Pollard's Rudy Card

Sidney Zion - The New York Post - September 8, 2000

RICK Lazio wouldn't have to worry about Jonathan Pollard and the Jewish vote if he listened to Rudy Giuliani. Hillary Clinton wouldn't have to worry about Jonathan Pollard and the Jewish vote if she listened to Chuck Schumer.

Giuliani and Schumer want Pollard free, on the grounds of due process and the double standard. If Lazio and Clinton agreed, the Israeli spy would be out of the political maelstrom - at least in New York - for the first time since he was jailed for life 15 years ago.

Indeed, it is not too much to say that if Rudy Giuliani's prostate hadn't kicked in, Pollard would be in Israel today. With Rudy leading the charge for his freedom, Bill Clinton - to save his wife's lagging senate campaign - would be forced to grant clemency to Pollard.

It would not be his first political act, by no means, but perhaps his first honorable act. Because on any basis of law and justice, Jonathan Pollard's life sentence is a disgrace, his continued incarceration a blot on our proud system of due process.

Cut through all the classified obfuscations and the planted rumors and the stuff about Jewish dual-loyalty, and it gets down to this: A guy cops a plea and he gets Murder One. When did that ever happen in the history of American jurisprudence?

Pollard pleaded guilty to an espionage charge that never got anybody else in similar circumstances - spying for an ally - more than four years.

The FBI had next to nothing on Pollard when they arrested him in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington in 1985. He had been delivering secrets to the Israelis about buildups in death weaponry by the Iraqis and the Syrians, stuff that the Reagan Administration had agreed to turn over to Israel. But then-Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger, who hated Israel and never forgave his grandfather for being Jewish, did not want Israel to know these things.

Pollard, who worked for the Defense Department, complained but was told to shut up. Frustrated, he became a spy for Israel.

He was wrong and he has said he was wrong. But the bottom line is that Justice made a deal with him and with the Israelis: Pollard would not get a life sentence - read no more than four years; Israel would deliver the stuff he took back to America - on the condition that the Justice Department would not use this evidence against Pollard.

It was a triple-cross. The FBI showed him the documents with his fingerprints all over them and forced him to plead guilty, with the promise of a short sentence. The Israelis never informed him that our government had promised not to use the evidence against him.

So he got life, but only after Cappy Weinberger delivered to the trial judge a secret memo that accused Pollard of being the "worst traitor in American history."

Nobody has seen this memo ever since. So much for due process. As for the double standard, the record is replete. Soviet spies laugh at home, while Pollard washes toilets in prison.

In February, Michael Walker, who spied for the Russians for nothing but money, was released after 15 years, with no objection from the CIA or the Clinton administration. And, maybe even worse, Albert Sambolay - an American soldier who spied for Iraq during the Gulf War - recently had his 35-year sentence reduced to 19 years.

And Joe Lieberman leads the fight to keep Pollard in prison for life. If Rick and Hillary want to do right, they had best listen not to Holy Joe but to Rudy and Chuck. That's true dual loyalty - to Due Process of Law.

See Also:
  • The Facts Page
  • Finally, the Truth About the Pollard Affair
  • Israel Betrayed Pollard, too
  • The Sambolay Case
  • The Lieberman Page
  • The Senate Race Page