Senator Moynihan's Response To "Reciprocity for Jonathan Pollard"

March 7, 1997 - The Jewish Press

I write in response to your editorial call for me to raise the issue of Jonathan Pollard with President Clinton.

In March of 1993, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik asked me to commend to the White House a moving letter from Mr. Pollard to President Clinton. I did so and asked that this letter's sentiments be considered in the President's review of Mr. Pollard's sentence.

As you know, Mr. Pollard participated in an espionage operation against the United States. He was convicted of trafficking highly classified intelligence data including raw and analyzed information on many different intelligence systems and capabilities of the United States Government.

The claim that Mr. Pollard's actions were ostensibly taken on behalf of a friendly nation does not alter their illegality or eliminate the damage that his actions may have caused to the interests of the United States. Indeed, Mr. Pollard pleaded guilty and acknowledged that his acts were illegal. While some have argued that Jonathan Pollard's deeds may gave been "legally wrong but morally correct," Mr. Pollard wrote to President Clinton that his actions were "repugnant to American law, G-d's Torah, and natural law."

At the same time, Mr. Pollard had the right of every federal prisoner to petition the President for clemency. President Clinton publicly indicated his willingness to review Jonathan Pollard's request and requested that the Justice Department conduct this review.

I had urged that his review: examine every aspect of this complex case and pay particular attention to the points raised in Mr. Pollard's letter to the President requesting this review. It should also be noted that Mr. Pollard has already served a substantial term in prison.

As you know, the Justice Department recommended against clemency on March 22, 1994, and President Clinton endorsed its finding the next day and reiterated his position in July, 1996. It must be noted, however, that Mr. Pollard became eligible for parole in 1995, and that the particulars of his case may well merit a different decision when reviewed as a question of standard parole rather that a writ of President intervention. Mr. Pollard will, of course, be able to raise the points in his letter to the President in this venue as well. All these factors should be weighed against the very serious nature of this offense.

I do hope this clarifies my views on this matter.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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