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Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Jerusalem Post editorial terms declassified CIA document game changer for Pollard case

CIA game changer
By JPOST EDITORIAL 12/18/2012 22:48
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editorials/Article.aspx?id=296492

The newly declassified 1987 CIA damage assessment bolsters official calls
for the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard. While portions of the CIA
document remain redacted, the disclosures officially confirm that Pollard
spied for Israel, not against the United States.

Moreover, the document puts the lie to American allegations that have been
used for over a quarter of a century to justify Pollardís continued
incarceration. For example, Pollardís full cooperation with the prosecution
was one of the welcome admissions in this document, as was the confirmation
that the volume of information Pollard transferred to Israel was far less
than claimed.

The CIA document also reveals the subterfuge used by the US government to
breach its plea agreement with Pollard.

The report brazenly states that Pollard was jailed for life because of an
ďunauthorizedĒ interview he gave to The Jerusalem Post. This is
preposterous. No reporter, much less one carrying a camera and a tape
recorder, could possibly gain access to a prisoner in a US federal prison
without authorization.

Another canard used to justify Pollardís life sentence is the claim that he
did enormous damage to US national security. While the declassified CIA
document does not deal with the damage done by Pollard, this issue is fully
addressed in a concurrent damage assessment known as The Victim Impact
Statement (VIS), written by the US Department of Justice.

The VIS, now a matter of public record, was submitted to the sentencing
judge in 1987 as an aid in determining Pollardís sentence. After a few
introductory sentences about the ďscope and breadthĒ of Pollardís
disclosures to Israel, the VIS describes the actual damage to the US as
follows: ďMr. Pollardís unauthorized disclosures have threatened the US
[sic] relations with numerous Middle East Arab allies, many of whom question
the extent to which Mr. Pollardís disclosures of classified information have
skewed the balance of power in the Middle East. Moreover, because Mr.
Pollard provided the Israelis virtually any classified document requested by
Mr. Pollardís coconspirators, the US has been deprived of the quid pro quo
routinely received during authorized and official intelligence exchanges
with Israel, and Israel has received information classified at a level far
in excess of that ever contemplated by the National Security Council. The
obvious result of Mr. Pollardís largesse is that US bargaining leverage with
the Israeli government in any further intelligence exchanges has been
undermined. In short, Mr. Pollardís activities have adversely affected US
relations with both its Middle East Arab allies and the Government of
Israel.Ē

The US governmentís own words in the VIS, carefully scripted to present the
most compelling case for the harshest possible sentence, reflect the damage
as being nothing more than short-term friction between the US and unnamed
Arab countries and a temporary reduction in bargaining leverage held by the
US over Israel. Not the kind of permanent, irreversible, and overwhelming
harm to US national security that some have claimed.

Pollard has repeatedly expressed remorse and was not charged with intent to
harm the US. He is the only person in American history to receive a life
sentence for spying for an ally. His continued incarceration is jarringly
inconsistent with American claims of close friendship and security
cooperation with Israel.

The US administration has repeatedly demonstrated remarkable flexibility
towards other allies, downgrading charges and dealing leniently with spies
from China, the Philippines, Greece and Saudi Arabia, among others. No such
consideration has been extended to Israel in Pollardís case, despite
overwhelming evidence that he is being punished far beyond the severity of
the offense he committed.

Many senior US officials, including those with firsthand knowledge of the
classified file, are openly calling for Pollardís release. They say his
sentence is ďgrossly disproportionateĒ and that keeping him in prison is ďa
travesty of justice.Ē

Both the prime minister and president of Israel have issued official
requests for the Israeli agentís release on humanitarian grounds because his
health is failing. He has served 28 years in prison, seven of them in
solitary confinement.

The newly declassified CIA damage assessment has again focused public
attention on the injustice of keeping Pollard in prison. Now is the time for
President Barack Obama, finally, to respond to all the official requests for
Pollardís release by commuting his sentence to time served. There are no
more excuses. It is time to send Pollard home.

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