PM Asked Clinton to Postpone Pollard Decision
January 20, 1999 - Batsheva Tsur - The Jerusalem Post
Despite earlier Israeli pressure on
US President Bill Clinton to review
the case of convicted Israeli spy
Jonathan Pollard, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu has now
asked Clinton to put off making his
decision until the impeachment
hearings are over, a source said
Following the Wye summit, Clinton
had assured Netanyahu that he
would review all the material - from
both advocates and opponents of
Pollard's release - at this time. At
the time it was not clear that the Senate impeachment
hearings would be under way now.
Netanyahu felt that it would not be polite to put
on the US president to decide when he is under duress,
the source said.
Netanyahu's spokesman Aviv Bushinsky yesterday
denied that the prime minister had requested such a
"The opposite is true," he said.
"The prime minister is most grateful that President
Clinton has kept his promise to review the possibility
an early release for Pollard."
Meanwhile, advocates of Pollard's release have not yet
submitted their arguments to Clinton, although the US
defense establishment already has recommended that
the spy continue to serve his full term -
An additional reason for Clinton's delaying the review
decision is a pending request for a meeting with him
lodged by three Jewish leaders - World Jewish
Congress head Edgar Bronfman, Harvard Law professor
Alan Dershowitz and Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel -
who wish to put Pollard's case before the president.
When the White House reportedly suggested that the
three meet instead with Attorney-General Janet Reno -
who also is due to make recommendations in the Pollard
case - Bronfman was unusually piqued, the source said,
and insisted on an invitation from Clinton. No date has
yet been set for such a meeting.
Asked yesterday whether he had submitted arguments in
Pollard's favor to the White House, Pollard's lawyer
Larry Dub confirmed that he had not.
"There is no one to submit them to," he said. "We have
not received any response to my December 4 letter to
President Clinton or to my two subsequent letters to
[White House legal counsel] Charles Ruff."
He said there was still no willingness on the part of
the US to explain what "information" Pollard had passed on
to Israel and what evidence there was against him.
Dub yesterday denied again that any encryption codes
had been passed by his client to Israel.
"Pollard did not have access to such encryption data,"
Dub said. "Frequency signals manuals without
encryption codes are useless."
In a letter last week to Ruff, Dub said he had pointed
out that on December 18, 1998, "an ex-NSA senior
cryptologic traffic analyst, David Sheldon Boone,
pleaded guilty in US District court in Alexandria, Va.,
having provided the Soviets with, among other things,
a manual listing all US reconnaissance programs and
signal collection systems, on or about the time that my
client was sentenced."
Dub said that this "calls into question the motive of
'government officials' who continue to lay the blame
this crime on Jonathan Pollard."
President Ezer Weizman yesterday revealed that he had
written to Clinton two years ago to request clemency
Pollard. Weizman said that the initiative had come from
Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein, who was minister
at the Israeli Embassy in Washington when Pollard
was arrested and sought asylum there.
Weizman was speaking to reporters during a visit of
British parliament members of the Conservative Friends
of Israel group.
Larry Dub Letters