Barak Aide Wants "to get acquainted", not Pollard
US Says Pollard Decision Not Part of Peace Deal
The Jerusalem Post - December 21, 1999 - Janine Zacharia.
WASHINGTON - US officials have completed a review of an Israeli request
of clemency for convicted American Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard, but have
made no official recommendation yet to President Bill Clinton, White
House Spokesman Joe Lockhart said yesterday.
"I think they've gotten all the information. As far as I know, they have
checked in all the places they need to check in. But no recommendation
has gone to the President," Lockhart told reporters.
Clinton ordered a review of the case in October 1998, after then-Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to secure a US promise for Pollard's
release as part of the Wye River accord with the Palestinians. Pollard
is serving a life term for espionage.
Lockhart said he did not expect a decision on clemency to be linked to
the Middle East peace Process. "I expect this to be dealt with on the merits
and not as part of the overall process," he said.
Moshe Kochnovsky, appointed by Prime Minister Ehud Barak to coordinate
Israel's efforts to secure a US pardon for Pollard, met with a senior
White House official and representatives of several Jewish groups last week in
an effort to pave the way for his release, Lockhart said.
"As I understand it, traveling with Prime Minister Barak was his
representative, who's been dealing with this issue. He had not had a
chance to sit down and meet the new White House counsel. So there was session
where they went through the process," Lockhart told reporters.
An Israeli official also confirmed Kochnovsky's meeting with White House
counsel Beth Nolan, but said the envoy had traveled on his own and not
as part of Barak's peace talks delegation.
Kochnovsky, who was appointed roughly two months ago by Barak, came to
become acquainted with people involved in the case, but did not break
any new ground, the Israeli official said.
Barak so far has been tight-lipped on the Pollard case, saying public
diplomacy on the issue would not help Israel achieve his release.
Pollard, a former US Navy intelligence analyst, pleaded guilty to
passing US military secrets to Israel in the 1980's after he was arrested in
1985. He was sentenced a year later. President Bill Clinton has twice rejected
clemency for Pollard following severe opposition from the CIA.
NOTE: When Clinton wants to, he ignores the opposition as he did when he recently granted clemency to unrepentant FALN terrorists - See the FALN Page.]
Israel last year admitted that Pollard worked in its behalf. Pollard
supporters have filed several appeals
*[JP Correction: Jonathan Pollard filed these appeals. See the Text of Petition] to the Supreme Court since Barak's election saying the Prime Minister has not done enough to secure his release.