White House Bag of Tricks:
Now You See It! Now You Don't!

Media Release July 17, 1999
[Middle East News Line] Copy of Article Follows Below

  1. The President's so-called panel to decide the Pollard case referenced in the article below represents a bizarre turn of events. The President never appointed a panel and didn't have one until White House spokesman Joe Lockhart pulled one out of a hat yesterday. This last-minute invention of a mysterious panel gives the President cover to keep the wheels of this case spinning without resolution for as long as he needs to in order to fulfill political objectives.

  2. Remember, it was the President himself who pledged at Wye to review the case by himself and to personally decide Pollard's fate. Consequently, the only one who has called for and received recommendations is the President himself. And of course, the only one who is empowered to make a decision is the President himself.

  3. Remember also, the only submissions and recommendations that the President has sought on this case have been from those agencies or voices with vested interests in prolonging the incarceration of Jonathan Pollard.

  4. Be aware and beware: there is mention in the article that P.M. Barak is not seeking Pollard's release, only a commitment to reduce the sentence. This is a device that would likely guarantee that Jonathan would never get out of prison - or at least not for many years- but that Barak could still claim a victory, and Clinton would never have to deal with the issue again in his term of office.

  5. Whatever is going on here is certainly not about justice and does not reflect the President's generous promise to Israel:
    "For more than half a century the U.S. has stood proudly with the State of Israel... Now, as you walk bravely down the path of peace, we will walk with you,

    helping in any way we can


    U.S. President Bill Clinton


July 16, 1999, MENL

WASHINGTON, [MENL] -- President Bill Clinton appears to have dismissed the effort of Prime Minister Ehud Barak to win the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

A White House spokesman said Clinton is not expected to receive any recommendation soon on the fate of Pollard, who is serving a life sentence for passing U.S. intelligence reports to Israel.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said Clinton's panel to examine the Pollard case is still deliberating. "They have collected information, but no final recommendation has been forwarded to the President," he said. "And as I think I said yesterday, I don't expect that recommendation to be forwarded in the near future."

Earlier, a senior Barak aide said the Prime Minister would raise the Pollard issue during his talks on Thursday with Clinton. After the meeting, a source close to Barak said he will not seek Pollard's release. Instead, the Prime Minister aims to win a commitment from Clinton to reduce Pollard's sentence.

The source said Barak will appeal for Pollard's release on humanitarian grounds, citing his ill health and more than 13 years in prison. Pollard was sentenced to life after a judge dismissed a plea bargain arrangement.

It was the first time since Barak's election on May 17 that the Prime Minister raised the prospect of Pollard's release. During the election campaign, Barak refused to sign an appeal to Clinton for Pollard's release. Barak said such a move would only hurt Pollard's chances for release.

Last year, Clinton announced he would conduct a review of the Pollard case. No results were announced but Pollard's attorneys said they were refused a meeting with White House staffers to discuss his imprisonment.

Aides to then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Clinton had pledged to release Pollard during the Wye River negotiations in October. On the last day of the talks, they said, the U.S. President said he could not fulfill that promise.