A recently-declassified CIA damage assessment from 1987, which reveals that Jonathan Pollard never sought to disclose information about the United States but rather only on Israel’s enemies, is behind a renewed push for clemency.
New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D-Bronx), New York City Council members Letitia James (D-Brooklyn), and James Halloran (R-Queens) lead the request of nearly 100 New York legislators at the state and city levels.
In 1985, Pollard, a civilian American Naval intelligence analyst, was indicted on the single count of passing classified information to Israel, a U.S. ally, without intent to harm the U.S. Based on a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel, Israel was legally entitled to this intelligence, which concerned Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical and biological warfare capabilities being developed for use against Israel. Pollard never had a trial but received a life sentence with a recommendation that he never be paroled. Pollard has served nearly three decades of his life sentence.
The legislators’ letter to the president asks him to use his Constitutional power to commute Pollard’s sentence to time served. It clearly points out that “the recently declassified 1987 CIA damage assessment reveals that Mr. Pollard never sought to disclose information on the United States but rather only on an ally’s enemies. In addition, Mr. Pollard’s sentence was based on the presumption that he violated his plea agreement by granting an unauthorized interview. We believe it improbable that an interview in prison could occur without the prior authorization or awareness of government officials.
Pollard does not deny that he broke the law, the letter continues. “However, he is now in his 27th year in prison, most of these years in solitary confinement, which is far more than others who were found guilty of similar activity on behalf of countries that are not adversaries of the U.S. have served. We believe and hope you’ll agree that the time that Mr. Pollard has served is more than sufficient from the standpoint of punishment and deterrence.”
After a personal visit with Pollard at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina in 2007, Hikind reflected, “I can attest to the fact that Jonathan is remorseful for his actions. He acknowledges that he broke the law. All he is asking for is proportionality, and today we asked President Obama to give him that much. I hope and pray to G-d that our request is granted.”
The signatories to the letter requesting clemency are: State Senators Adams, Diaz, Espaillat, Gianaris, Hannonk, Hassell-Thompson, Klein, Krueger, Oppenheimer, Parker, Perkins, Sampson, Savino, Smith, Squadron, Stewart-Cousins, Storobin, Assembly Members Abbate, Abinanti, Arroyo, Benedetto, Braunstein, Brennan, Bronson, Brook-Krasny, Cahill, Calhoun, Camar, Canestrari, Castro, Clark, Colton, Cook, Crespo, Cusick, Cymbrowitz, DenDekker, Dinowitz, Farrell, Fitzpatrick, Gantt, Glick, Goldfeder, Gottfried, Heastie, Hevesi, Hikind, Jacobs, Jeffee, Jeffries, Latimer, Lavine, Lopez, maisel, Malliotakis, Mayer, McEneny, McKevitt, Meng, (Joel) Miller, (Donald) Miller, (Michael) Miller, Ortiz, Perry, Roberts, Robinson, Rodriguez, Rosenthal, Russell, Saladino, Scarborough, Schimel, (Assembly Speaker) Silver, Simanowitz, Simotas, Stevenson, Thiele, Titone, Titus, Weinstein, Weisenberg, Weprin, Wright; New York City Council Members Fidler, Greenfield, Halloran, James, Lander, Nelson, and Recchia.