closest allies, they should have been privy to, the fact still remains they were not. The fact still remains Jonathan Pollard was hired by the United States Navy. His allegiance was to them first — and his breach in trust was solely motivated by personal ambition.
Furthermore this attempt by some to portray him as a defenseless victim who naively engaged in espionage out of his devoted veneration for his Jewish homeland and fear of a repeated Holocaust is disingenuous at best and insulting to one’s intelligence at the very worst. Jonathan Pollard committed an egregious act, something which he is paying the price for. It is an indubitable fact he, his family members and all of those advocating for his release need to own.