U.S. Defense Secretaries Oppose Pollard Release
December 10, 1998 - Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Seven former U.S. defense secretaries
urged President Clinton Thursday to reject Israel's appeal to
release Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a
life sentence for
spying for Israel.
The appeal, released days before a visit to Israel by
Clinton and one week after the president began a review of the
case, said giving clemency to Pollard would encourage America's
"As you know, espionage against the United States in this
post-Cold War world continues unabated and is seriously damaging
the interests of our country.
"Notwithstanding our strong support for Israel, we believe
that granting clemency to Mr. Pollard would encourage those who
would harm our country," the letter said.
The letter was signed by Frank Carlucci, Richard Cheney,
Melvin Laird, Elliot Richardson, Donald Rumsfeld, James
Schlesinger and Caspar Weinberger, who served in different
Republican administrations since 1969.
The White House said last Thursday that it had requested
advice by mid-January from top national security and law
enforcement officials on the case of Pollard, who once worked as
a naval intelligence analyst.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a strong
pitch for Pollard's release during the marathon Wye Agreement
talks on Middle East peace in October.
A spokesman for current Defense Secretary William Cohen said
last week he would study the issue but noted the Pentagon had
previously opposed any release.
"I have no reason to expect that there will be major
changes in the advice he (Clinton) gets from some quarters, but
I think we just have to let that play out," spokesman Ken Bacon