Doc: Historic Bi-Partisan Senators' Letter to President Obama

October 26, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We, the undersigned, retired U.S. Senators - Republican and Democrat - join the many other distinguished Americans to urge you to exercise your power of clemency and commute Jonathan Pollard's prison sentence to time served.

Mr. Pollard will complete his 26th year of incarceration on November 21, 2011 and begin his 27th year of an unprecedented life sentence (seven of which were spent in solitary confinement). He was indicted on one count of passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States - an offense that normally results in a 2-4 year sentence. He pled guilty under a plea agreement with which he fully complied but which was ignored by the sentencing judge. Mr. Pollard is the only person in the history of the U.S. to receive a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally.

We do not condone espionage, nor do we underestimate the gravity of Pollard's crime. But it is patently clear that Mr. Pollard's sentence is severely disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) a gross miscarriage of justice.

Religious leaders from all faiths and prominent national figures have publicly stated their support for Mr. Pollard's release: Vice President Quayle, Secretaries of State Kissinger and Schultz, Attorney General Mukasey, assistant secretary of defense, Dr. Korb, Senators McCain, Schumer, Congressmen Frank, Waxman, Towns and thirty-nine Democrat members of the House, Republican Congressmen Grimm, West, Turner, Rev. Hesburgh of Notre Dame, Benjamin Hooks of the NAACP, Evangelist leaders Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, Pastor John Hagee, former federal judge Leighton, former NYC Mayors Giuliani, Dinkins, former U.S. Solicitor General Olsen, Harvard Law professors Dershowitz, Ogletree, and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. Perhaps most noteworthy, similar support has come from those who have seen the classified information of the damage that Pollard caused - former CIA Director Woolsey, former Deputy Attorney General Heymann, and former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator DeConcini.

After more than two decades in the harshest prison conditions, Mr. Pollard's health is declining. He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions as has the State of Israel, and by all accounts has served as a model prisoner.

Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency - as well as a matter of basic compassion and American justice.

Respectfully and sincerely,

Senator Steven Symms (R-ID) (1981-1993)

Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ) (1977-1995)
Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1993-1994)

Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) (1979-1997)
Senate Majority Whip (1985-1987), Minority Whip (1987-1995); Chairman, Committee on Committee on Intelligence (1995-1997); Veterans' Affairs (1995-1997)

Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) (1981-2011)
Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1995-1997); Chairman, Senate Committee on the Judiciary (2005-2007); Chairman, Committee on the Veterans' Affairs (1997-2001)

Secretary Spencer Abraham; Secretary of Energy (2001-2005); Senate (R-MI) (1995- 2001)

Senator Birch Evans Bayh II (D-IN)
(1963-1981); Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1977-1981)

Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) (1993-2011)
Ranking Member, Committee on Rules and Administration (2009-2011); Counsel to Minority Leader (2008-2010)

Senator Donald W. Stewart (D-AL) (1978-1981)

Senator Connie Mack (R-FL) (1989-2001)
Chairman, Senate Republican Conference (1997-2001); Chairman, Joint Economic Committee (1994-1996; 1998-2001); Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1999-2001)

Senator Joseph Davies Tydings (D-MD) (1965-1971)
Chairman, Committee on the District of Columbia (1969-1971)
United States Attorney (1961-1963)

Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) (1989-2007)

Senator Timothy E. Wirth (D-CO) (1987-1993)
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs (1994-1997)

Senator Larry Pressler (R-SD) (1979-1997)
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (1995-1997)

Senator Robert Burren Morgan (D-NC) (1975-1981)

Senator David Durenberger (R-MN) (1978-1995)
Chairman, Senate Select Committee on 2011); Chairman, Senate Committee on Intelligence (1985-1987)

Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) (1992-2011)
Chairman, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (2007-2011); Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee (1999-2011)

Senator Donald Nickles (R-OK) (1981-2005)
Chairman, National Republican Senatorial Committee (1989-1991); Chairman, Republican Policy Committee (1991-1997); Chairman, Committee on the Budget (2003-2005); Senate Majority Whip (1996-2001); Minority Whip (2001-2003)

Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) (1991-2009)
Chairman, Republican Policy Committee (1997-2003); Chairman, Special Committee on Aging (2003-2005); Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs (2005-2007)

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