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And the Difference Between Pollard and Sobell Is...?

By Yisrael Medad
9/20/2008, 12:00 AM

Can someone explain this absurdity?

In a "Letter to the Editor" in Friday's New York Times, Morton Sobell who stood trial with the Rosenbergs clarifies aspects of his previous admission about his spying and stated

As for me, I helped an ally (admittedly illegally) during World War II. I chose not to cooperate with the government in 1950. The issues are now with the historians. Morton Sobell, Bronx, Sept. 12, 2008

To help you out, I will remind you that Sobell was arrested in August 1950 and in April 1951 was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for the crime of spying for the Soviet Union (then in 1951 an enemy of the United States but not during the war), of conspiracy to commit wartime espionage, by handing over to his handlers sensitive military material. In 1969, Sobell was released from jail. He did not cooperate with the trial proceedings and never testified, either against or for the Rosenbergs or himself.  He never spoke at the trial.

The total time he spent behind bars: 19 years.

As regards the Rosenbergs, their death sentences resulted because of the Espionage Act of 1917, which imposes death as a maximum penalty for espionage in wartime. If they had spied in peacetime, the maximum penalty would have been twenty years' imprisonment.

Now, consider this -

Jonathan Pollard was arrested in late 1985 and sentenced to life imprisonment in March 1987 for a crime commited on behalf of an ally, aiding Israel, and not during wartime. He had entered into a plea agreement, cooperating fully with the prosecution yet his life sentence, with a recommendation that he never be paroled was in violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government.

Jonathan Pollard was never indicted for harming the United States nor was he ever indicted for compromising codes, agents, or war plans or charged with treason in that he ever spied for an enemy state in time of war.

Jonathan Pollard was indicted on only one charge: one count of passing classified information to an ally, without intent to harm the United States.

Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Williams called the case "a fundamental miscarriage of justice" and wrote that he would have ordered that Pollard's sentence be vacated.

So, tell me, why is Jonathan Pollard still in jail 21 years after being sentenced?

What is the difference in the leniency granted Sobell and the cruelty displayed to Pollard?

What am I missing here?