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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 12/23/2010

Michael Mukasey urges Jonathan Pollard's release

By Jennifer Rubin

Another former U.S. official, Michael Mukasey, has stepped forward to call for Jonathan Pollard's release. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Former US attorney-general Michael Mukasey sent a letter to US President Barack Obama, released Wednesday, calling for Jonathan Pollard's sentence to be commuted to time served: "[Pollard] has not been alleged by anyone to have had any motive to harm the United States. In these circumstances, a life sentence can only be considered utterly disproportionate to the crime," the letter read.

"I had occasion myself to consider life sentences, and indeed to impose them. In more than 18 years on the bench, I imposed such sentences on four defendants," Mukasey said.

Mukasey, George W. Bush's attorney general, has a sterling reputation. And, as the federal judge who presided over the 1993 World Trade Center bombing case, he can't be characterized as "soft on crime" or lax on issues of national security.

This issue is one of those controversial ones that doesn't neatly line up along party lines. One would think that left-leaning civil libertarians would object to solitary confinement and excessive punishment, while those on the right would, as Mukasey has done, consider seriously whether this is a miscarriage of justice perpetuated by a familar list of individuals whose judgment is hardly flawless. (then-CIA director George Tenet threatened to quit during the Clinton presidency if Pollard was pardoned. Was his information more solid on that than on the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?)

Here is a suggestion (not my own, but I pass it on): Let's see some of the information, now 25-years-old, that is relevant to the case. What did former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger say in his letter to the court -- and do we now know that information to be false? (It's practically inconceivable that any of that information should still be classified.) Were Aldrich Ames and Robert Hannsen in fact convicted for disclosing information to the Soviets that was incorrectly used as the basis for Pollard's sentencing? At the very least, the Obama administration should go back to the original documentation and assess whether, with 20-20 hindsight, Pollard was deserving of a life sentence and years of solitary confinement.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 23, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Israel  
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Did Mukasey make this recommendation to the President he served? If not why not? It's not as though he knows something now that he didn't know then.

Posted by: IsraelP | December 23, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, If George Bush, whom many would describe as a close friend to Israel, and Mukasey, who was his last attorney general during his tenure, did not see fit to pardon Pollard when they had all the legal options at their disposal to do so, why now?

This smacks of cheap poiltical theater in another effort to discredit the Obama administration in the American Jewish commnunity!

Posted by: 54465446 | December 23, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Pollard plead guilty in a deal. Then there was a sentencing hearing at which evidence was presented and contested. After full hearing of the evidence, the Federal Judge found a factual basis for an upward departure from sentencing guidelines all the way to life in prison. That factual basis was the details of what was revealed, the circumstances, and the damage done. It included our nuclear targeting and nuclear codes, and the names of undercover agents who then lost their lives.

We can debate whether this is "treason" or "murder" or something else. Whatever it is called, he is lucky he did not get the death penalty, which he richly deserved. He still could, and if there is any possibility he might be freed, he still should be executed.

Posted by: MarkThomason | December 23, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: MarkThomason

Mark,so based on your comment,what is Rubin's agenda for this posting?

Posted by: rcaruth | December 23, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse


I think I answered that one for you didn't I?

Posted by: 54465446 | December 23, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I think I answered that one for you didn't I?
Posted by: 54465446

You offered an opinion,maybe Mark will offer his.

Posted by: rcaruth | December 23, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I have strong opinions on Pollard. I have no opinion on Rubin's agenda. There are many possibilities, and I don't know. I would be interested to hear from anyone who does know, if they feel she has been other than open and candid about it.

Posted by: MarkThomason | December 23, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'm not as pumped with Rubin as I was on her 'comeback kid' article. Is the tone here conspiratorial? I'm definitely not a fan of the WMD joke. Lame. Finally, I find it disturbing that the only category for this article is "Israel." Not national security, not intelligence, not justice, not anything related to the topic or the field except a foreign nation. Of course Israel and the USA have a special relationship, but it's not in our Union. We shouldn't blend state relationships with individual situations. We help individual victims of an earthquake in Iran because we can separate the two. We convict a spy who betrayed our trust for an ally (or whatever the motive was) because we can separate the two. If we merge the two, we lose the ability to do either of those things, at the expense of national interest and character.

Posted by: Buddyg04 | December 23, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

you can help solving these crimes with a Criminal Justice Degree, search the internet for "United Forensic College"

Posted by: jongbenner | December 24, 2010 3:33 AM | Report abuse

Why should Israeli public opinion be the major factor in determining whether to release Pollard? Rubin's argument proceeds from the presumption that the US should be subservient to Israel on this issue as it is on so many others. Releasing Pollard would reward the Netanyahu government for its intransigence on the peace process and demonstrate a lack of resolve in combating current Israeli espionage activities. Rubin's article also leaves out any facts that run counter to her argument for release, e.g. that Israel never complied with American demands for the return or identification of all disclosed information. Neither Pollard nor Israel has done anything to merit release. However expedient it might be politically for the current administration to pander to the Israelis and Pollards supporters, I doubt that most Americans will accept this as a justification for his release.

Posted by: mohler1 | December 26, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

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