Pollard Treated Unfairly - (Opposing View)

USA TODAY - January 18, 1999 - Kenneth Lasson


USA TODAY - a publication whose anti-Israel bias is well-known, recently invited University of Baltimore law professor Kenneth Lasson to write a 350 word essay on behalf of Jonathan Pollard to counterbalance the "350 word" essay that the paper planned to publish against Jonathan Pollard.

On January 18, 1999, USA Today ran both articles. The USA TODAY negative article was much longer than the 350 word limit that Lasson was strictly held to. The USA TODAY condemnation of Pollard was prominently featured at the top of the page, right under the company logo, complete with a large photograph to draw attention.

In addition, the Lasson article was bizarrely edited by USA TODAY . For example: has anyone ever heard of an adjective "outlawry"? As in "Why has the government been so 'outlawry' mute...?" "Outlawry" was not Lasson's choice of adjective.

Buried underneath the USA TODAY negative piece on January 18th, the Lasson article was visually insignificant and barely noticeable. But truth often appears that way initially. Ultimately only the truth prevails. The text of the Lasson 350 word defense follows.

Pollard Treated Unfairly - (Opposing View)

Former Navy Analyst victim of smear campaign

USA TODAY - January 18, 1999 - Kenneth Lasson

Fourteen years after the government's violation of a plea agreement resulted in Jonathan Pollard's being sentenced to life in prison, he is being demonized anew by half-truths and bald misstatements of fact.

The current media frenzy is fueled by anonymous leaks of heretofore classified material. Pollard's accusers never subjected this uncorroborated data, published grossly out of context, to rebuttal in court precisely because it's the kind that would likely be declared inadmissible. A few examples.

  • Pollard was a traitor.
    Treason is a specific crime defined by the Constitution as aiding the enemy during wartime. An appellate court admonished prosecutors against using such inflammatory terms in this case. In fact, Pollard was sentenced for a single count of disclosing classified information - the average punishment for which is four years incarceration. Why has the government been so outlawry [utterly] mute about leniency shown similar offenders.

  • Pollard compromised critical intelligence as well as agents' lives.
    Prosecutors never charged Pollard with intending to harm the United States, as they could have, and nothing was in their official damage assessment about either the loss of security codes or agents.

  • Pollard violated the plea agreement by not cooperating.
    The government, in court, before sentencing, conceded he'd fully cooperated.

  • Pollard was an alcoholic, drug addict and mercenary.
    Still more irrelevant but incendiary allegations that have never been proved. Would either of the world's best intelligence agencies, U.S. or Israeli, hire anyone with such self-destructive tendencies? Israel also has acknowledged that Pollard originally volunteered his services for ideological reasons and that it insisted that he be paid [as an agent].
The case being so passionately hyped to keep Pollard in prison for life is very different from the offenses for which he was rightly convicted. His plight is much more about what federal Judge Steven Williams called a "fundamental miscarriage of justice" than the result of any real damage to national security.

The continuing failure of due process for Jonathan Pollard remains an outrageous affront to American principles of fair play and equality under the law.