Malcolm Hoenlein's Dirty Little Secret Revealed:
Tenet No Obstacle to Pollard Release

Source: JTA - CIA Chief George Tenet Quits by Matthew E. Berger

J4JP Release - June 4, 2004

For nearly a decade Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive VP of the Conference of Presidents, has kept a dirty little secret which may well have held the key to Jonathan Pollard's prison cell. Now, years later, Hoenlein has just revealed this secret (text below) - not to help Jonathan Pollard, but to praise resigning CIA Director, George Tenet!

In a June 3, 2004 interview with Matthew E. Berger ["CIA Chief George Tenet Quits", JTA, 06/04/04] Hoenlein describes a phone call he received from CIA Director, George Tenet, immediately after the Wye Summit in 1998. According to Hoenlein, Tenet called him because was genuinely upset about what had happened at Wye; and he denied that he had ever threatened to resign if Jonathan Pollard were freed.

By way of background: when President Clinton reneged on the U.S. commitment to free Jonathan Pollard as an integral part of the Wye accords in 1998, an excuse was created: "CIA Director George Tenet threatened to resign if Pollard goes free."

This was not only untrue, it was a ridiculous excuse. Its implausibility was vividly demonstrated a few months later when Clinton freed the FALN terrorists over Tenets' vehement objections and actual threat to resign.

In spite of the valiant efforts of the Pollard team to set the record straight, it became virtually impossible to overcome the White House spin in the media that Tenet's threat to resign nullified all efforts to free Jonathan Pollard. Over the years, this canard has become thoroughly entrenched and used by Jewish leaders as an excuse for inaction.

The only Jewish leader, it appears, who knew that this obstacle to Jonathan's release was utterly false, was Malcolm Hoenlein. Hoenlein is not a private citizen, but the Executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations - the one man with the position and the authority to act on this knowledge, to publicize it, to galvanize support and to garner the resources to lobby quickly, quietly and effectively for truth and justice.

Imagine if Mr. Hoenlein would have publicly revealed then, what he just shared now: that George Tenet himself swore that he never threatened to resign over the release of Jonathan Pollard. All of the excuses built around Tenet's objections at the time could have be stripped away. Israel and the American Jewish leaders could have been empowered to insist that Clinton honor the commitment made as integral part of the Wye Accords to free Jonathan Pollard. And Jonathan Pollard could have gone free nearly a decade ago.

Instead, a great dishonor was done to Israel and to the Jewish community when Hoenlein waited nearly a decade to reveal this critical piece of information. Worse still, he did so not in support of justice for Jonathan Pollard, but in praise of Pollard's nemesis, George Tenet.

In the same JTA article, it is worthy of note that many other Jewish leaders - who have been struck dumb about Jonathan Pollard - joined Hoenlein in lionizing Tenet.

Note also that, according to the reporter, Jewish leaders continue to speak of Jonathan's espionage as "treason" - a crime which Jonathan was never accused, indicted, nor convicted of.

Here is the excerpt from the JTA article "CIA Chief George Tenet Quits":

..."But Tenet's role in the Pollard affair was more controversial.

President Clinton had agreed to release Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel, as part of the Wye framework. But Tenet said he would not be able to face the intelligence community if Pollard was freed, and according to some reports, threatened to resign immediately. Clinton then took releasing Pollard off the table.

"We were really shocked at the vehemence he showed at Wye over that issue," said one former Israeli official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Tenet has denied he made that threat, and called Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, practically in tears the day the story broke.

"He truly was very emotional and very upset about it," Hoenlein said. "He said that was not the way he did things, and from our experience, that was not the way he did things."

But while the incident frustrated Jewish leaders who had sought Pollard's freedom, it did not sour their views of Tenet. Many said they understood that Tenet was speaking on behalf of an organization that sees no greater treason than espionage."

J4JP Concludes:

How troubling it is that Jewish leaders are so willing to "understand" the position of the CIA , that they have completely blinded themselves to the key elements of the Pollard case:
  • a grossly disproportionate sentence
  • a broken plea agreement (which Jonathan honored and the US violated)
  • the use of secret evidence
  • a false charge of treason
  • ineffective assistance of counsel
  • ex parte communication between prosecutors and judge
  • a lack of due process
  • a sentencing procedure infected by false allegations and lies

All of these add up to a double standard of justice which poses an immeasurable threat to the Jewish Community - a threat which is not going to disappear because the Jewish leadership chooses to ignore it. As long as Jonathan Pollard remains in prison, both Israel and the American Jewish community remain at risk.

In a letter dated March 10, 1987 - six days after Jonathan Pollard was unjustly sentenced to life, the Conference of Presidents sent a letter to George Shultz Secretary of State, pledging the support of the Jewish community and clearly signaling that the Pollard issue is of no consequence to the Jews. The Conference promised in that letter not to intervene on behalf of Jonathan Pollard - a promise which Jewish leaders have kept to this day. The revelation of Malcolm Hoenlein's dirty little secret is just the latest chapter in an on-going saga of betrayal.

See Also: