[Click here to go to specific cases.]
The links below access individual articles and collections of articles on their own sub-pages. These represent a sampling of cases that starkly illustrate the unuallly harsh treatment and grossly disproportionate sentence that Jonathan Pollard received when compared with other recent cases of espionage for both allies and enemies of the US.
For example, compare and contrast the treatment of Jonathan Pollard with that of Steven Lalas, a Greek American who compromised the identities of American agents in the Balkans. Although Lalas did not cooperate, the Government still honored his plea agreement and sentenced him to only 14 years. Pollard's less serious offense and full cooperation with the Government netted him a life sentence, in complete violation of his plea agreement.
Worse still is the case of Lcmdr Michael Schwartz, a non-Jew who spied for Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US, and who got not a single day in prison. Compare that to the life sentence Pollard, a Jew, received for spying for a different ally, Israel. Schwartz was treated with kid gloves and given only a slap on the wrist and a kiss good-bye for his offense - dismissal from his Navy job and loss of rank and pension. Compare and contrast that with the life sentence Pollard received for a similar offense.
Even those who committed far more serious offenses and who spied for enemies of the US received far less severe sentences than Pollard. For example, compare the case of Clayton Lonetree who sold the floor plans of the American embassies in Moscow and Vienna as well as the identities of American agents to Soviet Union, a hostile country. Lonetree's 25 year sentence was soon reduced to 20. Lontree, convicted in 1987, the same year as Pollard went free in 1996, after serving only 9 years. Pollard remains in prison in the 21st century with no end in sight.
Or take the case of Albert Sombolay who spied for Iraq during the Gulf War and endangered the lives of American soldiers by selling samples of American chemical protective gear to the enemy. Sambolay got 35 years and subsequent reductions in his sentence brought it down to 19 years with further appeals pending until it just dropped off the screen. Or the case of Aldrich Ames, a high ranking CIA official who spied for the Soviet Union. Ames was responsible for the deaths of at least 11 American agents and for compromising a number of American programs. Although his crime was far more serious, Ames received the same sentence that Pollard received for his 1 count of passing classifed information to an ally - life in prison.
The stark contrast between the Pollard case and other recent cases of espionage readily illustrates why Appellate Court Justice Steven Williams described the Pollard case as, "a fundamental miscarriage of justice."
See also the Comparative Sentences charts.
(In alphabetical order by last name)
- Mohammad Reza Alavi
- Alejandro Alonso
- Aldrich Ames
- Michael Ray Aquino
- Leandro Aragoncillo
- David Boone
- Thomas Dolce
- Stanislav Gusev
- Ahmed Al Halabi
- Robert Hanssen
- Abdel Kader Helmy
- William Kampiles
- Robert Kim
- Steven Lalas
- Cheri Leberknight
- Peter Lee
- Wen Ho Lee
- Robert Lipka
- Clayton Lonetree
- Xiaodong Sheldon Meng
- Ronald Montaperto
- Ana Montes
- Harold Nicholson
- William Colton Millay
- Ronald Pelton
- Earl Pitts
- J. Reece Roth
- Albert Sambolay
- Joseph & Amarylis Santos
- Michael Schwartz
- Michael Walker
- Cuban Spies
- FALN Terrorists
- Mar. 10, 1987: Soured Promise
- June 9, 1987:An Ugly Distortion of Justice
- Feb. 5, 1991: Iraq Uses Techniques in Spying Against Its Former Tutor, the U.S.
- Sept. 4, 1991: Even Pollard Deserves Better Than Government Sandbagging
- Mar. 9, 1999: Tough Questions For The President
- Dec: The Robert Philip Hanssen Case: Excerpt From "The Bureau And The Mole"
- June 8: Unequal Justice: Bitter South Koreans Rally Behind Spy Convicted in U.S.
- June 10: Pollard And Kim: Spot The Differences
- Sept. 17: New Spy Case: Taiwanese Defend Contact With Top State Official: The Washington Times
- June 26: Cuban Stirrings Off The Radar - The Alberto Coll Case: Washington Times
- Dec. 13: Ex-aide [ Keyser] Pleads Guilty At State: The Washington Times
- June 23: Ex-DIA analyst admits passing secrets to China: Washington Times
- June 25: Life for Pollard Vs. 10 years for Montaperto: Anti-Semitism the only Explanation: The Washington Times
- July 31: Aquino Plea Bargain Drops Espionage Charge & Life sentence: ABS-CBN Interactive
- Sept. 8: Leak cost U.S. spy links to Chinese arms sales: The Washington Times
- Sept. 22: Cuban Spy Damage - The Ana Montes Case: The Washington Times
- Dec. 20: Alvarez - Another Cuban Spy Case with Charges Downgraded: Washington Times
- July 18: Six years for Aquino, co-conspirator in espionage plot: Associated Press
- July 19: Ten years for Aragoncillo, aide to VPs Cheney and Gore: InformationWeek
- Dec. 3: A Hizballah spy in the FBI and CIA: Robert Spencer
- Feb. 11: Several arrested in Chinese spy sweep: Washington Times
- Apr. 24: Column One: Hardball with Washington: Caroline Glick
- Jan. 20: Can anyone explain this? Former NASA researcher pleads guilty to selling weapons technology to South Korea: The Plain Dealer
- Oct. 2: Out of Guantanamo and Into a Canadian Prison, with sentence drastically reduced: Ezra Levant, The Wall Street Journal
- '10-year max sentence for Iranian spying on US proves Pollard must be set free': Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post
- May 13: Editorial: What's Wrong With This Picture? Hamodia [NY]
- Aug. 1: FBI Employee Pleads Guilty To Acting As An Agent Of The Chinese Government: DOJ News Release
- Aug. 1: FBI employee pleads guilty to acting as agent of China: Adam Goldman - The Washington Post
- Aug. 1: F.B.I. Employee Pleads Guilty to Acting as an Agent of China: Benjamin Weiser And Megan Jula - The New York Times
- Aug. 3: Obama issues 214 commutations for drug offenders: Samantha Reyes and Kevin Liptak - CNN
- May 17: Former CIA Officer Sentenced to Prison for Espionage: OPA - Department of Justice
- Sept. 24: Ex-intelligence officer gets 10 years in espionage caseMorgan Smith: Miltary Times/The Associated
- Nov. 22: Ex-C.I.A. Officer Sentenced to 19 Years in Chinese Espionage Conspiracy: The New York Times - Zach Montague
- The Comparative Sentences Charts
- The Facts Page and its sub-pages
- The Court Case 2000-01 Page
- The Abdel Kader Helmy Case