White House Deflects Questions About Pollard -
Can't Recall Pollard Offense???

Middle East News Line - September 8, 1999


-- The White House, which set a Friday deadline for a renunciation of violence by jailed Puerto Rican bombers, has refused say whether convicted spy Jonathan Pollard can benefit from the presidential parole offer.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart threatened that unless the Puerto Rican militants renounce violence the "parole will be repealed and they will go right back to jail."

A reporter at Tuesday's briefing, referring to the militants up for parole, asked whether Pollard was "involved in any plans to bomb, kill and maim anybody."

Lockhart dismissed the question. "You would have to talk to those who prosecuted him," he said.

Pollard has accused President Bill Clinton of withdrawing from his pledge given last year to then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to free the former U.S. naval analyst. He has spent 14 years of a life sentence for passing defense secrets to Israel.

On Tuesday, Pollard petitioned the Israeli High Court to press Prime Minister Ehud Barak to work for Pollard's release. Barak said he will no longer work openly for Pollard's release. Pollard's petition states that Barak's claim that he is working for Pollard's release - quietly or otherwise - is not credible.