'Joe Biden opposed freeing Jonathan Pollard'
'NY Times' reports US vice president told rabbis in Florida "over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time"; Obama is yet to decide.
Jpost.com Staff - The Jerusalem Post - October 2, 2011
US Vice President Joe Biden opposed offering clemency to jailed Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard , The New York Times quoted Biden as saying in an article published on Saturday.
US President Barack Obama has yet to respond to a request from President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to grant clemency to Pollard.
"President Obama was considering clemency, but I told him, 'Over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time,'" Biden said. "If it were up to me, he would stay in jail for life."
Biden allegedly made the statement during a meeting with rabbis in Boca Raton, Florida last week, when asked by one of the rabbis why Pollard had not been released.
In a press release circulated by the Justice For Jonathan organization, it is stated that the vice president gave "absolutely no clue as to the reason for his flip-flop," which contradicts a video interview he gave in 2007 in which he expressed support for Pollard's release via commutation of his sentence to time served:
Biden also did not offer any explanation, the statement said, to contradict the professional opinions expressed by the former head of the CIA, the former- attorney- general, several former secretaries of state, the former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the former White House legal counsel and "a host of others intimately familiar with the case, who all think freedom for Pollard is long overdue."
The group stated that Biden's change of heart on Pollard supported The New York Times contention that Biden's recent declaration that Pollard should never be released was a "stunt to take the hit for his boss, Obama." The president has been repeatedly criticized for his silence in response to requests by high ranking American official requests for Pollard's release, according to the group.
The The New York Times reported that Obama is relying on Biden to help him retain the Jewish vote, seen by many to be slipping to the Republicans.
Next month Pollard will complete his 26th year of a life sentence.
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