Clinton Refuses to Reduce Pollard's Sentence

Middle East Newsline - January 21, 2001

WASHINGTON [MENL] - President Bill Clinton refused to commute the life sentence of a U.S. naval analyst convicted of relaying military secrets to Israel.

Jonathan Pollard was not on the list of more than 100 people pardoned by Clinton on Saturday, his last day in office. The list of pardons included Clinton's brother, business partner, former CIA director and former Cabinet secretary.

Israeli sources said Clinton had signalled to both the administrations of former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Ehud Barak that Pollard's sentence would be reduced. They said such a message was relayed by Barak sources to the Pollards earlier this month.

Over the last two months, American Jewish leaders had urged Clinton to commute Pollard's sentence. The leaders sent written and oral messages to the president as well as met with his aides.

A commutation of Pollard's sentence was opposed by members of the Bush transition team as well as CIA and FBI officials. Clinton administration sources said that amid this opposition the president had made up his mind months ago not to reduce Pollard's sentence.

Clinton pardoned former CIA Director John Deutch, who faced criminal charges in connection with his mishandling of national secrets on a home computer. Deutch was said to have been considering a deal with the Justice Department to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

See Also:
  • Pollards React to Clinton's Rejection of Clemency
  • Pollard Defenders Outraged at Clinton
  • The Court Case 2000 Page