Saturday, 23 March 2013

Mr. President: Don’t Free Jonathan Pollard

One of the most prominent features of President Obama’s trip to Israel has been the incessant stream of demands he incurred for the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

Press pool reports say the motorcade route is often stocked with people holding signs to free Pollard. Obama was heckled during his Jerusalem speech by someone demanding Pollard be set loose.

And no doubt, Obama was importuned by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has been a tireless advocate for Pollard and who even, while out of office, visited him in jail. And with Obama on the trip was Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), one of the leading congressional proponents of Pollard’s release.

It would be an inestimable disgrace if Obama decided to make freedom for Mr. Pollard part of his Israeli Pacification Campaign.

Pollard, as you may know, was a U.S. citizen who pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison in 1987. He is now a citizen of Israel but remains in U.S. federal prison.

Pollard was well paid by the Israelis for his work and allegedly promised much more. He is believed to have passed information to other countries as well.

He is a traitor, and a venal one at that, and he should stay right where he is instead of being released to Israel to bask in glory and, once he writes his book, wealth.

I don’t care who he spied for, he gave thousands of documents to the Israelis, possibly betraying more secrets than any spy in U.S. history. He damaged U.S. national security and endangered those who work to secure it.

Pollard had no idea what the Israelis would do with the information he gave and the knowledge of sources and methods they gained. Israel is a friend but a foreign nation, and it has its own concerns that don’t involve U.S. security. Who knows who they traded this information to, or how securely they were able to keep it from spies within their own ranks?

The U.S. government made a decision based on national security to keep this information secret. Jonathan Pollard had another idea, and decided to sell it instead.

In rare example of exemplarily pellucid thought, Vice President Biden is one of the administration’s most ardent opponents of releasing Pollard.

Mr. President, listen to Joe, and leave Pollard to the jail cell he so industriously earned.

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