The story of how it came to pass that Prime Minister Ehud Barak mounted a full court press with President Clinton on behalf of a pardon for Marc Rich will probably never be fully told. Even if the current and future congressional inquiries into the pardon bear fruit, it is doubtful that Barak's role will evercome to light. But there are parts of this sordid story touching upon the Barak dimension that are already here for all to see. And the chutzpah is appalling.
Over the years, perhaps the most vocal opponent of clemency for Jonathan Pollard has been the chief prosecutor in his case, former Assistant United States Attorney Joseph diGenova. Invariably, whenever the Pollard issue bubbled over in the press, diGenova's views were routinely solicited and his unfailing response was that Pollard's perfidy was unmatched in our time, and the damage to our security incalculable. Conclusion: Pollard should spend the rest of his life in a federal prison. No ifs, and, or buts.
Not even when President Clinton agreed to free Pollard as an inducement for concessions by Prime Minister Netanyahu at Camp David, thus advancing American foreign policy interests, did diGenova change his tune. Nor did he change his mind when Prime Minister Ehud Barak importuned President Clinton to release Pollard in the course of their cozy "peace process' working relationship.
So we were taken with the irony in Mr. DiGenova's current representation of Jack Quinn, President Clinton's former White House counsel, the lawyer who applied for an secured the pardon for Marc Rich.
At a televised session of the congressional hearing now being conducted into the pardoning of Mr. Rich, Quinn was asked why Mr. Clinton would even have considered exercising the pardon power to free a fugitive who had never stood trial - an unprecedented occurrence. Mr. Quinn gave some answer or another, whereupon Mr. DiGenova, who was seated beside him, passed him a note. Mr. Quinn read the note and then quickly added something about the diplomatic significance of the Prime Minister of Israel's championing of the Rich pardon cause with President Clinton!
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