Senator Lieberman Urged to Remove His Name from Anti-Pollard Letter

March 30, 1999 - Our Jerusalem

Washington, D.C.

- U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) is being urged to remove his name from a recent letter to President Clinton opposing the release from prison of Jonathan Pollard.

Lieberman and 59 other senators wrote to Clinton in January urging him to "deny clemency in the interest of justice and in the interest of national security." In a letter to Lieberman, the NCYI - representing more than 150 Orthodox synagogues across North America - wrote that "all the Torah leaders of our generation have signed a document calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard on the grounds of the Torah imperative of Pidyon Sh'vuyim, 'Redemption of a Captive.' The Senators' letter, predictable in content and recommendation, stands in angry contrast to the Rabbis' compassionate entreaty."

The NCYI letter disputed the claims in the Senatorial letter, and wrote that they were "at best inaccurate, at worst - wrong." The most surprising element of the Senators' letter, they wrote to Sen. Lieberman, "is that you, a dedicated friend of Israel, would attach your name to the claim that clemency would appear to be an 'acquiescence to external political pressures.' ... [This claim] deserves condemnation, not your signature... Your speech delivered on the Senate floor this past September has entered the corpus of American thought, framing the discourse of our nation's numerous moral contracts, specifically the moral obligation the President has to our country, and the analogous contract between the government and its citizens... It is unconscionable that the government, in apparent coordination between its branches, should perpetuate this travesty of justice against Jonathan Pollard and deny requests that would safeguard his rights and the integrity of this process."

Lieberman's press secretary Dan Gerstein told the Israeli radio station Arutz-7 that although the Senator's reply had been held up, it would likely be prepared soon.

Meanwhile, Pollard's attorney Larry Dub has written a scathing letter to President Clinton's legal counsel, after he was invited by the White House "to provide his [Dub's] views for [Clinton's] consideration." Dub wrote that as long as Pollard is not permitted to access his complete file in order to defend himself and challenge the false accusations against him, "the review process is a sham." Dub questioned the White House's role in failing to stem the executive agencies' illegal leakage of classified information about Pollard to the media. He also castigated CIA Chief George Tenet, "who has publicly insisted on Pollard's continued incarceration [so as not to lower CIA morale], but has nothing to say about Chinese American spy Peter Lee who was recently sentenced to one year in a halfway house, with no prison time at all, for giving the Chinese classified US laser technology [that will enable them] to design and test nuclear warheads without detection."

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