Former National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane's Letter to President Obama

February 9, 2012

President Barak Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to urge the exercise of your authority to grant clemency in the case of Jonathan Pollard, and to commute his life sentence to time served. Mr. Pollard was investigated, and ultimately charged with disclosing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States while I served as former President Reagan's national security advisor. Others including cabinet officers, experienced jurists, and officials serving at the time who were intimately involved in reviewing the evidence, have testified and stated formally in writing their strong views that the original sentence was far too severe. I agree with that judgment.

In addition, however, I must add that the affidavit filed by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, was surely inspired in large part by his deeply held animus toward the State of Israel. His extreme bias against Israel was manifested in recurrent episodes of strong criticism and unbalanced reasoning when decisions involving Israel were being made.

In this case, the resultant imprisonment of Mr. Pollard for more than 26 years is more than excessive and well beyond what any court would award for the same action today. Mr. Weinberger's unduly harsh and unwarranted severity was disgraceful and mean-spirited. It has resulted in a great injustice that I encourage you to mitigate by awarding clemency and commuting Jonathan Pollard's sentence to time served.


Robert C. McFarlane

  • See Also: PDF of this letter