2006-05-05 / Columnists

It's My Turn

By Michael Honan

I continue to be embarrassed by and ashamed of many of my local elected officials. Case in point is Congressman Anthony Weiner, U.S. House of Representatives. In a press release reported in the April 28, 2006 edition of The Wave, at a recent religious service commemorating the conclusion of Passover, Congressman Weiner called upon President Bush to commute the sentence of a convicted traitor to our country. Incredible! Furthermore, he made these demands in front of the Consul General to the United Nations of the country that benefited by this treason! With apologies to Mr. Ripley, "Believe It Or Not," you can't make this stuff up!

The traitor in question is Jonathan Pollard, an American Intelligence Analyst who gave or sold secrets to Israel Intelligence Operatives stationed at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. in the 1980's. It has been reported that the information given to Israel was in turn sold to or stolen by an East European Communist Block country, thereby further endangering our national security at the time. Despite demands through diplomatic channels, the Israeli government has refused to return the information Pollard supplied them.

Apparently, Pollard was a very good spy and has been awarded Israeli citizenship in absentia, given his incarceration. He also might be receiving an Israeli government pension to boot.

In the months following his arrest, the Pollard defense team entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Part of the agreement required that Pollard full cooperate. In turn the prosecutors would not oppose his receiving a lenient sentence. Most importantly, this written plea agreement was clear on the fact that the sentencing judge was not bound by the plea agreement in sentencing Pollard. Subsequently, there were arguments made for and against Pollard fulfilling his part of the plea agreement.

After receiving a classified briefing from then Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger on the consequences of his acts on our national security, the District Court Judge saw fit to sentence Pollard to life imprisonment, a sentence later affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court has refused defense counsel applications to review the case.

The Pollard apologists over the years have unsuccessfully attempted to portray him as a Dreyfuss figure, being treated unfairly because he is Jewish. I view him as a Quisling character, a traitor to his country who deserved what he got. Efforts to secure his release have failed apparently in no small part due to the egregious acts committed by him and the consensus that he still poses a threat to our country. The fact that President Bill Clinton, in January of 2001, in the final hours of his presidency refused to pardon Pollard speaks volumes to me on this point.

The symbolism of Congressman Weiner's demands being made at the end of Passover is not lost on me in this matter. I only wish that my Congressman would have take that opportunity, in front of Israel's Consul General, to demand that Israeli officials return the stolen information and give a full accounting to American Intelligence to better safeguard our country. I have a question for Congressman Weiner: if the spy in question was a Muslim who gave the information to Syrian Military Intelligence, would you even have a passing iota of concern about his sentencing? I await your reply...but I think we all know the answer already.

In conclusion, Congressman Weiner does not represent my beliefs, or the beliefs of many of his constituents on this topic. I wish that he would stop using the position of his office, in a religious setting no less, to further his agenda.


Since the submission of this column, the Associated Press reported that an attorney for Pollard in Israel has filed a lawsuit to block the appointment of Pollard's former handler in the Israeli secret service - the Mossad, to an important government ministerial position. The attorney describes Pollard as a "soldier" and states, "A commander who leaves a soldier in the field should not receive ministerial responsibility."

Need I say more? This is a serious indictment of Pollard and his sympathizers. I think that it is time for Congressman Anthony Weiner to search his heart of hearts, rethink his position and be man enough to publicly admit that he has been wrong on Pollard.

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