Rose Bouboushian - Court House News Service (CNS) - April 14, 2016
(CN) - Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard may reopen his case claiming that "invasive" GPS monitoring violates his parole conditions and constitutional rights, a federal judge ruled.
Nearly 30 years after his arrest on Nov. 21, 1985, for delivering classified documents to Israeli government representatives while working as a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, Pollard filed a habeas petition in New York Federal Court on Nov. 20, 2015.
Several times between 1984 and 1985, "Pollard's unlawful activity involved physically removing hard copy documents from a government agency building, placing them in a suitcase, handing the suitcase to an Israeli government representative for photocopying, and later returning the documents to the government building," the petition states.
After pleading guilty in 1986 to one count of conspiracy to commit espionage without intent to harm the United States, Pollard was sentenced to life in prison the next year.
But Robert McFarlane, the U.S. national security advisor at the time of Pollard's arrest, declared in June 2015 that, "I see no reason for concern that Mr. Pollard might still deliver classified information to someone. To the extent Mr. Pollard even recalls any classified information, it would date back 30 years or more, and would have no value to anyone today."
Former Sen. Dennis DeConcini, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time of Pollard's arrest, affirmed McFarlane's statement days later.
Pollard was then released on "mandatory" parole the day he filed his habeas petition, which says his parole conditions are "irreconcilable" with the parole commission's findings and are unconstitutional.
"Specifically, the parole commission is requiring that Mr. Pollard submit to (i) invasive GPS monitoring of his person, together with a curfew and travel restrictions; and (ii) invasive and career-impairing monitoring of his computer use (not only at home but even at his place of employment)," the petition states. (Parentheses in original).
Yet Pollard claims he has been a "model prisoner" throughout his 30-year term, with no frequent or serious violations in his record, and no indication that his conduct should result in a denial of release on mandatory parole.
Plus, the GPS and computer monitoring conditions of his parole have "no relationship to Mr. Pollard's offense or history, or to the goals of criminal sentencing," Pollard claims. He says the monitoring "is not necessary to protect the public, and is totally unjustified."
The petition notes that, during his years of espionage, "At no time did Mr. Pollard use the Internet. The Internet did not exist at that time."
The monitoring of his work computer "essentially ensures that Mr. Pollard (a highly employable graduate of Stanford University) cannot work in a professional capacity, in derogation of the most basic principle of parole, which is to rehabilitate the parolee and reintegrate him into society," the petition states.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest declined in December to make changes to Pollard's parole, saying she was reluctant to make changes without giving the parole commission another chance to explain their findings on remand.
But the judge agreed to reopen the case Tuesday, ordering the parties to explain whether relevant information remains "secret" or "top secret."
Oral argument is slated for June 13, the two-page order states.
Pollard's attorney, Eliot Lauer with Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle in New York; U.S. Parole Commission spokesman Patrick Rodenbush; and Southern New York U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Dawn Dearden declined to comment on the matter.
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