Senior U.S. Officials: Charge Used to Keep Pollard in Prison 'Patently False'

Officials send letter to U.S. President Obama slamming the 'unjust denial of parole' for convicted spy whose 'grossly disproportionate' sentence continues.

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Israelis hold placards depicting Jonathan Pollard during a protest calling for his release from a U.S. prison.
Israelis hold placards depicting Jonathan Pollard during a protest calling for his release from a U.S. prison.Credit: Reuters

Eight senior U.S. officials have attacked the Obama administration for the "unjust denial of parole" for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, calling the charge the government uses to keep him imprisoned "patently false," according to a press release.

A U.S. Justice Department parole board denied a recent request to free the convicted spy for Israel, according to the Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard, who has repeatedly been denied requests for parole or for his sentence to be commuted, recently asked to be released under restricted conditions.

The defense and intelligence officials, including former CIA director James Woolsey, former Assistant U.S. Defense Secretary Lawrence J. Korb and former U.S. National Security Advisor Robert C. MacFarlane, sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama last week, asking him to commute Pollard's life sentence.

"We write to protest the unjust parole process which on August 4, 2014 denied parole to Jonathan Pollard after 29 years in prison," the officials wrote. "Our review of the Parole Commission decision compels our strongest objections to the conclusions of the Commission and our dismay with the deeply flawed process."

The officials went on to say that "the allegation that Pollard’s espionage 'was the greatest compromise of U.S. security to that date' is false; and not supported by any evidence in the public record or the classified file. Yet it was this fiction that the Parole Commission cited to deny parole."

The officials said the government relied on a "stale, largely discredited, 28-year-old classified memorandum written by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger" in making its decision.

"Mr. Weinberger himself discounted his original damage assessment of the Pollard case in a 2002 interview [and] the unreliability of the 1987 Weinberger document was known to and ignored by the Parole Commission," the officials wrote.

Pollard received a life sentence in 1987 for passing classified information to Israel while working as a civilian intelligence analyst. He was granted Israeli citizenship in 1995.

The officials went on to write, "It is clear that [Pollard's] sentence is far more severe than others in the U.S. convicted of the same offense. We are deeply troubled that his grossly disproportionate sentence is now continuing into a 30th year of incarceration, with no end in sight."

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