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Jerusalem - Report: US Won't Free Pollard Because CIA Believes He Wasn't Alone

Published on: April 11, 2012 02:16 PM
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Jerusalem - Multiple U.S. administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have refused to release Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life term after being convicted in 1987 of spying for Israel. Former CIA director George Tenet threatened to resign in 1998 if Pollard were freed, while last year Vice President Joe Biden said, “over my dead body are we going to let him out before his time.”

According to Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon (Yisrael Beitenu), this ongoing intransigence stems from the “baseless” belief among the most senior U.S. officials that Pollard was not working alone when he spied for Israel while working as a civilian intelligence analyst. Top CIA officials believe that Pollard had an accomplice whom Israel has refused to name or acknowledge, Ayalon told Israel Hayom.

Ayalon believes American intelligence officials have demanded that Pollard remain in prison and that no U.S. president has been willing to override this request. In 1998, Tenet told President Bill Clinton he would resign if Pollard were freed, pointing to what some have said is the lingering anger U.S. intelligence agencies felt about Pollard’s having passed top secret documents to the Israelis.

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Ayalon formerly served as the Israeli ambassador to Washington, and has worked through various diplomatic channels to win Pollard’s release, to no avail. Ayalon was also the first Israeli diplomat to visit the Israeli spy in prison.

Senior American officials, including the former head of the CIA have proposed this theory that Pollard had an accomplice and believed it, despite the fact “there is not a shred of evidence to support that claim,” Ayalon said.

Tenet reportedly made his threat after learning that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was also premier in 1998, had asked Clinton to free Pollard within the framework of the Wye River Memorandum between Israelis and Palestinians. The New York Times had reported at the time, according to senior American officials, that Netanyahu told Clinton Pollard’s release would help win right-wing support for the peace agreement. Clinton ultimately refused the request, as did his successor George W. Bush and, until now, so has Barack Obama.

Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem surmised on Tuesday that a possible date for Pollard’s release, if it were to happen, could be this June when President Shimon Peres travels to the U.S. to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama.

MK Ronit Tirosh (Kadima), a member of the Knesset lobby to free Pollard, on Tuesday urged Peres to “protest” the American position by declining the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S., and cancel his scheduled meeting with the American president.

Diplomatic officials across the board have said they are not optimistic about Pollard’s release, saying they believe the Americans are trying to deter other U.S. Jews from spying for Israel by offering a constant reminder of the consequences of espionage – even for a “friendly” country.

The Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry have largely kept quiet since the latest push for Pollard’s release got underway on Sunday when his wife, Esther Pollard, met with Peres and urged him to ask Obama to free her husband, saying she did not want to be a widow.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons said Monday that Pollard has been hospitalized at a prison medical center in Butner, North Carolina, since April 4.

Peres on Monday sent Obama a personal appeal to commute Pollard’s life sentence, but National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the administration’s position regarding Pollard’s release has not changed and that President Obama has no intention of freeing him.

Despite Vietor’s comments, Pollard supporters and the Israeli media reported Tuesday that Obama has not yet responded to Peres’ request, meaning he has not officially rejected it.

The Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard issued a statement Tuesday, saying that only the American president has the authority to commute a life sentence or to pardon a prisoner, and that any other statement by any other U.S. official is not the final word on the matter. “We are all waiting for an official response from President Obama in person to President Peres,” the committee said in a statement. The committee also said it believes Obama would accept Peres’ request in light of Pollard’s ailing health.

Pollard supporters also cited remarks Tuesday from former Under Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, who said Pollard may be released soon. “Given Jonathan’s deteriorating health they may consider clemency,” Korb was quoted as saying, “There is a chance.”

“There is no doubt he should be freed,” Korb said, according to Arutz 7. “Even if he was healthy, he has served 27 years for a crime most people receive much shorter sentences for – providing information to a friendly country.”

