Pressure in the United States to release jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard continues to mount – The Washington Post today published an article written by Pollard’s father, Professor Morris Pollard, in whic he calls for his son’s release.
The article, titled “Locked up for too long,” was published ahead of the 25th anniversary to Pollard’s arrest, which will be marked on Sunday.
“Twenty-five years ago this month, Jonathan Pollard, a civilian naval intelligence analyst, was arrested for passing to Israel classified US data concerning Iraq, Syria and other Arab states, including evidence of Saddam Hussein’s development of chemical weapons,” his father writes.
“Pollard was later sentenced to life in prison – the only person to receive such a punishment for spying for an American ally or neutral country,” he adds.
In his article, Pollard cites Lawrence Korb, an assistant secretary of defense at the time of Pollard’s arrest, who has been actively campaigning to release his jailed son.
Among his activities, Korb has appealed to President Barack Obama and asked him to mitigate Pollard’s prison sentence.
Prof. Pollard also mentions an editorial published by the newspaper in December 1993, which also called to alleviate Pollard’s punishment.
“(Former) Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was urging President Bill Clinton to commute Pollard’s sentence to the eight years then served. That call was supported by members of Congress and a range of prominent religious and political figures,” he writes.
In the editorial, Prof. Pollard claims other spies received much lighter sentences: “CIA agent David Barnett, who sold the Soviets the names of 30 American agents, was sentenced to 18 years and paroled after 10. Michael Walker, a key figure in the Walker family Soviet spy ring, was sentenced to 25 years and released after serving 15. William Kampiles, a CIA officer who sold the Soviets the operating manual to the KH-11 satellite, America’s “eye in the sky,” received a 40-year sentence and was released after 18 years.”
According to Pollard senior, “The message of those still opposed to Pollard’s release is that, apparently, we can wink at espionage on behalf of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and China; we can limit the punishments of those who expose American agents, compromise sophisticated US electronic intelligence capabilities, advance the development of enemy weapons systems and even fight alongside enemy combatants – but that unauthorized transmittal of classified data about Arab states to warn Israel of existential threats is unforgivable. For that crime even 25 years in prison is not enough.”
At the bottom of the article, he concludes with an open ended question, writing “A petition for executive clemency for Jonathan Pollard sits on President Obama’s desk. Will he bring the injustice in this affair to a long overdue end or be a partner in its perpetuation?”