Transcript: IDF Radio Interview with Former US Undersecretary of Defense Lawrence Korb
J4JPnews release - Courtesy of IMRA - November 1, 2010
Former US Undersecretary of Defense Lawrence Korb was interviewed by IDF Radio's Ilil Shachar on 31 October 2010 for the morning news magazine "Ma Boer" (What's Burning?). Although the program was in Hebrew, the segment with Dr. Korb is in English.
This interview was part of a wave of publicity following the publication of a 27 September letter which Korb wrote to President Obama calling for the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard.
Korb wrote that Pollard has served far too long for the offense he committed by passing classified information to an ally, Israel, and he stated that Pollard's sentence was politically biased and unfair. "Based on my first-hand knowledge," Korb told the President, "I can say with confidence that the severity of Pollard's sentence is a result of an almost visceral dislike of Israel and the special place it occupies in our foreign policy on the part of my boss at the time, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger." See the full text of letter.
When there was no response from the President, the letter was released publicly and followed by op-eds in the LA Times and the Jerusalem Post and by this interview with IDF Radio. The transcript below was provided courtesy of Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director of IMRA.
IDF RADIO: In the article that you wrote for the LA Times ou are saying that in Pollard's case the punishment does not fit the crime. Why not?
KORB: Well, because Jonathan Pollard was not charged with treason. He was charged basically with giving information to a friendly country. And while you cannot give away secrets to classified information to another country, If it's given to an ally of the United States, which Israel is, the sentence usually is something like about seven or eight years, not life in prison. Also the prosecutors, to get him to plead guilty and not have a trial which could have released a lot of embarrassing information agreed not to ask for a life sentence but when he was given a life sentence by the judge the prosecutors didn't complain. So Jonathan has been in jail for longer than anyone in our history who has given information to a friendly country
IDF RADIO: You are saying that information that Casper Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense, at the time of Pollard 's arrest gave to the court implying that some of the information that Pollard had supplied to Israel made its way to the Soviet Union was incorrect. Did Weinberger know that he is giving false information to the court back then?
KORB: Not at the time because he knew that there was information getting to the Soviet Union and he assumed that since Pollard had given this information to Israel that somehow either the Soviets penetrated the Israeli government or maybe Israel was trading information with the Soviet Union so that Jewish people could be released from the Soviet union. But what happened was there were two other spies actually working at the CIA, Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, and when they were arrested years later we found out that in fact they were the ones who were giving the information . It was not coming from Pollard to Israel to the Soviet Union.
IDF RADIO: Is there any security reason that the information that Weinberger gave to court is still classified?
KORB: Probably people are concerned about what we call sources and methods. My personal opinion is no. I mean, so many years have passed that whatever information should have been classified then could be released now.
IDF RADIO: It is obviously not easy to stand for someone who has spied in your country. But you sent a letter to President Obama and a few days ago published the article in the LA Times. Why did you do that? Why did you decide to do that?
KORB: I did it because I think that Jonathan Pollard has served way too long for the crime that he committed. I think, as I put in that article, he deserves to be severely punished, but I don't think that he should be punished more than people who have given information to Saudi Arabia or China or other countries. He is being punished like people who provided information to an enemy of the United States. And so therefore I think that, basically, justice demands that he be released after having served twice as long as anyone who has ever provided information to a friendly country.