White House Bag of Tricks:
Now You See It! Now You Don't!
Media Release July 17, 1999
RE: "NO PROGRESS ON POLLARD RELEASE" - July 16, 1999
[Middle East News Line] Copy of Article Follows Below
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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,
in any way we can."
U.S. President Bill Clinton
NO PROGRESS ON POLLARD RELEASE
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
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.