Clinton Asks the View of Top Aides On Freeing of Pollard

December 3, 1998 - James Risen - The New York Times

*[Justice for Jonathan Pollard Prefacing Note:
Setting the Stage For Failure:

President Clinton has not solicited any input whatsoever from any of the authorities that advocate for Jonathan Pollard's release. Pollard's attorneys have not been allowed any input; neither have those intelligence analysts or investigative journalists who are on record as supporting clemency for Pollard.

Jewish leaders and Rabbinical leaders who have for years been denied audiences with the President on this issue have been completely ignored in this process.

In short, only the old opponents of the case have been invited to restate their slander and false allegations to provide cover for President Clinton as he prepares to renege on his promise to free Jonathan Pollard.

Jonathan Pollard is about to be sold out once again, and along with him the notion of EQUAL JUSTICE in America, and of EQUAL TREATMENT OF ISRAEL as an ally.

More comments appear below in square brackets. ]

WASHINGTON -- The White House has asked the Government's top law enforcement and intelligence officials and key Cabinet members to recommend by early next month whether President Clinton should grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard, the former Navy analyst convicted of spying for Israel, Administration officials said Wednesday.

In a sign that President Clinton may decide quickly if he should give in to Israeli pressure to release Pollard, the White House counsel, Charles Ruff, has sent a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Defense Secretary William S. Cohen asking for their views on the Pollard case by Jan. 11.

Tenet made clear his fierce opposition to clemency for Pollard at the Middle East peace talks in Wye, Md., in October. In the past, the Justice, Defense and State Departments have joined the Central Intelligence Agency in opposing clemency.

A White House spokesman, David C. Leavy, cautioned that while Clinton planned to make a final decision on the case in a "timely manner," he had not set a deadline.

The President is scheduled to travel to Israel and Gaza this month to discuss the Middle East peace effort in separate meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat. He seems likely to be confronted with further questions from the Israelis about the Pollard case during his visit.

*[JUSTICE FOR JP: By leaking this item to the NY Times, Clinton can arrive in Israel and avoid the Pollard issue entirely, pending the recommendations of his agencies and aides - as if their position is not already well known to him.]

The case became a central issue in the peace talks. On the last of nine days of strenuous negotiations, Netanyahu demanded Pollard's release in exchange for his support for an agreement.

But Tenet, reflecting the views of the intelligence community, strongly opposed Pollard's release, and made it clear to the President that he would resign if Clinton gave in to the Israeli demand, according to several administration officials.

*[Justice for JP: A Cabinet Minister threatening the President? Who is running the White House, Clinton, or his Cabinet Minister?]

In the end, Clinton rejected Netanyahu's demand and instead agreed only to review the case again.

Pollard's status has become a recurring issue in American-Israeli relations in recent years, one that is raised at almost every opportunity by Israeli leaders.

Pollard was arrested in 1985 after spying for Israel for at least 18 months. In 1987 he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to life in prison.

*[JUSTICE FOR JP: The guilty plea was obtained in a plea bargain which the Government subsequently violated on all counts. Who plea bargains for a life sentence!]

If nothing else, Pollard had been a prolific spy. He handed over thousands of classified documents to Israel, often taking bundles of them out of the office on weekends so they could be copied by Israeli agents and then returned on Monday so they would not be missed.

*[JUSTICE FOR JP NOTE: Outrageous!! Pollard would have needed to make several trips with a a moving van to have moved the volume of information they claim. See Facts page points 18 and 19 to explode this canard!]

United States intelligence and law enforcement officials argue that he betrayed more secret documents than almost any other spy in recent American history.

*[JUSTICE FOR JP : NONSENSE! Jonathan Pollard made a total of 11 drops, using a SMALL BRIEF CASE!]

Much of the most sensitive intelligence he turned over to the Israelis involved Soviet weapons systems, material that had been gleaned from spies working for the United States in Russia.

While Pollard argued that he was spying for an ally that deserved intelligence it had been unfairly denied by Washington,

*[JUSTICE FOR JP: Although the information had been illegally embargoed from Israel, this was NEVER any part of Pollard's rationale or defense. SEE FACTS PAGE items on motive and remorse, no. 5, 6, 23]

American officials have never been certain if any of the information he gave Israel was in turn provided to Moscow, which had its own spies in the Israeli Government during the 1980's.

*[JUSTICE FOR JP: There is not a scintilla of evidence that any of the information that Pollard provided to Israel ever left Israeli hands.]

American officials involved in the original damage assessment of the Pollard case complain that they never received full cooperation from Israeli officials and say Israel has never agreed to return all of the documents Pollard stole.

*[JUSTICE FOR JP: Israel maintains that it DID return all the documents. The US has never specified which documents it believes continue to be withheld.]

Under pressure from Israel, Clinton has reviewed the case twice before, once in 1993 and again in 1996. Each time, the President decided against clemency after receiving recommendations from Cabinet officials and agencies involved in the case.

*[JUSTICE FOR JP: The President did NOT do an independent review. Both times he turned down the request for clemency within hours of the time he received the negative recommendations from the others.]

Officials said today that the FBI Director, Louis J. Freeh, was not consulted by the President about the Pollard case at the time of the Wye talks. Secretary Cohen also was not consulted. Neither was at the Wye talks. As to why they were not consulted then, Leavy, the White Housespokesman, said today, "The President did not make any decision to release Pollard."

*[JUSTICE FOR JP : Both Israeli and Palestinian official sources on site at Wye have independently confirmed that President Clinton made a firm commitment to release Pollard at Wye.]

"President Clinton consulted with his advisers at Wye River and made his own determination to proceed with a review based on the Prime Minister's request." Now, however, the White House has asked that the FBI, as well as the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, be included in the review.

As part of the Pentagon's review for Cohen, the Navy expects to carry out a new assessment of the damage done by Pollard.

*[JUSTICE FOR JP: American officials have never to date cited one concrete evidence of damage done by Pollard. They cannot point to one single concrete example of damage because there was none. Jonathan Pollard was NEVER INDICTED for harming the United States].

See Also:
  • Letter To President Clinton from Pollard's Attorney
  • Pollard Wants Chance To Plead His Case