In an historic move that further solidifies a growing bi-partisan coalition that is urging the White House to free Jonathan Pollard, former Vice President Dan Quayle sent a letter to President Obama in which he called for a commutation of Pollard’s sentence (the full text of the letter appears below and is attached). Quayle, who served with President George H. W. Bush from 1989-1993, urged the President to release Pollard, who has spent the past 26 years in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel.
Prior to becoming the 44th Vice President of the United States, Quayle served as a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Representative from Indiana.
“I write this letter urging you to consider commuting the sentence of Jonathan Pollard,” wrote Quayle. “I believe that a life sentence for the crime committed is very extreme. Though his crime was very serious, I hope you will once again look very carefully at this pending request.”
With his clemency request for Jonathan Pollard, Quayle becomes the latest in a rapidly growing list of prominent governmental leaders and national intelligence personnel who have issued public calls for a commutation of Pollard’s sentence.
Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, and Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York, each of whom had the opportunity to thoroughly review Pollard’s classified file and is fully familiar with the circumstances of his case, have called for Pollard’s release.
In addition, individuals such as former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Arkansas governor and former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Arlen Specter, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, former New York City Mayor and former Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani, well-known conservative leader Gary Bauer, and Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s law professor at Harvard and remains friends with them today, have also urged the United States to free Pollard.
Thirty-nine members of Congress recently submitted a “Dear Colleague” letter led by Congressman Barney Frank in support of commuting Jonathan Pollard’s sentence. Further, a broad-based interfaith coalition comprised of more than 500 members of the clergy and community leaders recently sent a letter to President Obama, in which they called on the President to commute Pollard’s sentence.
Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has deteriorated significantly during his two-and-a-half decades in prison.
Pollard’s life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others who have spied for allied nations.
The following is the text of former Vice President Quayle’s letter to President Obama:
January 31, 2011
The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500-0001
RE: Jonathan Pollard
Dear Mr. President:
I write this letter urging you to consider commuting the sentence of Jonathan Pollard.
I believe that a life sentence for the crime committed is very extreme. Though his crime was very serious, I hope you will once again look very carefully at this pending request.
Many others have written you on this matter. I join them in urging a commutation of his sentence.
Thank you for considering this request.
With warm regards,