Today the prison cell door will open and Jonathan Pollard will taste freedom for the first time in nearly thirty years.
And that’s too bad.
In the 1980s Pollard, then an intelligence analyst for the Navy, was caught red-handed sharing U.S. security information with Israel. A lot of security information, in fact.
In other words, he was a spy – against his own country.
He said he did it because U.S. actions endangered Israel. He put Israel’s welfare ahead of that of his own country. Israel at first denied it, then admitted it and apologized, which was nice but also too little and too late, and when asked to return the stolen materials Pollard provided only returned a small portion of the items and then waited another dozen years before conceding that not only did it know about Pollard’s espionage from the start but it also paid Pollard for his efforts – paid him well, actually.
Pollard sought a plea deal, mostly to lighten the legal burden on his girlfriend, who was part of his little spy operation. During plea negotiations Pollard brazenly violated some of the terms of that agreement and the judge responded by sentencing him to life in prison.
Over the years Israel and some Jewish groups in the U.S. have attempted to secure Pollard’s release and in 1995 Pollard, still clear about his priorities, successfully applied for Israeli citizenship.
A lot of people The Curmudgeon respects have urged U.S. presidents to commute Pollard’s sentence – past and present members of Congress like Lee Hamilton, Arlen Specter, John McCain, and Barney Frank, former president Jimmy Carter, and law professor Charles Ogletree among them. Among those who opposed commuting the sentence are a lot of people The Curmudgeon doesn’t like: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, James Schlesinger, and others.
For once, The Curmudgeon’s with Cheney and Rumsfeld. He wants the guy to rot in jail until he dies. And while the plan is that he must reside in the U.S. for at least five years, The Curmudgeon would prefer that Israel send a plane for the guy and take him away immediately.
Spying for our enemies is bad enough; spying for our friends is even worse. We don’t need people like that in our country. Let him spend the rest of his life in Israel, wondering whether that loud sound he hears is a Palestinian rocket with his name on it.