NPR Recalcitrant: Pollard Attorneys Continue to Demand a Retraction

Justice4JPnews - June 11, 2007

NPR (National Public Radio) remains unrepentant about portraying Jonathan Pollard as a spy for the Russians at the height of the Cold War. NPR claims that it owes no retraction because it did not specifically state that Jonathan Pollard was a mole for the KGB. Here is Lauer and Semmelman's latest letter to NPR. NPR's response to which the attorneys' letter refers, follows below.

Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 2:21 PM
To: Mary Louise Kelly / National Public Radio
Subject: RE: U.S. Official Russian Espionage at Cold War Levels

Dear Ms. Kelly,

You choose to name Russia, China, Iran, and Cuba, all of whom, at pertinent times, were enemies of the United States. Conspicuously absent from your list is Israel, which has always been an ally of the United States. Yet, immediately after naming the four enemy nations, you identify Jonathan Pollard. The message is unmistakable: Jonathan Pollard spied for an enemy of the United States. Basic fairness mandates that a clarification be issued.

We take issue with your exceedingly literal approach to the story. The impact on the listener must be assessed on the basis of the story as a whole, not on the basis of certain phrases considered in isolation. The clear implication of the story was to tie Jonathan Pollard to espionage on behalf of an enemy country, not an ally. Literal truth does not justify leaving a false impression with your listeners.


Eliot Lauer & Jacques Semmelman

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP 101 Park Avenue New York, NY 10178

Here is the response from NPR to which the above letter refers:

From: Mary Louise Kelly []
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 12:45 PM
Subject: RE: U.S. Official Russian Espionage at Cold War Levels

Dear Mr. Lauer and Mr. Semmelman,

Thank you for your letter of June 7th.

We are aware that Mr. Pollard did not spy for the KGB, which is why we did not say he did.

I forward below a copy of the relevant portion of my story. In my opening lines, I count nine words or phrases that make clear I'm not talking just about Russians.

We do not feel a retraction is necessary.

Mary Louise Kelly
Senior Intelligence Correspondent
National Public Radio

MARY LOUISE KELLY: Let's start with the fact that the Russians are hardly alone in their efforts to spy on the United States.

Mr. JOEL F. BRENNER (Executive, Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive): There are about 140 intelligence services around the world and the number one target of just about every one of them is the United States of America.

KELLY: That's Joel Brenner. He's in-charge of all U.S. counterintelligence efforts. Counterintelligence being the business of identifying and dealing with threats from foreign spy services that are trying to steal U.S. secrets.

Brenner says the Russians are among the best in the business.

Mr. BRENNER: We tend to put them in bands or tiers, and we've identified Russia, China, Iran, and Cuba as the most persistent, pervasive threats that we deal with.

KELLY: Inside Brenner's offices in suburban northern Virginia runs a full wall of photographs. They call it the wall of shame - photos of Jonathan Pollard, Robert Hanssen and dozens of other Americans who worked as double agents, selling American secrets. Most of these are Cold War era, many of those pictured sold their secrets to the KGB.

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