Effie Lahav, one of the leaders of the movement to free Pollard, said Tuesday that he believes Korb, a Democrat, has something to base his opinion on. “At the same time,” Lahav said, “we are at an especially sensitive time and we have to do everything we can behind the scenes so that the decision is made to release Pollard from behind bars.”

Meanwhile, Noam Schalit, father of former captive soldier Gilad Schalit, met with Pollard’s wife, Esther, in her Jerusalem apartment on Tuesday.

“I came to support and strengthen Esther, despite the fact that the struggle to free Pollard is different from our struggle,” Schalit said at the end of his visit. “I tried to advise her on the subject of prisoner releases.”



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2

 Apr 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM Zev Says:

If the other Israeli handlers who were involved, namely Aviem Sella, and another former Israeli cabinet member, would come forward, apologize, and return the stolen intelligence documents, it might help in securing Pollard's release. However, they essentially threw him under the bus, while protecting their own anatomy. In fact, Sella fled the USA. He has since been indicted, but was not a mentch, as he never returned to face charges. Hence, the book was thrown at Pollard, and his first wife, Ann. Also, it has been mentioned before, that there are certain quarters in both EY and the USA, who hope that Pollard dies (chas v'shalom), so the true extent of this case, will never be revealed to the public.

3

 Apr 11, 2012 at 02:34 PM common-sense Says:

The fact that Obama won't release Pollard when he is deathly ill shows that is a man without compassion. He talks alot about compassion, but it's just talk.

4

 Apr 11, 2012 at 03:13 PM Ahuvah54 Says:

Daven.

5

 Apr 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM mogenavrochom Says:

Be very careful what you wish for.He may just release Polard a week before the election to get the Jewish votes.

6

 Apr 11, 2012 at 03:52 PM Avreich1 Says:

In correct and grammatical English, "WE HAVE NO INTENTION ON" means "we have not yet made up our minds".

Have *you*, Anonymous #1? If so, say so - clearly and unequivocally. If not, then סייג לחוכמה שתיקה.

(Oh, I forgot to ask: you do understand Hebrew, I hope, Anonymous #1?)

7

 Apr 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM shredready Says:

why, he spied and tried to sell top secret information

I am sure you felt the same way about Bush

8

 Apr 11, 2012 at 04:38 PM Philllip Says:

Reply to #3  
common-sense Says:

The fact that Obama won't release Pollard when he is deathly ill shows that is a man without compassion. He talks alot about compassion, but it's just talk.

No using your logic.... you have problem when the Brits released the bomber
of a US airliner back to Libya for medical reasons.

9

 Apr 11, 2012 at 04:45 PM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #3  
common-sense Says:

The fact that Obama won't release Pollard when he is deathly ill shows that is a man without compassion. He talks alot about compassion, but it's just talk.

So let me get this straight: There are only 4 people who know 100% for certain what happened with Pollard: the 4 Presidents of the United States that have served since his arrest.

All four of them, both right-wing and left-wingers in the bunch agreed on nothing.... nothing but ONE issue: No commutation or pardon for Pollard.

When a hawk, and former CIA director like George H. W. Bush agrees with a liberal like Obama on ANYTHING, you have to figure that the truth is well beyond what we know.

Secondly, how do we know this is the reason? No U.S. government official has said as much. We only hear the belief of a mid-level bureaucrat My take is this: If you're not willing to put your name to it, or provide evidence (like signed documents or recorded phone calls), we should consider it FALSE until we have some evidence supporting the claim. Show proof or shut up.

However we see that there are no facts by this line:

"Ayalon BELIEVES American intelligence officials have demanded that Pollard remain in prison..." No PROOF, just BELIEF of a mid-level politician looking to make a name for himself.

A cheap, propagandist's tactic taken right from the filthy Al Sharpton playbook!

10

 Apr 11, 2012 at 05:30 PM schmaltzy Says:

Why don't we learn from the Blacks. Protest in the streets and things will get done. To heck with spokespeople and politicians.

11

 Apr 11, 2012 at 06:22 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #10  
schmaltzy Says:

Why don't we learn from the Blacks. Protest in the streets and things will get done. To heck with spokespeople and politicians.

please

the two cases are much different

there is no question about Pollard guilt

there is a question if the the shooting was justified in Fl

12

 Apr 11, 2012 at 07:54 PM besides the point Says:

Reply to #9  
PMOinFL Says:

So let me get this straight: There are only 4 people who know 100% for certain what happened with Pollard: the 4 Presidents of the United States that have served since his arrest.

All four of them, both right-wing and left-wingers in the bunch agreed on nothing.... nothing but ONE issue: No commutation or pardon for Pollard.

When a hawk, and former CIA director like George H. W. Bush agrees with a liberal like Obama on ANYTHING, you have to figure that the truth is well beyond what we know.

Secondly, how do we know this is the reason? No U.S. government official has said as much. We only hear the belief of a mid-level bureaucrat My take is this: If you're not willing to put your name to it, or provide evidence (like signed documents or recorded phone calls), we should consider it FALSE until we have some evidence supporting the claim. Show proof or shut up.

However we see that there are no facts by this line:

"Ayalon BELIEVES American intelligence officials have demanded that Pollard remain in prison..." No PROOF, just BELIEF of a mid-level politician looking to make a name for himself.

A cheap, propagandist's tactic taken right from the filthy Al Sharpton playbook!

PMOinFL bases his position on a mistaken premise, in his words: "So let me get this straight: There are only 4 people who know 100% for certain what happened with Pollard: the 4 Presidents of the United States that have served since his arrest..."

However, A US president sits atop a set of long chains of command between himself and anyone who would have any direct knowledge of the case; AND now the case is very cold.

My imagination and my life experience lead me to believe that the chains of command in this case are littered with links using the Pollard affair as a 'card' in many other 'game's. That doesn't mean that those games are necessarily illegitimate from the government's perspective, but it does mean that 'truth' would not be a major interest, and reporting the truth up a chain of command could be career-toxic.

The only information the President may be able to get on the case is a long document of equivocal, sometimes self-contradictory intelligence babble.

13

 Apr 11, 2012 at 08:21 PM Walk the Walk if You Want My Vote Says:

If Obama doesn't release Pollard, he will be demonstrating an extreme lack of compassion unbefitting a man who staked his entire presidency battling for compassionate changes to U.S. laws and policies (the health care bill, etc.) That's why I voted for him in the first place. I will most definitely not vote again for a man who "talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk," and neither will the majority of my friends, family, and community. That's just the way we feel. There comes a point when you need to admire the person for whom you vote. My community admires, respects, and is inspired by compassion. Although my surveys are informal, the gist of what everyone in my circles is feeling is simpy this: If Obama demonstrates compassion in the Pollard case, he has my vote. If not..........

14

 Apr 11, 2012 at 08:22 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Reply to #3  
common-sense Says:

The fact that Obama won't release Pollard when he is deathly ill shows that is a man without compassion. He talks alot about compassion, but it's just talk.

So Bush I, Clinton and Bush II get a pass, but Obama is different? Please explain

15

 Apr 11, 2012 at 09:16 PM common-sense Says:

Reply to #14  
Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

So Bush I, Clinton and Bush II get a pass, but Obama is different? Please explain

The difference is, as I said, is that Pollard is deathly ill.

16

 Apr 11, 2012 at 09:37 PM Barsechel Says:

Reply to #2  
Zev Says:

If the other Israeli handlers who were involved, namely Aviem Sella, and another former Israeli cabinet member, would come forward, apologize, and return the stolen intelligence documents, it might help in securing Pollard's release. However, they essentially threw him under the bus, while protecting their own anatomy. In fact, Sella fled the USA. He has since been indicted, but was not a mentch, as he never returned to face charges. Hence, the book was thrown at Pollard, and his first wife, Ann. Also, it has been mentioned before, that there are certain quarters in both EY and the USA, who hope that Pollard dies (chas v'shalom), so the true extent of this case, will never be revealed to the public.

Fact is that Jonathan Pollard spied for Israel for MONEY not out of loyalty to Israel.

Fact also is that that if the USA considers spying for a friendly country such a great offence then its time to ask the question "What is the US hiding from its ally"? and the conclusion must be that the US isn't such a great friend to Israel as most assume which again leads to the conclusion that only Israel with hashems help can rely only;on itself and G-D

17

 Apr 12, 2012 at 12:09 AM Anonymous Says:

No pardon is going to happen. The last time yidden were convicted of spying for a foreign country in a high profile case, they were not around long enough to seek a pardon. Pollard should consider himself lucky.

18

 Apr 12, 2012 at 12:55 AM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #12  
besides the point Says:

PMOinFL bases his position on a mistaken premise, in his words: "So let me get this straight: There are only 4 people who know 100% for certain what happened with Pollard: the 4 Presidents of the United States that have served since his arrest..."

However, A US president sits atop a set of long chains of command between himself and anyone who would have any direct knowledge of the case; AND now the case is very cold.

My imagination and my life experience lead me to believe that the chains of command in this case are littered with links using the Pollard affair as a 'card' in many other 'game's. That doesn't mean that those games are necessarily illegitimate from the government's perspective, but it does mean that 'truth' would not be a major interest, and reporting the truth up a chain of command could be career-toxic.

The only information the President may be able to get on the case is a long document of equivocal, sometimes self-contradictory intelligence babble.

You COULD be right. It's unlikely, but you COULD be.

However, have you ever noticed how every President is 100% unequivocal in their "No." response to questions of commutation or pardon.

This includes both conservatives and liberals.

Believe it or not, there are things that are for the President's eyes only. Also, there may be information held by the Navy, when combined with information found by the CIA, could be twice as damaging. It is possible that the President would be the only one to know about both.

It should be pointed out that Pollard has been eligible for Parole for several years now and has NEVER requested it. His wife (who manages his legal team) has asked for commutation or pardon ONLY. She was told PUBLICLY by the Bush administration that nobody will consider either until he applies for and is rejected for parole. They still never did it. WHY?

19

 Apr 12, 2012 at 12:58 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Walk the Walk if You Want My Vote Says:

If Obama doesn't release Pollard, he will be demonstrating an extreme lack of compassion unbefitting a man who staked his entire presidency battling for compassionate changes to U.S. laws and policies (the health care bill, etc.) That's why I voted for him in the first place. I will most definitely not vote again for a man who "talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk," and neither will the majority of my friends, family, and community. That's just the way we feel. There comes a point when you need to admire the person for whom you vote. My community admires, respects, and is inspired by compassion. Although my surveys are informal, the gist of what everyone in my circles is feeling is simpy this: If Obama demonstrates compassion in the Pollard case, he has my vote. If not..........

So... compassion is a good reason to commute someone's prison sentence?

Were you so "compassionate" for the Lockerbie Bomber?

If there are "compassionate" reasons for Pollard to be let out, why has he never asked for parole? NEVER. Even after the Bush administration told his wife, in public, that there would never be a pardon or commutation until he applies for parole.

You are the victim of an elaborate scam orchestrated by a left-wing activist who is making a name for herself on Pollard's name.

20

 Apr 12, 2012 at 02:46 AM ShalomCon Says:

Reply to #3  
common-sense Says:

The fact that Obama won't release Pollard when he is deathly ill shows that is a man without compassion. He talks alot about compassion, but it's just talk.

Don't be so quick to judge President Obama when it comes to Pollard.
Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush also lacked the compassion to commute his sentence.
First of all, Pollard is no tzaddik. He's a spy who sold (& tried to sell) US intelligence to other countries before Israel. He didn't do it "al kiddush HaShem". He did it for the money. Period! If he hadn't been arrested, he and his ex-wife would've continued sell stolen files to whoever paid them.

He plead guilty after confessing to espionage and conspiracy. He broke his plea agreement before his sentencing hearing by speaking to the press so the judge threw the book at him. And supposedly due to the nature of the documents he sold, high ranking senior officials have not wanted the details to surface in a public trial.

It is sad that at age 57 he is in poor health, but that's not really a good reason to pardon him or commute his sentence. The fact that he's never even applied for parole only confirms his guilt and lack of rehabilitation.

21

 Apr 12, 2012 at 06:44 AM Avreich1 Says:

Reply to #20  
ShalomCon Says:

Don't be so quick to judge President Obama when it comes to Pollard.
Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush also lacked the compassion to commute his sentence.
First of all, Pollard is no tzaddik. He's a spy who sold (& tried to sell) US intelligence to other countries before Israel. He didn't do it "al kiddush HaShem". He did it for the money. Period! If he hadn't been arrested, he and his ex-wife would've continued sell stolen files to whoever paid them.

He plead guilty after confessing to espionage and conspiracy. He broke his plea agreement before his sentencing hearing by speaking to the press so the judge threw the book at him. And supposedly due to the nature of the documents he sold, high ranking senior officials have not wanted the details to surface in a public trial.

It is sad that at age 57 he is in poor health, but that's not really a good reason to pardon him or commute his sentence. The fact that he's never even applied for parole only confirms his guilt and lack of rehabilitation.

That's probably the most reasoned, unbiased and dispassionate comment I have ever read here on this sordid saga.

Let us not forget the role of the Israel Air Force COL Aviem Sela, Pollard's "handler", who scuttled back to Israel like a cockroach when a light is shone on it.

He can never show his sorry face anywhere in North America ever again. If he ever does he will be instantly arrested by the FBI.

22

 Apr 12, 2012 at 08:11 AM PaulinSaudi Says:

He is never getting out. You may think that is a shame, but it is a fact. No need to waste a drop of ink or a single electron on this smuck. He did what he did on purpose. He knew the risk. He decided to take the risk. He got caught.

He will rot in jail.

23

 Apr 12, 2012 at 08:12 AM LashonTov Says:

Mathematically, logically a stated impediment has more weight than a "possible" impediment. The White House stated during the G. W. Bush administration that Jonathan Pollard would not be considered for clemency because he never applied for parole. That is DOJ policy and they have repeatedly shown they are inflexible about it.

The argument that if Pollard applies for parole and is turned down it will hurt his chances for clemency is, to put it mildly, stupid.

1- There is always the possibility the Parole Commission will grant parole.
2- The impediment of Pollard's not having applied for parole is removed.
3- If parole is denied, Pollard's chances of getting clemency are BETTER than not applying for parole at all since his request for clemency must then be judged on its merits rather than being blocked for not having fulfilled a DOJ prerequisite.

24

 Apr 12, 2012 at 08:15 AM Reb Yid Says:

Reply to #9  
PMOinFL Says:

So let me get this straight: There are only 4 people who know 100% for certain what happened with Pollard: the 4 Presidents of the United States that have served since his arrest.

All four of them, both right-wing and left-wingers in the bunch agreed on nothing.... nothing but ONE issue: No commutation or pardon for Pollard.

When a hawk, and former CIA director like George H. W. Bush agrees with a liberal like Obama on ANYTHING, you have to figure that the truth is well beyond what we know.

Secondly, how do we know this is the reason? No U.S. government official has said as much. We only hear the belief of a mid-level bureaucrat My take is this: If you're not willing to put your name to it, or provide evidence (like signed documents or recorded phone calls), we should consider it FALSE until we have some evidence supporting the claim. Show proof or shut up.

However we see that there are no facts by this line:

"Ayalon BELIEVES American intelligence officials have demanded that Pollard remain in prison..." No PROOF, just BELIEF of a mid-level politician looking to make a name for himself.

A cheap, propagandist's tactic taken right from the filthy Al Sharpton playbook!

But they're all goyim and they're all presidents of the US. So they have some priorities other than doing what's right.

25

 Apr 12, 2012 at 09:15 AM Avreich1 Says:

Reply to #22  
PaulinSaudi Says:

He is never getting out. You may think that is a shame, but it is a fact. No need to waste a drop of ink or a single electron on this smuck. He did what he did on purpose. He knew the risk. He decided to take the risk. He got caught.

He will rot in jail.

Whether Pollard's supporters like it or not, PaulinSaudi is probably quite correct in his estimation.

26

 Apr 12, 2012 at 09:23 AM Avreich1 Says:

Reply to #9  
PMOinFL Says:

So let me get this straight: There are only 4 people who know 100% for certain what happened with Pollard: the 4 Presidents of the United States that have served since his arrest.

All four of them, both right-wing and left-wingers in the bunch agreed on nothing.... nothing but ONE issue: No commutation or pardon for Pollard.

When a hawk, and former CIA director like George H. W. Bush agrees with a liberal like Obama on ANYTHING, you have to figure that the truth is well beyond what we know.

Secondly, how do we know this is the reason? No U.S. government official has said as much. We only hear the belief of a mid-level bureaucrat My take is this: If you're not willing to put your name to it, or provide evidence (like signed documents or recorded phone calls), we should consider it FALSE until we have some evidence supporting the claim. Show proof or shut up.

However we see that there are no facts by this line:

"Ayalon BELIEVES American intelligence officials have demanded that Pollard remain in prison..." No PROOF, just BELIEF of a mid-level politician looking to make a name for himself.

A cheap, propagandist's tactic taken right from the filthy Al Sharpton playbook!

"So let me get this straight: There are only 4 people who know 100% for certain what happened with Pollard: the 4 Presidents of the United States that have served since his arrest."

That really is "a cheap, propagandist's tactic taken right from the filthy Al Sharpton playbook" on your part, PMOinFL, but factually incorrect.

What about:

1. The US Navy Intelligence investigators
2. The FBI ditto
3. The federal prosecutors
4. Pollard's defense counsel
5. US Navy top brass
6. DoJ ditto
7. The Israelis themselves (OK, they have no direct input into this dilemma)

etc etc etc?

27

 Apr 12, 2012 at 10:07 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
common-sense Says:

The fact that Obama won't release Pollard when he is deathly ill shows that is a man without compassion. He talks alot about compassion, but it's just talk.

Lots of convicted criminals die in prison hospitals or hospices because their sentences aren't commuted. Does that mean each one was a victim of an administration that lacked compassion? Besides, the article says he's been in the hospital for a few days. It doesn't state anywhere that he's dying.

28

 Apr 12, 2012 at 03:31 PM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #26  
Avreich1 Says:

"So let me get this straight: There are only 4 people who know 100% for certain what happened with Pollard: the 4 Presidents of the United States that have served since his arrest."

That really is "a cheap, propagandist's tactic taken right from the filthy Al Sharpton playbook" on your part, PMOinFL, but factually incorrect.

What about:

1. The US Navy Intelligence investigators
2. The FBI ditto
3. The federal prosecutors
4. Pollard's defense counsel
5. US Navy top brass
6. DoJ ditto
7. The Israelis themselves (OK, they have no direct input into this dilemma)

etc etc etc?

So you are saying that people at the FBI were granted access to the top-secret military intelligence that Pollard was caught selling? Please let us know who gave them that access as that would be illegal as FBI agents, and even the director, don't have that level of security clearance. Come to think of it, nobody in your list has access to ALL of that information except for Pollard, the Navy brass (none of whom have come to Pollard's defense) and the 4 aforementioned Presidents. I would guess that there are other high-ranking military officers who know most, if not all of the info as well (like members of the Joint Chiefs).

You should know that Pollard is not allowed to speak to anyone without a US Navy Intelligence Officer in the room, because Pollard has such high-level, classified information that they don't want him repeating to anyone, including his attorney, CIA investigators, FBI investigators and even his "wife".

People like to play this off as if he were so low-level fool who got caught doing something minor. Trust me, you don't get such strong agreement between 4 Presidents of opposing parties on ANY other issue. We don't know 10% of the story. Believe it.

29

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