The Forward - Editorial - December 10, 1993
It's easy to forget, amid all the hysteria as President Clinton
considers whether to grant Jonathan Pollard's request for clemency, that
our government contracted with him, after bargaining for a plea, not to
seek the maximum sentence. So it seems kind of late for the justice
Department to be riding into the Oval Office with a sudden recommendation against
commutation of Pollard's prison term to time served. It is particularly
inappropriate to see the politically ambitious former federal
prosecutor, Joseph DiGenova, campaigning publicly against Pollard with
charges he never brought to a judge or jury.
We have said repeatedly here that the one
case against clemency would be a demonstration that Pollard still
possesses knowledge the sharing of which would be dangerous, but that's
not the argument we hear being made. If that argument could have been
sustained, it's hard to imagine the government would have made its
original deal envisioning less than a life sentence. We have not
published a syllable in this newspaper making light of the crime Pollard
did commit; even the one count to which he pled is extremely serious.
But the time he has served is also serious.
We are in a period now where
our own government is disclosing the most intimate secrets of the Cold
War, is sharing them at seminars with our old Soviet foes and is
welcoming terrorist leaders to peace-making ceremonies on the White
House lawn. Surely the charity that is shown to our erstwhile enemies
can be shown to one of our own who panicked under the pressure of what
he saw in our secret files.
Prime Minister Rabin, who made his own plea
to Mr. Clinton on Pollard's behalf, is as staunch a friend as America
has overseas. It will not be easy for Mr. Clinton to act on this issue.
But it would be a courageous thing for him to do so now and grant
clemency without compromise or gimmicks
Return to Remorse page