Congressman Weiss Urges Bush To Commute Pollard Sentence

The Jewish Press [NY] - August 14, 1992

Rep. Ted Weiss (D-NY) has urged that the life imprisonment sentence of Jonathan Pollard, convicted of spying against the United States for the Israeli government in 1987, be commuted "to more accurately reflect the nature of [his] crime and its consequences."

In a letter to President Bush dated July 30, 1992, Weiss argued that Pollard acted out of a "genuine concern for the security of one of the United States' strongest and closest allies, Israel," rather than "malice toward the United States."

Comparing Pollard's sentence to that of the infamous Walker spy ring, Weiss observed that the equal punishment both parties received reflects a fundamental injustice. Unlike the Walkers, who sold sensitive information to the Soviet Union for profit and compromised the safely of American soldiers, Mr. Pollard acted out of his dedication to the State of Israel.

"The documents transferred by Mr. Pollard to Israel did not endanger U.S. troops or security," wrote Weiss. "They contained information about the PLO, Syrian and Iraqi chemical weapon production, and other matters of direct security concern to Israel."

Mr. Weiss added that a revisiting of the Pollard case would be especially fruitful in rebuilding the United States' relationship with Israel during Yitzhak Rabin's first visit here as the new Prime Minister.

"It is my belief," concluded Weiss, "that the sentence Jonathan Pollard received was excessive...[and] while I in no way challenge Mr. Pollard's guilt, I do believe that circumstances surrounding the case require a re-evaluation of his sentence."