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USA v Jonathan J. Pollard:
Sentencing Declarations, Filings, Clemency Drive

"...it was the established policy of the Department of Justice not to prosecute U.S. citizens for espionage activities on behalf of Israel." - Jonathan Pollard


The Israel Lobby Archive obtained filings from the District Court of the District of Columbia case USA v Jonathan J. Pollard, number 86:207 as well as Pardon Attorney correspondence and appeals for clemency to President Barak Obama.  Pollard was a former civilian intelligence analyst for the Naval Intelligence Support Command who pled guilty of spying for Israel.  Pollard's espionage was uncovered in 1985 when a co-worker noticed Pollard's removal of classified material from the NIS headquarters in Suitland, Maryland.  Management quickly brought in the FBI to investigate.

 Jonathan Pollard pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government on June 4, 1986. Prior to sentencing, Pollard declared, "I broke trust, ruined and brought disgrace to my family."  But Pollard also compared his situation to that of an Israeli pilot shot down behind enemy lines, conducted a public relations campaign in violation of agreements with the court and expressed his hope to be extradited to Israel. 

In January of 1987 Secretary of Defense Casper W. Weinberger submitted a secret 46-page damage assessment of Pollard's espionage which remains classified.  On March 2, 1987 Pollard's defense team submitted a second memorandum  (below) to aid sentencing which attempted to refute Weinberger's classified submission.  Portions of it are redacted.

On March 3, 1987, Weinberger submitted an four page unclassified rebuttal (below) stating "It is difficult for me, even in the so-called "year of the spy," to conceive of a greater harm to national security than that caused by the defendant in view of the breadth, the critical importance to the U.S., and the high sensitivity of the information he sold to Israel."  Weinberger went on to note Pollard's ongoing release of classified information, in one example to a Wolf Blitzer story published in the Washington Post.

Judge Aubry E. Robinson Jr. sentenced Pollard to life in prison the next day.

Date File File Size Excerpt/Description
05/17/2015 929 KB Pardon-related documents released by the Justice Department Pardon Attorney.  Grant F. Smith, Pollard should seek parole, but not be pardoned.  Bill Richardson, Professor Emeritus Angelo M. Codevilla, David Durenberger (repeat): pardon Pollard. Redacted email, "Is there a limit on the number of third party requests?"
04/07/2015 10.8 MB NCIS and FBI files compiled for a final report on the espionage incident. Includes news clippings, FBI interviews with Pollard, NCIS data files. 100 pages.
12/03/2014 15.6 MB ISCAP Declassified TOP SECRET affidavit in aid of sentencing by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.
01/31/2014 PDF 785 KB

Pardon-related documents released by the Justice Department Pardon Attorney through 1/31/2014.: - 11/28/2012 letter from Congress urging Pollard's release over health concerns and as an "act of compassion."  Signers include Eliot Engel, Ted Deutch, Frederica Wilson, Charles Rangel,  Bill Pascrel Jr.,  and Eleanor Holmes Norton.

06/13/2012 Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu, CEO and Director of Beit Midrash Darchie Horaah lobbies President Obama.  "I am writing you to honor the dying wishes of my revered and sainted father, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu...by offering myself as a guarantor for Jonathan Pollard upon his much-anticipated and long over-due release from prison in America--G-d willing, very soon!

1/2/2014 writing on University of St Thomas letterhead, former representative David Durenberger calls for Pollard's release. "I can recall my surprise at the sentence given to Jonathan Pollard compared to others...I was aware as Chair of the Committee of changes that we were told by intelligence agency heads had taken place in traditional agreements between the U.S. and Israel on the subject of spying...The fact that no President has chosen to take the action which I, and many of my former colleagues and associates in government, request that you take, Mr. President, does not reflect well on the office.  I believe in my heart that you have the capacity to right this wrong. And I respectfully request that you do so at your earliest convenience."  

08/17/2012 PDF 4.9 MB KB

Congressmen Robert E. Andrews, Bill Pascrell Jr., and Brad Sherman, lobby for Pollard's release.

05/23/2012 PDF 2.2 MB KB

Pardon-related documents released by the Justice Department Pardon Attorney through 5/23/2012.  The Rabbinical Assembly "representing 1.5 million Jews worldwide" passes a resolution asking Obama to commute Pollard's sentence.    Letters from Steve Symms (former Senator), Matt Salmon (former member of Congress) Alan Simpson (former Senator), Robert Wexler, Barney Frank, Gary Ackerman, Robert Turner (congressmen),  Rabbi David Zwiebel Agudath Israel of America, Moshe Kantor of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kahalon - Israeli Minister of Communications, "I have no doubt that your decision to release Jonathan Pollard now as a humanitarian expression of justice and compassion will bring great relief to many, and will remove this impediment to the friendship between our nations."Former Mayor David Dinkins.

