Hillary in Pollard Push
Wants release of info on spy for Israel
WILLIAM GOLDSCHLAG - NY Daily News - October 6, 2000
Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday she has asked her husband to declassify reports that could
help settle the question of whether Jonathan Pollard, an American who spied for Israel,
should receive clemency from his life sentence.
Clinton also voiced her strongest regret yet over the Suha Arafat incident as she
fielded questions from reporters for the newspaper Jewish Week and looked to reinforce her
standing with Jewish voters, about an eighth of the state's electorate.
Asked what she would do differently on that diplomatic mission-turned-political fiasco
last year, she said, "I wouldn't have gone," drawing appreciative laughter from
Clinton had sat silently on a West Bank visit while the wife of Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat accused Israel of using poison gas against Arab children. Clinton condemned
the accusations only after the ensuing uproar and later gave various reasons for
Political advisers had warned Clinton against the official First Lady visit. Images of
Clinton hugging and kissing Arafat's wife shook some Jewish New Yorkers and still haunts
Clinton said that as a senator from New York, "I would never be in a situation
As she has before, Clinton took a sympathetic position toward those who have advocated
freedom for Pollard, but stopped short of signing on to their cause.
Pollard, a U.S. Navy analyst, pleaded guilty in 1987 to giving Israel thousands of
secret documents. Secret damage-assessment reports from then-Defense Secretary Caspar
Weinberger and others helped spur the judge to sentence Pollard to life in prison.
Clinton said, as she has before, that the secret material raised "troubling"
questions of "due process." She said, "I would call on the administration
to release that material" with necessary omissions on national security
grounds "so we can ... have a foundation on which to make judgments."
Asked, "Have you discussed it with the President?" she replied, "I have
made my views known, yes." The White House had no immediate comment.
Awaiting such material also gives Clinton cover to postpone a decision. She has
steadily improved her standing with Jewish voters without declaring herself on the Pollard
Jews are divided on the case. Clinton noted, "Two people whom I deeply respect
have read the same material and reached opposite conclusions." Sen. Chuck Schumer
(D-N.Y.) favors clemency, and vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman opposes
Pollard's supporters most doggedly Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn)
argue Pollard was singled out for harsh treatment. Hikind praised Clinton for a "step
in the right direction."
Spokesman Michael Marr said GOP Senate candidate Rep. Rick Lazio, who has no position
on clemency, also "supports the release of the Weinberger memo." He rapped the
Clinton administration for having "promised over 600 days ago" to come to
"a speedy resolution" on clemency.
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