Ross: Pres. Bush shows no interest
in releasing Pollard
New York The former Director of the CIA under President Bill Clinton, R. James Woolsey, and former top US. Middle East negotiator, Dennis Ross, have each recently stated that convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard should be released after having already served twenty years in prison. Mr. Woolsey said, Now that he has served 20 years of a prison sentence, my view is that a 20 year sentence, I think, is enough and I think the close relationship between United States and Israel as fellow democracies is also a consideration so, at this point, I think Pollard has served a long enough sentence (Israel National News, January 23, 2007). Mr. Ross stated that Pollards sentence was excessive and that he should be released, noting that, Pollard has been in jail for so long that whatever facts he might know would have little if any effect on national security today. Ross also said that he had told Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush that Pollard should be released. He said, however, that President Bush is presently showing no interest in releasing Pollard (Jewish Tribune [Canada], December 28, 2006).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The ZOA welcomes James Woolsey and Dennis Ross statements recommending that Jonathan Pollard should be released. It needs to be remembered that Jonathan Pollard passed on classified information to Israel, a U.S. ally, not a U.S. enemy. Despite that mitigating fact, Pollard has served a longer prison term than any other person who has spied for an ally. The average term of imprisonment for passing on classified information has been between two and four years, yet Pollard received a life sentence, the same as that handed down to Aldrich Ames, the chief of CIA counterintelligence in Eastern Europe, who passed critical defense secrets to the Soviet Union, an American enemy, during the Cold War. Ames wrought serious harm on the United States, including being found responsible for the deaths of at least 11 U.S. agents.
It is also wrong that Pollard was shown no leniency, despite having pled guilt as a result of a plea bargain. It is also possible that the harm to American security alleged to have been caused by Jonathan Pollards actions may well have been caused by the espionage activities of Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, whose actions came to light only after Pollard was sentenced. Pollard has also expressed in writing deep remorse for breaking the law. All these considerations bear out James Woolsey and Dennis Ross view that the time has come for Jonathan Pollard to be released.
Most American Jewish leaders have been pleading for Pollards release, including the ZOA. I myself have spoken with Pollard over 50 times over the years and have found him to be one of the most brilliant people to whom Ive ever spoken. In all these many conversations, he almost never spoke about his own plight or release, only about strong U.S.-Israel relations and the survival of Israel. It would be a tragedy if his legacy is only his imprisonment. He has great talent which he could use to benefit society if only given the chance.