Former Sen. Alan Simpson calls for Pollard clemency


(JTA) — Former Sen. Alan Simpson has asked President Obama to commute convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to time served.

Simpson, a Republican senator from Wyoming from 1979 to 1997, who was appointed by Obama as co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, sent a letter last week to Obama.  

"I do not condone espionage, nor do I underestimate the gravity of Pollard’s crime," the letter said. "But it is patently clear that Mr. Pollard’s sentence is severely disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) a gross miscarriage of justice."

The letter notes that Pollard is serving the 26th year of a life sentence after being indicted on one count of passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States — an offense that usually brings up to a four-year sentence.

"Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency — as well as a matter of basic compassion and American justice," the letter concluded.

Current and former U.S. lawmakers and government officials have called on Obama in recent weeks to grant clemency to Pollard. The most recent push for clemency has garnered substantive support among congressional Democrats, and a range of former officials of Republican and Democratic administrations.

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