Rep Barney Frank Renews Call for Clemency for Jonathan Pollard

Media Release - Office of Congressman Barney Frank

Tuesday, August 2, 2011
For Immediate Release

Contact: Harry Gural
Phone: (202) 225-9400
Cell: (202) 281-0670

Frank Renews Call for Clemency for Jonathan Pollard - Speaks on House Floor

WASHINGTON - On the floor of the House of Representatives, Congressman Barney Frank renewed his call for President Obama to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel.

In his speech, Frank makes it clear that he does not in any way condone Pollard's crime. However, Frank states that Pollard's sentence is unusually harsh given the circumstances, and that that he amount of time he has served clearly more than suffices as a deterrent for anyone else thinking of engaging in espionage, whether on behalf of an enemy or, as in this case, a close ally. Furthermore, says Frank, comparing Mr. Pollard's sentence to that of many others, including many who in fact did spy for nations hostile to the United States, underlines the case that he has now served far beyond what is necessary.

Congressman Frank concluded his remarks stating that in addition to the argument based on Pollard's individual circumstances, commuting his sentence "would be a sign of U.S.-Israeli relations that I think would help strengthen the climate for peace."

The text of Congressman Frank's speech is attached. (PDF) (Note: Text of the speech also appears below.)

Also attached is a letter signed by Congressman Frank and thirty-seven other Members of Congress calling for Mr. Pollard to be released - not with a pardon, but with a commutation of the sentence.

Text of Congressman Frank' Speech


(Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, earlier this year a group of Members sent a letter to President Obama urging him to grant clemency at this point and commute the sentence for Jonathan Pollard.

Jonathan Pollard spied on the United States on behalf of Israel. He should not have done that, and he was punished.

But the punishment for that espionage has gone on longer than anything comparable.

I believe that there is a personal argument for the clemency, and there is also the fact that American-Israeli relations are always important, and are particularly important now. We are asking the Israelis to take some steps towards a negotiated peace that may or may not be possible for them to take. Knowing that America recognizes the strength of that friendship is a very important factor in our persuading them of that.

And I believe that in addition to the arguments based on the excessive length of the sentence, I think, the fact that Mr. Pollard has served for so long, clearly the deterrent effect is there, we are not asking that he be pardoned, we are not condoning his crime, we are saying that in addition to the personal argument, it would be a sign of U.S.- Israeli relations that I think would help strengthen the climate for peace. I will be submitting a copy of the letter at a later time that we sent to the President for inclusion.

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