8 Senior US Officials Slam "Unjust Denial Of Parole To Pollard"
Letter to Obama reveals false charge against Pollard used to deny parole
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Justice4JPnews - November 20, 2014
As Jonathan Pollard enters his 30th year of a life sentence this week (on Friday, November 21st) breaking news that the US administration has prevented the release of Jonathan Pollard on parole prompted eight former senior US officials to make public a copy of their letter to President Obama which strongly protests "the unjust denial of parole to Jonathan Pollard", and reveals that the US Government used a false charge against Pollard to deny him parole.
The letter was signed exclusively by those officials with first-hand knowledge of the case and fully familiar with the classified file. They include:
Amb. R. James Woolsey - Former Director of the CIA
Senator Dennis DeConcini - Former Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee
Senator David F. Durenburger - Former Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee
Robert C. MacFarlane - Former US National Security Advisor
Lawrence J. Korb - Former Assistant US Secretary of Defense
Prof. Angelo Codevilla - Former Senate Intelligence Committee Staff
Congressman Lee Hamilton - Dept of Homeland Security Advisor to Pres. Obama; and Former Chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence
Bernard W. Nussbaum - Former White House Counsel
The letter strongly criticizes the parole process as "deeply flawed" and declares that:
the Parole Commission Decision document "mischaracterizes Mr. Pollard's actions and makes a patently false claim upon which it bases its denial of parole,"
The letter explains that the "patently false claim" is the US government's allegation that "Mr. Pollard's espionage was the greatest compromise of US security to that date." This claim, say the officials, "is false and is not supported by any evidence in the public record or the classified file." They note that nevertheless this "fiction" was the reason given by the Parole Commission for denying parole.
The officials further note that at hearing, the US government relied heavily on the 28-year-old, discredited Weinberger document, which Pollard's security-cleared attorneys were denied access to, and which the Parole Commission was not cleared to review. The Commission was aware, they write, that in 2002 Weinberger himself had discounted the document as politically motivated.
They also point out that the Commission ignored a wealth of documentary evidence which mitigated in favor of Pollard's release; and that the Commission also ignored all of the recommendations by top level officials with first hand knowledge of the case, which call for his unconditional release. (Parole is conditional).
They express dismay at the fact that the Commission also ignored all compassionate grounds for Pollard's release, and ignored Pollard's record as a model prisoner for 3 decades.
The parole process now joins the long list of failed legal processes that have denied justice to Jonathan Pollard for nearly 3 decades. The officials note that it is clearly for cases like this that the US Constitution grants the president virtually unlimited powers of clemency.
The letter to Obama concludes with a severe admonition and calls for the immediate commutation of Pollard's sentence to time served:
"Denying a man his freedom based on a claim of damage that is patently false while ignoring exculpatory documentary evidence and hiding behind a veil of secret evidence is neither fair nor just nor is it the American way We urge you to act expeditiously to commute Mr. Pollard's life sentence to the 29 years which he has already served."
A copy of the letter is attached (PDF) and text follows below:
President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
November 14, 2014
Dear Mr. President:
Re: Unjust Denial of Parole for Jonathan Pollard
We, the undersigned, in our official US government capacities, at the time of and subsequent to Jonathan Pollard's arrest, are fully familiar with the Pollard file and with its classified contents.
We write to protest the unjust parole process which on August 4, 2014 denied parole to Jonathan Pollard after 29 years in prison. Our review of the Parole Commission decision compels our strongest objections to the conclusions of the Commission and our dismay with the deeply flawed process.
The Parole Commission decision document mischaracterizes Mr. Pollard's actions and makes a patently false claim upon which it bases its denial of parole.
The Commission's allegation that Mr. Pollard's espionage "was the greatest compromise of US security to that date" is false; and not supported by any evidence in the public record or the classified file. Yet it was this fiction that the Parole Commission cited to deny parole.
We have learned that at the parole hearing, the government relied heavily on a stale, largely discredited, 28-year old classified memorandum written by former Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger, without any scrutiny or rebuttal since Pollard's security-cleared attorneys were denied access to the document and the Parole Commission is not cleared to review it. Mr. Weinberger himself discounted his original damage assessment of the Pollard case in a 2002 interview when he stated that the Pollard case had been exaggerated out of all proportion and that it was in fact "a very minor matter but made very important."
The unreliability of the 1987 Weinberger document was known to and ignored by the Parole Commission. Worse, the Parole Commission ignored all other documentary evidence that mitigates in favor of Mr. Pollard's immediate release.
As we have indicated in previous communications to you, Mr. President, Jonathan Pollard's sentence is grossly disproportionate. All factors considered, including his comportment as a model prisoner for nearly three decades, Mr. Pollard's unconditional release (let alone his release on parole, which does not address the disproportionality of his sentence) is long overdue. Copies of our previous letters to you, urging Mr. Pollard's release were included in his parole submission and ignored.
We would like to point out as well, that the Parole decision document notes Mr. Pollard's Salient Factor Score, indicating his suitability for release as "10" which is the highest score possible. This too was ignored.
The Parole Commission also ignored compassionate factors, such as Mr. Pollard's age (he has spent half of his life in prison) and his poor state of health; and his family situation (his wife has had two bouts with cancer and had to manage without her husband's presence or assistance).
As former officials of the US government who served our country with pride, we take no pride in the ongoing miscarriage of justice which has deprived Mr. Pollard of his right to fair and equal treatment before the law. Mr. Pollard committed a serious offense and justifiably received a severe sentence. Efforts to secure commutation of Mr. Pollard's life sentence began in earnest only after Mr. Pollard had served 20 years as a model prisoner and adequately expressed remorse. It is clear that his sentence is far more severe than others in the US convicted of the same offense. We are deeply troubled that his grossly disproportionate sentence is now continuing into a 30th year of incarceration with no end in sight.
Denying a man his freedom based on a claim of damage that is patently false while ignoring exculpatory documentary evidence and hiding behind a veil of secret evidence is neither fair nor just, and it simply is not the American way. It is precisely for cases like this which clearly deviate from the standard of American justice - and compassion - that our nation prides itself on, that the Constitution grants the president of the United States virtually unlimited powers of executive clemency.
We therefore strongly urge you, Mr. President, to tolerate no further delay in rectifying an injustice that has gone on for far too long. We urge you to act expeditiously to commute Mr. Pollard's life sentence to the 29 years which he has already served.
Amb. R. James Woolsey
Former Director of the CIA
Senator Dennis DeConcini
Former Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee
Senator David F. Durenburger
Former Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee
Robert C. MacFarlane
Former US National Security Advisor
Lawrence J. Korb
Former Assistant US Secretary of Defense
Angelo Codevilla, Prof. emeritus Boston Univ.
Former Senate Intelligence Committee Staff
Congressman Lee Hamilton
Homeland Security Advisor to Pres. Obama
Former Chair of the Select Committee on Intelligence
Bernard W. Nussbaum
Former White House Counsel