Former UN Ambassador and Obama Confidant: No Need For Discussion, Free Pollard Now!
December 11, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Troodler
FORMER UN AMBASSADOR AND OBAMA CONFIDANT: NO NEED FOR DISCUSSION, FREE POLLARD NOW!
Governor Bill Richardson calls on Obama to add Pollard to Holiday Clemency List
Governor Bill Richardson, a close confidant of President Obama, called on the President to immediately free Jonathan Pollard. In his December 10th letter to President Obama, Richardson told the President that there is no longer a need to discuss Pollard's case and that his sentence should be commuted at once.
Richardson, who served in President Clinton's cabinet when Pollard's release was discussed 15 years ago, noted in his letter to the President that all those individuals with first-hand knowledge of Pollard's case now support his release.
"In my view, there is no longer a need for a discussion today," Richardson wrote to the President. "Virtually everyone who was in a high position of government - and dealt with the ramifications of what Pollard did at the time - now support his release."
Richardson pointed that many of these major decision makers have issued public calls for Pollard's release, among them former Secretary of State George Shultz, William Webster, the head of the FBI at the time of Pollard's arrest and the only man in history to head both the FBI and the CIA, 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 Pollard's sentencing, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, and former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, who served under President Ronald Reagan at the time when Pollard was investigated and ultimately charged with disclosing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States.
In his letter, Richardson lays the blame for the injustice of the Pollard case at the feet of then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, stating "...two people in high positions at the time have directly blamed the life sentence of Pollard on the affidavit filed in the case of Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger that went against the plea bargain (with Pollard and the government's commitment to not seek a life sentence)."
He continues, "One of those individuals was National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane who said the affidavit by Weinberger manifested his 'unbalanced views' on Israel and caused a 'great injustice' to Jonathan Pollard. Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb wrote that Weinberger had a 'visceral dislike' of Israel, which was displayed in his affidavit in the Pollard case."
Richardson concludes his letter by pointing out that this is the time of year when the holiday clemency list is being determined by the president and he urged that Pollard's name be added to the list.
Bill Richardson served as the governor of New Mexico from 2003 to 2011. Prior to becoming governor, Richardson was President Bill Clinton's U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Energy Secretary. A former U.S. Congressman, Richardson also served as Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. He has won international acclaim for playing key roles in securing the release of many prisoners and hostages over the past two decades.
Pollard has spent 28 years of an unprecedented life sentence in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States. The median time served 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. Pollard and the Government of Israel have both apologized and expressed remorse for their actions.
In addition, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Senator Dennis DeConcini, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, and former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, each of whom reviewed the classified intelligence reports about the Pollard case, have publically called for Pollard's release.
Further, some of the other prominent American leaders who have called for clemency for Pollard include Republican Senator John McCain, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Vice President Dan Quayle, and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. There have also been numerous bipartisan calls for Pollard's release that have emanated from Congress and numerous former Senators.
The following is the text of Governor Bill Richardson's letter to President Obama (a copy of the letter is attached):
December 10, 2013
Dear Honorable President Obama,
I am writing you to join many others in support of the commutation of Jonathan Pollard's sentence to time served so he can be released. I served in the cabinet, under President Clinton, when Pollard's release was discussed 15 years ago.
In my view, there is no longer a need for a discussion today. Virtually everyone who was in a high position of government - and dealt with the ramifications of what Pollard did at the time - now support his release. They include Secretary of State George Schultz, FBI Director and subsequent CIA Director William Webster, Chairman of Senate Intelligence David Durenberger, and Chairman of House Intelligence Lee Hamilton. Furthermore, two people in high positions at the time have directly blamed the life sentence of Pollard on the affidavit filed in the case of Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger that went against the plea bargain (with Pollard and the government's commitment to not seek a life sentence). One of those individuals was National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane, who said the affidavit by Weinberger manifested his "unbalanced views" on Israel and caused a "great injustice" to Jonathan Pollard. Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb wrote that Weinberger had a "visceral dislike" of Israel, which was displayed in his affidavit in the Pollard case.
Many other major figures from both parties have joined the call for Pollard's release. Those include Senator Schumer and McCain, Secretary of State Kissinger, former CIA Director Woolsey, and Chairman of Senate Intelligence DeConcini. Those in the Clinton administration, who saw the classified information and have come out for Pollard's release, include Counsel to the President Bernard Nussbaum and Assistant Attorney General Phil Heymann.
Israel and Pollard have both publicly apologized for their actions. Pollard cooperated with the government and has been a model prisoner. I have dealt with cases around the world of people who are imprisoned and I have decided to add my voice to this case because I believe it is right that Pollard be released. Releasing him now is consistent with the government commitment made by the prosecutors in writing in the plea bargain.
I am aware commutations are being considered at this time. I have been discussing the case with my dear friend and confidant Jason Lyons for quite some time (he serves as a senior Jewish liaison to millions of people of the Jewish faith). Please add Jonathan Pollard to the list of those to be released.
Very truly yours,
Governor Bill Richardson
To view a video clip of Governor Bill Richardson's 2008 endorsement of President Obama, click here.
See Also: Doc: Gov. Bill Richardson Letter to Pres. Obama: Free Pollard Now!