Colman Demolishes The Lieberman Reply
An Open Letter To Senator Lieberman
April 10, 2000
Hon. Joseph Lieberman
United States Senator
706 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Lieberman,
I am in receipt of your response to my letters asking for justification of your position against commutation of Jonathan Pollard's life sentence.
I agree with you that Jonathan did wrong when he spied for a foreign country, and I agree with you that judicial matters should be left to the judiciary. The problem with your statement, however, is that you did intervene with judicial matters when you persuaded 60 other Senators to join you in signing the "Lieberman letter"* written to President Clinton "to express our strongest opposition to any commutation of the life sentence given to Jonathan Pollard for betraying our country" and asking the President to "deny clemency in the interest of justice and in the interest of national security". [*See the letter.]
You state in your letter to me that as a general personal policy you believe that the Courts are in the best position to decide matters of guilt, innocence and sentencing and that you "have followed this personal rule of non-intervention in criminal cases, including the post sentencing parole or pardon case that the Pollard case is at now".
Therefore, since the "Lieberman letter" co-signed by 60 Senators seems to be in contradiction to your "personal rule", I implore you to immediately withdraw it. I urge you to draft another open letter, saying that you now realize it was wrong to send the initial letter and then explain what your current position is. I hope you are successful in obtaining support from the same 60 Senators who signed your original letter.
Additionally, it is widely known that Caspar Weinberger's last-minute secret memorandum before the sentencing Judge had a major effect on Jonathan's receiving a life sentence for the single charge that he plead guilty to - that of passing classified documents. Since Weinberger's still-secret memorandum was a political maneuver and since Weinberger himself, called for Pollard to be released from jail seven years ago, I believe it would be highly beneficial for you to work to withdraw the Weinberger memorandum as well.
There is no doubt in my mind that had this matter been left entirely to the judiciary, it would have been handled differently. Since Pollard was only accused of one count of passing classified documents and he was never accused of treason, had Weinberger's memo not been introduced, Pollard would have been treated like all other convicted spies. Without non-judicial intervention, we would not have a Pollard problem today.
I welcome your prompt response to this letter and look forward to your help in removing all previous political interference in the Pollard matter. It should be clear to all, that Jonathan Pollard would not be serving a life term had he been sentenced for the charge he was accused of. It was Weinberger's political interference which gave Pollard a life sentence and it was your political interference which continues to keep him there.
I hope that as Pesach approaches, during this time of freedom for our people, we can help Jonathan Pollard to taste freedom as well.
With best wishes, I remain,
Member of Assembly