Delegation of Democrats Visits Pollard in Prison

NEW YORK TIMES - December 30, 1999

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who supports clemency for Jonathan Jay Pollard, a convicted spy, led a delegation of state legislators to a federal prison to see Mr. Pollard yesterday.

The visit came a day after another prominent New York Democrat, Alan G. Hevesi, the city comptroller, visited Mr. Pollard, a former United States Navy intelligence analyst.

"There are some serious injustices taking place in the Jonathan Pollard case," Mr. Silver said by telephone from Raleigh, N.C., after meeting with Mr. Pollard for more than three hours.

Mr. Hevesi, in a separate interview, said he had long been concerned with Mr. Pollard, and had eagerly accepted the invitation to spend three hours with him Tuesday.

Mr. Pollard, 45, was convicted of espionage in 1985 for giving Israel tens of thousands* of top-secret documents He claimed he was trying to protect the Jewish state from its enemies. He is serving a life sentence, but his supporters contend that federal prosecutors reneged on a deal for a lighter term.

The Pollard case has been controversial for years, and nearly derailed the Wye peace agreement in 1998. Since then, the Clinton administration has been reviewing Israel's request that Mr. Pollard be released. President Clinton directed the White House counsel's office to collect recommendations from the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the Justice Department and other agencies about clemency.

Mr. Pollard's supporters have tried in recent months to pressure Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is running for the United States Senate from New York, to take a position on the case. The first lady has thus far declined, a position reiterated yesterday by her spokesman, Howard Wolfson.

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mrs. Clinton's likely Senate opponent, has said he supports Mr. Pollard's release.

Mr. Hevesi has declared his intentions to run for mayor after Mr. Giuliani's term expires in 2001.

The visits by these two Democrats seem certain to increase the pressure on Mrs. Clinton to support Mr. Pollard.

Mr. Silver said he informed Mrs. Clinton that he would be meeting with Mr. Pollard. "She indicated to me that she would like me to discuss the matter with her, and I will do so," he said.

Mr. Hevesi said he felt "strongly that Jonathan Pollard has received unjust treatment" in the case. "I have not discussed this matter with Hillary Clinton," Mr. Hevesi said, "but would hope all elected officials and prospective elected officials would take an interest in the issue."

Mr. Silver and three Assembly Democrats, Thomas P. DiNapoli of Nassau County, Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx and Helene E. Weinstein of Brooklyn, visited Mr. Pollard at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, N.C.

Their travel expenses were paid for by their campaign committees, Mr. Silver said.


Justice4JP NOTE:

Many of the "facts" in the above article as they pertain to the Pollard case are distorted, just like the misinformation about the volume of information Jonathan Pollard passed to Israel. Jonathan Pollard made a total of 11 drops using a small briefcase, hardly sufficient to transport the truckloads of information that this article alleges. For the real facts of the case see The Facts Page.
See Also:
  • Speaker Silver Leads Dems to Visit Pollard