Exhibit G: Letter from Congressman Weiner to Attorney General Ashcroft
CONGRESS of the UNITED STATES
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-3209
January 7, 2002
Mr. John Ashcroft
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
Dear Mr. Attorney General:
Since March 14, 2001, I have been attempting, without success, to obtain some basic information from the Department of Justice concerning the Jonathan Pollard case. The information I need pertains to five documents in the court's docket. Four of the documents are pre-sentencing declarations and memoranda submitted by the parties to the court prior to Mr. Pollard's sentencing on March 4, 1987. The fifth document is a portion of the sentencing transcript dated March 4, 1987.
On June 6, 2001 before the House Judiciary Committee, I brought up the Pollard case, and asked you if there is any reason why I should not be accorded access to the government's principal sentencing memorandum, a declaration submitted in January 1987 by then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. (That declaration is one of the five documents at issue.) I also told you that Mr. Pollard's new attorneys were being denied access to the declaration by the Department of Justice. I asked you if you would agree to accord them access. You told me that you would look into the matter.
Despite your commitments at the hearing, my efforts to obtain this basic information from the Department of Justice have been met with stonewalling. On March 14, 2001, I wrote to then-U.S. Attorney Wilma Lewis, asking for these three items of information. On May 7, 2001, I received a letter of response from Acting Assistant Attorney General Sheryl L. Walter. Ms. Walter's letter provided none of the information I requested. By letter dated June 11, 2001, I replied to Ms. Walter, again seeking the information I need. In response, I received a letter dated September 10, 2001 from Assistant Attorney General Daniel J. Bryant. That letter provided partial information regarding the number of individuals who have had access to the classified portions of the five documents. However, with respect to requests for the classification levels of the documents and the declassification schedule of the documents, Mr. Bryant suggested, for the first time,, that I should seek the information from the Department of Defense, not the Department of Justice.
As a Member of Congress, I have been taking a close look at Mr. Pollard's case. I have been deeply troubled by serious allegations that Mr. Pollard's life sentence was the result of due process violations that went unchecked by an ineffective defense attorney. In order to continue my investigation, I need to know:
- For each classified portion of the five classified documents, what is the classification (e.g., confidential, secret, top secret)?
- For each classified portion of the five classified documents, what is the declassification schedule?
- How many separate individuals have been accorded access to any of these classified documents since March 4, 1987, the day of Mr. Pollard's sentencing?
All of the documents were made available at the time to Mr. Pollard and his then-counsel (indeed, one was authored by Mr. Pollard, another by his attorney). However, each document was partially redacted from the public record on the ground that it contained classified information. The redactions total approximately 35 to 40 pages. No attorney for Mr. Pollard has seen any of the redacted materials since Mr. Pollard was sentenced to life in prison on March 4, 1987.
I have been waiting over six months for answers to my questions. It is inappropriate for the Department of Justice to wait this long, only to tell a Member of Congress to try to obtain the information elsewhere. It is hard to believe that the Department of Justice does not have the information I need, irrespective of whether or not the Department of Defense has it as well.
I look forward to your response, and would be happy to meet with you in a public or private forum to discuss this further.
ANTHONY D. WEINER
Member of Congress