06/17/2011 PDF 46 KB

The Office of Information Policy of the US Department of Justice ruled that no segment of Pollard's clemency appeal could be released stating "After carefully considering your appeal, I am affirming OPA's action on your request . OPA properly withheld certain information that is protected from disclosure under the FOIA pursuant to 5. U.S.C. section 552(b)(6). This provision concerns material the release of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of third parties."

03/14/2011 PDF 3.9 MB

Pardon-related documents are released by the Justice Department Pardon Attorney from 11/16/2010-3/13/2011.  Includes pardon request to President Obama from the Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein (AIPAC's Executive Committee), Bernard W. Nussbaum, Philip B. Heymann of Harvard Law School, Elie Wiesel writing from Boston University, former Senator Arlen Specter, 527 rabbis, 39 members of Congress, and Carol Pollard of the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics.

03/07/2011 PDF 224 KB  

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (ret.) clemency appeal to President Barak Obama: "I would have written this letter sooner but for a long trip abroad, from which I have just returned. While I was gone I gave much thought to the question of clemency for Jonathan Pollard. At first I felt I did not have enough information to render a reasoned and just opinion. But having talked with George Shultz and read the statements of former CIA Director Woolsey, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman DeConcini, former Assistant Defense Secretary Lawrence Korb, former Attorney General Mukasey and others whose judgments and first-hand knowledge of the case I respect, I find their unanimous support for clemency compelling. I believe justice would be served by commuting the remainder of Pollard's sentence of life imprisonment."

01/11/2011 PDF 385 KB

Secretary of State George Schultz (ret.) clemency appeal to President Barak Obama: "I am writing to join with many others in urging you to consider that Jonathan Pollard has now paid a huge price for his espionage on behalf of Israel and should be released from prison. I am impressed that the people who are best informed about the classified material he passed to Israel, former CIA Director James Woolsey and former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, favor his release. I find the letter you received from former Attorney General Michael Mukasey of the Bush administration particularly compelling."

12/21/2010 PDF 54 KB

Attorney General Michael Mukasey (ret.) "I write to ask that you consider commuting the sentence of Jonathan Pollard, and releasing him after he has served more than 25 years of a life term imposed following his plea of guilty to one count of disclosing classified information. You have received, and no doubt will receive, letters from others, seeking the same result. My purpose here is not simply to add one more letter to the stack, or simply to invoke my own public service in aid of this request. Rather, it is to focus attention on a few of the many letters you have already received from people knowledgeable of the underlying facts, and to add the perspective of a former district judge and a fonner Attorney General."

12/06/2010 PDF 86 KB

Senator Dennis DeConcini (ret.) clemency appeal to President Barak Obama:  "I was on the Senate Intelligence Committee when Pollard was arrested, and subsequently became its chairman. I am well aware of the classified information concerning the damage he caused. Pollard was charges with one count of giving classified information to an ally, Israel. He was never charged with nor to my knowledge did he ever give any information to a third country."

03/09/2010 PDF 131 KB Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich denies Conyer's 10/26/2009 request that Pollard's lawyers be allowed to access classified information.
11/15/2010 PDF 7.2 MB

Pardon-related documents released by the Justice Department Pardon Attorney.

10/26/2009 PDF 119 KB Representative John Conyers of the Judiciary Committee asks Eric Holder to give Pollard's pro bono lawyers access to classified sentencing documents.
10/14/2010 PDF 67 KB

Online docket - run from the PACER system.  Events from 05/15/1992-1/23/2006

01/13/2009 PDF 270 KB

DOJ releases essay on file from Antiwar.com "Pro-Israel Pardons and Leniency Too Costly to Continue"

01/02/2008 PDF 372 KB

On January 28, 2008 pro bono counsel for Pollard from Curtis Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP sought access to a classified memo filed by former Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger to aid in sentencing. This request, filed directly to then AG Michael Mukasey by Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman was denied by J. Patrick Rowan on June 12, 2008.

01/19/2006 PDF 569 KB

Court rejects Pollard counsel access to classified Weinberger memo.

03/04/1987 PDF 174 KB

Supplemental Declaration of Caspar W. Weinberger, Secretary of Defense

It is also relevant that Pollard has recently analogized himself to an Israeli pilot shot down behind enemy lines, and has stated his hope that he will yet be able to immigrate to Israel. Whatever else his analogy suggests, it clearly indicates that his loyalty to Israel transcends his loyalty to the United States. Nor, apparently, does any residual loyalty to the United States persuade him that he should protect U.S. national defense information at all. Only a few days ago, on February 15, 1987, the Washington Post published an article about Pollard. That article contained information purporting to reflect U.S. intelligence efforts. While I do not intend publicly to confirm or deny the accuracy of those statements, it is beyond cavil that, if true, such information should never be made publicly available. The defendant initially denied having been the source of the information, but when confronted with a polygraph examination on February 25, he acknowledged that he had either provided or confirmed certain of the information contained in that article by talking to a journalist.

