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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Will Obama release Pollard before the 2012 elections?

From the New Jersey Jewish News:
A longtime national activist in the fight to free convicted spy Jonathan Pollard believes his sentence will be commuted by President Barack Obama.

“I believe it will happen sooner rather than later,” said Farley Weiss.

Weiss said he based that assessment on several factors, including support from four prominent political leaders with access to classified information regarding the case. They are former Arizona Sen. Dennis DeConcini, former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee; former CIA director R. James Woolsey; Philip B. Heymann, former deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton; and Clinton White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum.

Moreover, the movement to free the former naval intelligence analyst has picked up the support of hundreds of legislators, legal scholars, and a large segment of the Jewish community, said Weiss. (Earlier last month, Robert Wexler, a former Democratic congressman from Florida and one of Obama’s closest Jewish confidantes, urged the president to release Pollard.)

Pollard has served 26 years of a life sentence for passing classified materials to Israel, longer than anyone else convicted of espionage on behalf of a U.S. ally.

Weiss suggested that Obama could use a Pollard pardon to shore up his faltering support among Jews who are wary of his policies toward Israel.

“This is an era of political expediency and a lot of people think he will do it because it’s politically beneficial,” said Weiss. “There is no constituency opposing Pollard’s release. So when it’s in their political interest and also the right thing to do, eventually a politician will do it.”
Releasing Pollard would definitely make political sense, especially when Obama is being increasingly seen as anti-Israel by the Jewish community and as the Republicans are increasing their attacks on the president because of his Israel policies.