Pollard's appeal was rejected because of admiral's 'myth'

Judges gave weight to claim that Pollard sent 14 classified letters while in prison – though all evidence indicates the claim is a myth.

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Hillel Fendel,

Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Pollard
REUTERS

Last week's rejection of Jonathan Pollard's appeal to ease his difficult parole restrictions is largely due to a letter written by a US Navy admiral – the contents of which have been called a "myth."

An investigative report by the Hamodia newspaper shows that the letter, written in 1995, contains never-before raised grave accusations against Pollard. In fact, the parole commission itself noted last year that Pollard's sole infraction was when he told a warden that “G-d runs the world.”

Still, this did not stop the court from writing in its rejection of Pollard's appeal, "The fact that Pollard was never charged or disciplined for these [grave violations] did not strip the conduct of relevancy in the Commission’s assessment...” That is to say, even though the accusations had never before been attributed any importance – indicating their worthlessness – still and all, the Parole Commission was within its rights to take them into consideration when levying the harsh restrictions on Pollard.

Hamodia's long-time Pollard investigator Avraham Weissman reports that the story began in 1995, when then-acting CIA director Admiral William O. Studeman wrote a letter to the Parole Commission. The stated goal of his letter was to convince the commission not to grant parole to Jonathan Pollard. He stated there that Pollard had actually written 14 letters to outside addressees that contained top-secret classified information. Studeman described the information in a few lines, and then wrote, 'Mr. Pollard’s track record in prison can only be a harbinger of his anticipated security practices once released.'”

A legal observer who has been following the Pollard case for many years told Hamodia that he was “flabbergasted” when he was first permitted to see the Studeman letter last year.

He told Weissman that Studeman's letter is nothing more than a "myth," and explained why: “The sending of a single letter containing classified information would have sufficed to create a very serious blot on his prison record and very likely be grounds for new criminal charges against Pollard - let alone attempting to send 14 such letters. The government would have been delighted to find a reason to keep Pollard behind bars for many more years, yet for 20 years they never even insinuated that he had tried to do such a thing."

“Even in July of 2014," he continued, "when they harshly rejected his plea for parole, they gave no indication that he had broken any rules in regard to the sending of letters. After July 7, 2015, the parole commission itself noted that his sole infraction was when he told a warden that 'G-d runs the world.'”

Why, then, did the court agree last week that the Parole Commission was not out of bounds in giving weight to Studeman's letter? The court, in rejecting Pollard's appeal, "explained" as follows (emphasis added):

“The Commission did not abuse its discretion in according weight to a 1995 letter from the then-CIA director reporting that classified information had appeared in Pollard’s prison correspondence at least 14 times. The fact that Pollard was never charged or disciplined for these communications did not strip the conduct of relevancy in the Commission’s assessment of whether to impose special conditions on Pollard’s parole."

Hamodia further reports that after the Studeman letter was released, Pollard’s attorneys, who have high-level security clearance, asked to see the “14 letters” supposedly written by Pollard. They were steadfastly refused.

“The government must know that they had cleared hundreds of these same letters,” the legal observer noted. “Many of these letters are still out there, and were these letters released, the claim would be immediately debunked."

“However,” he added, “any objective observer wouldn’t even need to see the letters to know this is all a myth. As Pollard’s lawyers have stated in court, by acknowledging in 2015 what his sole ‘infraction’ in prison was, the Parole Commission itself repudiated the claim made by Studeman."

On July 7, 2015, during Pollard's 30th year in prison, he was finally granted parole. At the hearing, Gregg Maisal, chief of the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s office, confirmed that the government believed that there was no probability of Mr. Pollard re-offending.

His parole includes the following harsh restrictions: He must wear a GPS monitoring system that consists of a non-removable transmitter installed on his wrist, and a receiver that is plugged into an outlet in his Manhattan residence. Whenever he moves outside the range of the receiver, the transmitter acts as a GPS tracker and monitors his location. On Sabbath, he is effectively prevented from stepping outside his home, as that would cause the battery to drain, forbidden on the Sabbath according to Jewish Law. He also may not leave his home between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m, and during the daytime, he may travel only in parts of Manhattan, and is even prohibited from visiting nearby Brooklyn. His computers are monitored and inspected, as would be those of any employer who chooses to hire him, which has prevented him from being able to gain employment.

“In many ways," the legal observer told Hamodia, "the sad saga of the Studeman letter - a document whose absurd contents have been disclaimed by the very commission that is now trying to use it as a weapon against Pollard - is emblematic of why Jonathan’s battle for justice has always been so uphill. The 14 letters it refers to have never undergone any sort of judicial review. Not only did the government refuse to show them to Pollard’s lawyers, but they declined to show it to any third party — including Judge Forrest."

"Even now," he concluded, "after [Pollard] already served 30 long years in prison, in their zeal to make Pollard’s life as miserable as possible, they refuse to allow ideals like ‘truth’ or ‘justice’ to get in their way.”