03/03/1987 PDF 187 KB Defendant Jonathan J. Pollard's Response to the Government's Reply Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing

Defendant wishes to address five points relative to the Government's Reply Memorandum:

1. The Government expresses a horrified realization that Mr. Pollard envisions a political solution to his legal problems.

2. Mr. Pollard's ill-advised interviews with Wolf Blitzer, while yielding grist for the Government's allocution, did not result in the disclosure of classified information.

3. Mr. Pollard's polygraph examination on the issue of ideology versus money, as a motivation for the commission of the crime, instead of being clarified, has been hopelessly confused by the Government.

4. The Government repeats its failure to demonstrate that Mr. Pollard's conduct has harmed the national security.

5. The Government's appraisal of the extent and value of Mr. Pollard's cooperation is inconsistent with the truth of the situation and is itself motivated out of a desire to see that Mr. Pollard receive the maximum sentence...

03/02/1987 PDF 1.6 MB Defense 2nd Memorandum in aid of Sentencing

While it is proper, indeed, obligatory, that the United States set forth its views regarding damage inflicted by Mr. Pollard's conduct, Mr. Pollard expected that the opinions expressed would be succinct, objective, and relevant. Instead, the United States has filed a blizzard of contentions notable for the emphasis on the phrases "may have," "could have," and "possibly has."

The damage assessment in this case fails to establish the fact of injury in such a way as to justify substantial incarceration for Mr. Pollard. As presented, it is an overstated polemic of the evidence one expects to find in a case of espionage. Instead of concentrating on the actual damage to U.S. national interests, the United States has engaged in unbridled speculation on the potential damage. While this speculation would be germane if Mr. Pollard had only been apprehended yesterday, over fifteen months have elapsed since his arrest. During that time, the United States has debriefed him extensively, conducted exhaustive reviews of the documents delivered by him to the Israelis, and had the opportunity to observe any material alteration of the relationships between it and the Government of Israel, allied nations and friendly Arab nations. The United States should have developed a concrete assessment of total damage by now, thereby obviating the need for any speculation. The United States' reliance on speculation therefore underscores the tenuousness of its claims. "

02/17/1987 PDF 353 KB Opposition of United States to Defendant's Motion for Production of Evidence

Although defendant entered his plea of gui1ty over seven months ago, he has waited until this late date, only two weeks before sentencing, to demand discovery of certain information contained in government files unrelated to the instant case...

02/13/1987 PDF 1.3 MB Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant Jonathan J. Pollard's Motion for the Production of Evidence Favorable to the Accused

The Government has refused counsel's request, however, to produce the following documents:

1. The classified sentencing memorandum submitted to the court in the case of United States v. Pelton and

2. Documents relating to the detention and disposition of persons suspected of conducting espionage activities on behalf of the Government of Israel. The Government has produced the unclassified sentencing memorandum filed by it in the Pelton case. Orally, the prosecutor has stated that the classified sentencing memorandum is irrelevant to this proceeding~ that it should not be subjected to the burden of accumulating and producing information concerning the apprehension of other persons conducting espionage on behalf of Israel, when such cases are distinguishable from the present case by the amount of material passed to the Israeli Government. The Government's position has been further refined in its letter to counsel dated February 9, 1987 (Exhibit B).

01/06/1987 .PDF 1.1 MB Government's Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing

This memorandum is comprised of four sections. The first section will recount the facts and circumstances which lead to defendant's arrest on November 21, 1985. In the second sect ion of this memorandum, the government describes the nature and extent of defendant's espionage activities as revealed by the investigation conducted by the government following defendant's arrest. However, information relating to particular classified documents compromised by defendant, and the resulting damage to the national security, will be set forth in a separate memorandum and affidavit, filed in camera, because of their classified content. The third section of the instant memorandum sets forth certain information, obtained from defendant pursuant to his obligations under the plea agreement concerning the formation and conduct of the conspiracy. The final section of this memorandum contains an analysis of the sentencing factors which, the government believes, warrant the imposition of a substantial period of incarceration and monetary fine.

06/04/1986 PDF 311 KB United States of America v. Jonathan J. Pollard Indictment. 

Violation: Title 18, United States Code, Section 794 (c), Gathering or delivering defense information to aid foreign government

12/05/1985 PDF 128 KB Letter to the court signed "Minister without Portfolio".   

"Jonathan J. Pollard did not jeopardize the position of the United States by any means.  But assisted Israel against her hostile Arab enemies.  Nor has any information which may have been relayed to Israel regarding China been detrimental to U.S. security.  Attempts to incriminate this man has cast a dark shadow on U.S.-Israel relations."

Docket PDF 630 KB

Offline Docket - Case events from 06/04/1984-11/30/1990

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is presented without profit for research and educational purposes, most importantly understanding how government functions during law enforcement actions involving Israel and its lobbyists. The Israel Lobby Archive has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of the content nor is it endorsed or sponsored by the originator.

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