As Peres Visits The U.S., California Congressman Asks Obama To Release Pollard
June 12, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Troodler
As Israeli President Shimon Peres embarks on a historic visit to the United States, which will culminate with his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, Congressman Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, issued a formal written request 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).
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. No one else in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for this offense.
Congressman Sherman, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1997, is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the senior Democrat on the Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, and a senior member of the Financial Services Committee.
In his letter, Congressman Sherman references President Peres' visit and notes that the Israeli president has publically stated that releasing Jonathan Pollard would be a humanitarian act.
"I urge you to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard, who has served over 26 years in prison on a life sentence for criminal activities that would warrant a prison term of far less than life," wrote Congressman Sherman in his letter to the President. "As you know, Israeli President Shimon Peres is visiting the United States this week. As President Peres has said, it would be viewed as a humanitarian gesture for you to grant Mr. Pollard clemency."
"Together with other leading members of Congress who share my feelings, I hope you will use your constitutional power to commute the sentence of Mr. Pollard," continued Congressman Sherman.
Congressman Sherman's letter to the President comes as a bi-partisan "Dear Colleague" letter is being circulated in the U.S. House of Representatives in support of clemency for Jonathan Pollard. Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ) are soliciting signatures on a letter to President Obama, which urges the President to commute Pollard's sentence to time served.
Numerous American leaders have called for a commutation of Pollard's sentence, including former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; former Secretary of State George Shultz; former CIA Director James Woolsey; former Attorney General Michael Mukasey; former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane; former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb; former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum; former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Senator Dennis DeConcini; 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; and Senators John McCain and Charles Schumer.
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.
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 Congressman Sherman's letter to President Obama:
June 11, 2012
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
I urge you to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard, who has served over 26 years in prison on a life sentence for criminal activities that would warrant a prison term of far less than life.
As you know, Israeli President Shimon Peres is visiting the United States this week. As President Peres has said, it would be viewed as a humanitarian gesture for you to grant Mr. Pollard clemency.
Commuting Mr. Pollard's sentence does not imply any doubt about his wrongdoings. I believe that Mr. Pollard's actions were criminal and contrary to U.S. national security interests. He has admitted to and expresses remorse for his actions. However, I also believe that Mr. Pollard's time in prison has been sufficiently long both for punishing him for his actions and deterring future, similar offenses. Most importantly, individuals found guilty of similar activities on behalf of allies like Israel have served far shorter sentences.
The Secretary of State at the time of Mr. Pollard's arrest, George Shultz, as well as former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dennis DeConcini, and numerous other prominent former national security officials and members of Congress favor Mr. Pollard's release. Former Attorney General Mukasey has argued based on his legal experience that, given the nature of Mr. Pollard's actions, "a life sentence can only be considered utterly disproportionate to the crime."
Together with other leading members of Congress who share my feelings, I hope you will use your constitutional power to commute the sentence of Mr. Pollard.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Member of Congress
Paul Revere Public Relations, LLC
(888) 897-7450 (phone & fax)
See Also: PDF of Congressman Sherman's Letter