Conservative Republican Congressman & Decorated War Hero Calls On Pres. Obama To Free Pollard
Justice4JPnews - June 5, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Troodler
CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN & DECORATED WAR HERO CALLS ON OBAMA TO FREE POLLARD
Republican Congressman Allen B. West of Florida is the latest American leader to call for Jonathan Pollard's release. Congressman West recently sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he commute Pollard's sentence to time served (The full text of the letter appears below).
Pollard has spent more than 25 years languishing in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States.
"Spending more than 5 years in solitary confinement in one of the most secure prisons in the United States, Mr. Pollard has learned his lesson," wrote Congressman West in his letter to the President. "He has spoken out both publicaly and privately, expressing incredible remorse for his crime, a crime which would normally carry a maximum 10-year sentence."
"Jonathan Pollard has served his time and has been sufficiently punished - it is time to grant him clemency," continued West.
Congressman West, who has high-level security clearances and a U.S. Intelligence background, joins an ever-growing list of Republicans with similar intelligence backgrounds and security clearances in calling for Pollard's release. While Republicans are generally well-known for their strong stance on national security, the call for clemency for Jonathan Pollard is generating a great deal of support among Republicans. Pollard's sentence is so grossly disproportionate that more and more Republicans with security backgrounds and high-level security clearances are calling for him to be freed as a matter of justice.
To make this point, Congressman West makes a stunning contrast between Pollard's continued incarceration and the release of the Lockerbie bomber. His reference to the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the Libyan terrorist responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which claimed the lives of 270 people, is especially noteworthy.
"After serving 26 years behind bars, Jonathan Pollard's health is deteriorating, as is his wife's," wrote Congressman West. "If we can consent to the release by the British of the Lockerbie bomber back to Libya due to health concern, how can we justify keeping Mr. Pollard behind bars when his crimes were clearly not as serious as a terrorist who murdered hundreds of Americans?"
Last year, it was discovered that the Obama administration quietly intervened to ensure that Megrahi, the person responsible for the heinous Lockerbie bombing, was set free, rather than being released in a prisoner transfer to be locked up in Libya, because of the claim that he had terminal prostate cancer and less than three months to live. That claim turned out to be false. The Lockerbie bomber is alive and well and living in Libya more than a year later.
Congressman West points out that Pollard's wrongdoing does not come anywhere close to the barbaric terrorist act committed by Megrahi, which took the lives of 270 innocent people, 190 of which were American citizens. Nevertheless, the United States inexplicably helped facilitate the terrorist's release, ostensibly on grounds of health concerns. Therefore, concludes West, if the United States can intervene to support freeing such a heinous terrorist, it should have no problem freeing Pollard, whose crime was far less serious and whose health is also deteriorating.
Congressman West was elected to represent Florida's 22nd Congressional District in 2010 and took office in January 2011. A Conservative Republican who is supportive of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement, West was the keynote speaker at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. Congressman West is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Small Business Committee.
During the course of a distinguished military career that spanned over two decades, West achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army.
Before retiring as an Army Lieutenant Colonel, West served as a Field Artillery Officer in several combat zones, including Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was battalion commander for the Army's 4th Infantry Division, and in Afghanistan, where he trained Afghan officers to take on the responsibility of securing their own country.
While serving in the military, West received a number of commendations, including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals (one with Valor), and a Valorous Unit Award.
Congressman West's letter to President Obama comes in the wake of numerous calls for clemency for Pollard from prominent government officials, high-ranking individuals in the national intelligence arena, leading professionals in the legal world, and renowned religious and communal leaders.
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, a wide array of 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, former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, former New York City Mayor and former Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani, Congressman Michael Grimm of New York, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, well-known conservative leader Gary Bauer, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame, well-known Christian leader Pat Robertson, Pastor John Hagee, 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.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also sent a letter to President Obama calling for Pollard's release.
In addition, several months ago thirty-nine members of Congress submitted a "Dear Colleague" letter led by Congressman Barney Frank in support of commuting Jonathan Pollard's sentence. Further, a broad-based interfaith coalition comprised of more than 500 members of the clergy and community leaders sent a letter to President Obama in January 2011 in which they called on the President to commute Pollard's sentence.
Jonathan Pollard recently wrote a letter containing a personal appeal for clemency to President Obama, which was hand-delivered to the President by Israeli President Shimon Peres. Peres also raised the issue of clemency for Pollard in a recent White House meeting with President Obama.
Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has deteriorated significantly 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. Despite the fact that Pollard entered into a plea agreement and fully cooperated with the prosecution in his case, he nonetheless received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled, which was in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government.
The following is the text of Congressman West's letter to President Obama:
June 2, 2011
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing you today to join hundreds of others in my ardent support for you to extend clemency to Jonathan Pollard. Mr. Pollard is currently serving his 26th year of a life sentence term for espionage against the United States.
Mr. Pollard, no doubt, committed a serious crime in submitting United States classified documents to Israel. While I do not condone this crime, I believe that Mr. Pollard has served his time. Spending more than 5 years in solitary confinement in one of the most secure prisons in the United States, Mr. Pollard has learned his lesson. He has spoken out both publically and privately, expressing incredible remorse for his crime, a crime which would normally carry a maximum 10-year sentence.
After serving 26 years behind bars, Jonathan Pollard's health is deteriorating, as is his wife's. If we can consent to the release by the British of the Lockerbie bomber back to Libya due to health concern, how can we justify keeping Mr. Pollard behind bars when his crimes were clearly not as serious as a terrorist who murdered hundreds of Americans?
Jonathan Pollard has served his time and has been sufficiently punished - it is time to grant him clemency.
Allen B. West
Member of Congress
See Also: Doc: Original Copy of Congressman Alan West's Letter to President Obama