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Rumsfeld: No to Pollard Clemency

Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld opposes clemency for Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard despite disproportionate sentence.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 3/31/2011, 9:40 PM / Last Update: 3/31/2011, 10:34 PM

Former US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld told Israel's Channel 10 Thursday Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard should not be granted clemency by US President Barack Obama.

Rumsfeld said freeing someone convicted of spying sends the wrong message that such behavior is acceptable. Rumsfeld did not explain his view in light of the fact that Pollard’s life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others convicted of the same charge.

Despite the fact that Pollard entered into a plea agreement and fully cooperated with the prosecution in his case, he nonetheless received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled, which was in complete violation of the plea deal he had reached with the government.

Jonathan Pollard, whose health has seriously deteriorated during his two and a half decades in prison, has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others.

in the months following Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's official request to President Obama for clemency for Pollard, many prominent US government officials, high-ranking individuals in the national intelligence arena, leading professionals in the legal world, and renowned religious and communal leaders have issued public calls for clemency for Pollard. Despite Rumsfeld’s comments, efforts to bring about Pollard's have been gaining steam. Recently, John McCain said he would publicly call for Pollard’s release, as has Congressman Michael Grimm from New York.

They are the first Republican legislators, from the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, to call for Pollard's release.