by Esther Pollard (Mrs. Jonathan Pollard)
March 13, 1999
There is a curious symmetry between David Plotz and those government officials who would like to see my husband, Jonathan Pollard, remain in prison forever. Plotz presents his own damning opinions on the Pollard case as if they were fact, in much the same way that these government officials accuse my husband in the media of crimes for which he was never indicted.
Jonathan Pollard did not commit, was not charged with, and was not convicted of the outrageous charges now being hurled at him in the media. There is no substance to the latest pack of lies proffered by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, nor to the charges invented by David Plotz in Slate. Moreover, no evidence to support any of these false charges was presented 14 years ago when my husband entered into a plea agreement with the American government. In other words, these charges are very recent fabrications that have suddenly surfaced in the press to serve political ends.
Based on the evidence that the government presented 14 years ago, Jonathan was indicted on one count only - passing classified information to an ally, Israel. He was not charged with intending to harm the United States. He was not charged with treason.
The one count of passing classified information to an ally that Jonathan was charged with, usually carries a sentence of 2 to 4 years. No one in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for this offense - no one but Jonathan Pollard.
As a result of a last-minute secret submission to the sentencing judge by then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger - which Jonathan and his attorneys have never in 14 years been given the opportunity to challenge- the judge ignored the plea agreement and meted out a life sentence without parole. Who plea bargains for a life sentence!
The "new" crimes Jonathan Pollard is now being accused of in the media were, in fact, committed by a host of Soviet spies including Aldrich Ames, David Boone and Ronald Pelton. But that has not stopped U.S. officials from continuing to publicly blame Jonathan Pollard - and by extension Israel - for the damage done by these enemy agents, nor has it stopped irresponsible journalists from parroting these unsubstantiated lies.
What Jonathan Pollard did do is warn Israel that Saddam Hussein had amassed American-approved and American-financed weapons of mass destruction which he intended to use to scorch the Jewish State.
Jonathan deeply regrets that he broke the law in order to warn Israel about this threat to her existence. He had tried everything in his power to get the information released to Israel through legal channels, but was thwarted every step of the way, right up to the top of the Pentagon.
It would appear that certain U.S. officials - Caspar Weinberger, Admiral Bobby Rae Inman and others- were more concerned with the world finding out that America was arming Iraq at that time, than they were about covertly violating their information-sharing agreement with Israel. It was in desperation that my husband acted on his fear for the Jewish State and finally sought out the Israelis to warn them about this betrayal.
Contrary to Plotz's contention, Jonathan has expressed his remorse repeatedly, privately and publicly, and in various mediums. He deeply regrets not finding a legal means to act on his concerns for Israel in the face of the Iraqi threat.
There is still enormous embarrassment in Washington today over America's arming of Iraq and the on-going threat from the "Madman of Baghdad". The release of Jonathan Pollard, it is felt, would bring this shameful episode to the forefront. For that reason fearful officials hurl false charges at Jonathan Pollard in the media- never in court- to try to keep him in prison forever, and to make people forget about how Pollard blew the whistle on a secret American pro-Iraqi tilt, long before it became public knowledge.
Today the Clinton Administration is doing with China just what the Reagan/Bush Administration did then with Iraq. For years, for political/economic reasons a blind eye has been turned to Chinese espionage in the U.S. As a result, China is now armed with nuclear munitions that could pose a major threat to the U.S. This Administration, just like its predecessors wants people to look the other way, so they downplay the story in the media and give implausible explanations for why a top-level spy who provided nuclear munitions information to a hostile country should be fired from his job instead of being brought to trial!
Interestingly enough, journalists like David Plotz don't see fit to utter a peep of protest about the mishandling of the Chinese Spy case. Mindlessly they swallow whole what they read in the press and continue to focus their hostility and anger on the wrong target. Wen Ho Lee stole American information on nuclear warheads for China and was fired. Jonathan Pollard gave information to an ally, Israel, about a threat to that country's survival and he got life. Proportional justice, or political vengeance?
Why is it that the same officials that are so relentless and vociferous in their condemnation of Jonathan Pollard and Israel, are so utterly silent about all the other recent spy cases where the charges were far more serious and the damage was measurable. For examples, see: