On March 21, the White House Pool Report No. 10, from Jerusalem, reported the following:
“There was a heckler about 15 minutes into remarks. Man standing to Obama’s left back near center press platform began shouting in Hebrew. A reliable Hebrew speaker seated near pool says the shouting was about Pollard. We presume calling for his release. Pool couldn’t see what happened to the heckler.
“‘This is part of the lively debate that we talked about,’ Obama said after pausing for the interruption. The crowd seemed to boo the heckler then began applauding. Eventually most in the audience rose to their feet, giving the president a standing ovation. The friendly response seemed to be unanimous or nearly so.
“That warm response seemed to prompt POTUS to laugh a bit and say: ‘I have to say we actually arranged for that because it made me feel at home. I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I didn’t have at least one heckler.’”
When he was interviewed by Israel’s Channel 2, President Obama was questioned about the possibility of his granting a release of federal prisoner Jonathan Pollard.
To which President Obama replied that Pollard “committed a very serious crime for which he is serving his time. I have no plans for releasing Jonathan Pollard immediately.” (Immediately? Does this possibly imply a later release?)
Pollard has served 28 years in prison. This is unprecedented among Americans convicted of spying on behalf of an American ally. There have been three other U.S. spies for friendly nations who have served less than five years.
Recently declassified has been a CIA 1987 Pollard damage estimate. His instructions were to provide Israel with U.S. intelligence information on Israel’s Arab adversaries and the military support they received from the Soviet Union. This included information on Arab chemical and biological weapons.
Pollard, a civilian U.S. Naval intelligence analyst, provided what were described as “suitcases full” of copies of classified documents to Israeli agents every two weeks. The CIA regarded this as a serious risk to American intelligence services and methods. There remains a question as to whether Pollard provided “suitcases full” or briefcases, 11 times.
Mrs. Pollard begged President Obama for mercy. And those asking for a presidential release of Pollard include the following: Israel’s President Shimon Perez; former minister of education and law professor Amnon Rubenstein; former U.S. Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger; former CIA Director James Woolsey; Lawrence Korb, Reagan assistant secretary of defense; Amos Yadin, Israel’s former director of military intelligence; and Gilad Shalit, Israeli captive of Arabs for five years.
Jonathan Pollard was given a life sentence with recommendation that he never be paroled.
Prior to sentencing, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger delivered a 46-page classified memorandum to the sentencing judge. Have Pollard or his attorneys ever been allowed to see that memorandum?
Has anyone else in U.S. history ever received such a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally? There are reports that in 2000 Pollard’s wife received a letter from the Clinton White House that the Pollard case was being considered by the president.
On his last (memorable) day in office, President Bill Clinton granted clemency to 140 people, including robbers, drug dealers and murderers.
Among those pardoned was President Clinton’s brother – but not Jonathan Pollard.