Pat Robertson to President Obama: Free Jonathan Pollard
Justice4JPnews - April 5, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Troodler
FAMED CHRISTIAN LEADER APPEALS TO OBAMA FOR POLLARD'S RELEASE
M.G. "Pat" Robertson, a well-known Christian religious leader, joined a broad spectrum of other prominent communal and religious leaders, governmental leaders, and national intelligence leaders who have recently appealed to President Obama to free Jonathan Pollard.
Robertson has been an outspoken advocate for Pollard's release for many years and on many occasions has decried the great injustice that the case represents.
In a letter sent to the President, Robertson called Pollard's sentence "disproportionate" and urged the President "to do the compassionate thing" and release Pollard (the full text of the letter appears below and a copy is attached).
In his correspondence to the White House, Robertson also referred to the fact that Pollard has become a scapegoat for the crimes committed by Aldrich Ames. Ames is a former counter-intelligence officer and analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency who was convicted in 1994 of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. Ames, who compromised more CIA assets than virtually any other Soviet spy in American history, betrayed the identity of more than ten high-level CIA and FBI sources who were reporting on Soviet activities. Prior to his own exposure and arrest, Ames participated in the damage assessment of Pollard's espionage activities and is believed to have case the blame for his own crimes upon Pollard.
"Pollard's sentence has been totally disproportionate to any concept of what we have of justice," wrote Robertson in his letter to the President. "I respectfully urge your administration to do the compassionate thing and commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard to the time he has already served."
Pollard has spent more than 25 years languishing in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States.
Over the years, Robertson has become a widely recognized religious broadcaster, television evangelist, and successful businessman. Robertson is the founder and chairman of The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Inc. Founded more than 50 years ago, CBN was the first Christian television network established in the United States. Under Robertson's leadership, CBN has become one of the world's largest television ministries and produces programming seen in 200 nations and heard in 70 languages. CBN's flagship program, The 700 Club, which is hosted by Robertson, can be seen in 97% of television markets across the U.S. and is one of the longest running religious television shows that reaches an average of one-million American viewers daily.
Robertson is also the founder of International Family Entertainment Inc., the Christian Coalition, Regent University, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation, American Center for Law and Justice, and The Flying Hospital, Inc.
The son of a former U.S. Senator, Robertson mounted a campaign to become the Republican nominee for president in 1988.
Robertson's public appeal for Pollard's release comes just several months after a broad-based interfaith coalition comprised of more than 500 members of the clergy and community leaders sent a letter to President Obama, in which they called on the President to commute Pollard's sentence. The signatories on the letter included prominent religious and communal leaders from a wide array of Christian and Jewish communities, including well-known conservative leader Gary Bauer who is the President of American Values, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh who is the President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, Pastor John Hagee who is the President and CEO of John Hagee Ministries and the Founder and Chairman of Christians United for Israel, and Bishop Chuck Leigh of the Apostolic Catholic Church who is the President of the Florida Council of Churches.
In addition, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, and Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York, each of whom had the opportunity to thoroughly review Pollard's classified file and is fully familiar with the circumstances of his case, have called for Pollard's release.
Henry Kissinger, who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and who was a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the time of Pollard's sentencing, sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he commute Pollard's sentence to time served.
Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. Congressman from Indiana who served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Jonathan Pollard's sentencing, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is currently member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, also called on President Obama to free Pollard.
In addition, numerous other American leaders have called for a commutation of Pollard's sentence, including former Vice President Dan Quayle, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Arkansas governor and former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Arlen Specter, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, Congressman Michael Grimm of New York, former New York City Mayor and former Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, and Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama's law professor at Harvard and remains friends with them today.
Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has severely deteriorated during his two-and-a-half decades in prison.
Pollard's life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others who have spied for allied nations and even when compared to those who have committed far more serious crimes by spying for an enemy state.
Jonathan Pollard never had a trial. At the request of both the U.S. and Israeli governments, he entered into a plea agreement, which spared both governments a long, difficult, expensive, and potentially embarrassing trial. Pollard fulfilled his end of the plea agreement, cooperating fully with the prosecution. Nevertheless, Pollard received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled - in complete violation of the pleas agreement he had reached with the government.
The following is the text of Pat Robertson's letter to President Obama:
March 28, 2011
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
Over the years I have joined hundreds of religious and political leaders, from both political parties, seeking the release of Jonathan Pollard.
From everything I can understand the betrayal of CIA secrets by Aldrich Ames was attributed to Jonathan Pollard. Pollard's sentence has been totally disproportionate to any concept of what we have of justice.
I respectfully urge your administration to do the compassionate thing and commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard to the time he has already served.
I understand that he is quite ill, and unless something is done he may die in federal custody.
Thank you for your consideration. I remain