Bud McFarlane: Pollard's Life Sentence "a great injustice"
Pres. Reagan's National Security Advisor Slams Weinberger For "Extreme Bias Against Israel"
February 16, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Troodler
REAGAN'S FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SLAMS WEINBERGER FOR HIS "EXTREME BIAS AGAINST ISRAEL;" CALLS POLLARD'S LIFE SENTENCE A "GREAT INJUSTICE"
Former National Security Advisor Robert C. "Bud" McFarlane, who served under President Ronald Reagan from 1983-1985, recently wrote to President Obama and asked that he commute Jonathan Pollard's sentence to time served (the full text of the letter appears below and a copy is attached). In his correspondence to the President, McFarlane calls former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger's affidavit in the Pollard case part of the "manifestation" of Weinberger's "recurrent episodes of strong criticisms and unbalanced reasoning when decisions involving Israel were being made." Similar criticism of Weinberger had been made by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, who stated that Pollard's life sentence was due to Weinberger's "visceral hatred of Israel."
In his letter to President Obama, McFarlane cited Weinberger's inaccurate affidavit as the primary cause for Pollard's disproportionate sentence. McFarlane noted to the President that Weinberger's well-known bias toward Israel undoubtedly led him to file the damaging affidavit that essentially sealed Pollard's fate.
"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," wrote McFarlane. "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."
While rumors of the role that Secretary of Defense Weinberger's anti-Israel sentiments played in the Pollard case have been debated for years, McFarlane, who as National Security Advisor dealt closely with Weinberger on matters of national intelligence, unequivocally confirms that Weinberger had an anti-Israel agenda in mind when he weighed in on the Pollard case.
McFarlane's call for clemency for Jonathan Pollard is especially significant in that he was the National Security Advisor at the time when Pollard was investigated and ultimately charged with disclosing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States.
McFarlane's letter is also extremely noteworthy in that it conveys to the President that the major decision makers who were intimately involved in the Pollard case and who were most informed on the impact of Pollard's actions have all issued public calls for Pollard's release, including former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Senator David Durenberger, who served as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time of Pollard's conviction, former Congressman Lee Hamilton, who served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Jonathan Pollard's sentencing, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, and former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane.
In addition, former CIA Director James Woolsey and former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Senator Dennis DeConcini, each of whom reviewed the classified intelligence reports about the Pollard case, have publically called for Pollard's release.
In addition to being a distinguished and well-regarded member of the Reagan Administration, McFarlane is a decorated Marine veteran who retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and received a Bronze Star, Distinguished Service Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal. He is the co-founder of McFarlane Associates Inc., an international consulting company, where he currently serves as Chairman.
McFarlane'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 White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum and former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, each of whom is fully aware of all of the contents of Pollard's classified file and with the facts and circumstances of this case, have long been on record calling for Pollard's release.
In addition, some of the other prominent American leaders who have called for clemency for Pollard include former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Vice President Dan Quayle, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Republican Senator John McCain, and Democratic Senator Charles Schumer.
Further, a bi-partisan group of eighteen prominent former United States Senators, including four of whom are former Chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and one of whom is a former U.S. Attorney and well-known federal prosecutor, recently called on President Obama to commute Pollard's sentence.
Jonathan Pollard has spent more than 26 years of an unprecedented life sentence languishing in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States. The median sentence for this offense is 2 to 4 years. On November 21, 2011, Pollard entered his 27th year in captivity. No one else in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for this offense.
Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has deteriorated significantly during his more than 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 the Robert 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 Robert McFarlane's Letter to President Obama