[Congressional Record Volume 143, Number 63 (Wednesday, May 14, 1997)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E917-E919]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                          HON. ELIOT L. ENGEL

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, May 13, 1997

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I am entering two articles into the 
Congressional Record which deal with the case of Jonathan Pollard. It 
is important to have these articles printed because the American people 
deserve to understand all aspects of Jonathan Pollard's case.
  I do not believe that what Jonathan Pollard did was right. It was 
wrong; it broke the law and Jonathan Pollard deserved to be punished. 
Jonathan Pollard is the first to admit that. In fact, at a recent 
meeting I had with him at the Federal prison in Butner, NC, where he is 
incarcerated, he told me that he was wrong and deserved to be punished.
  My problem with the entire Jonathan Pollard case is that while I 
don't expect him to be treated any better than anyone else committing 
similar acts, I certainly don't expect him to be treated any worse. The 
fact of the matter is that Jonathan Pollard has now served more than 11 
years of a life sentence, far greater than anyone else convicted of 
similar crimes. In fact, a number of people convicted of spying for 
enemy countries, such as the former Soviet Union, have been given 
lighter sentences than Mr. Pollard--who was convicted of spying for a 
friendly country.
  It is my understanding that Mr. Pollard pled guilty and avoided going 
to trial in exchange for a promise that the Justice Department would 
not ask for a life sentence for him. Although the Justice Department 
did not per se request a life sentence, others, including Caspar 
Weinberger, did. Thus, Mr. Pollard was given a life sentence, even 
though he had been led to believe he would face lesser punishment.
  The two articles I am submitting into the Congressional Record tell 
of the disparity of the Pollard case when contrasted with another 
person who passed classified information to Saudi Arabia. As one can 
tell from the articles, the indictment of the person accused of spying 
for the Saudis was subsequently dropped in exchange for a last minute 
plea bargain agreement offered by the Navy in which the alleged 
perpetrator spent not 1 day in jail and received only an other-than-
honorable discharge.

[[Page E918]]

  I believe that questions of fairness and equity need to be addressed 
in the Jonathan Pollard case. It is my contention that Jonathan Pollard 
has not been treated justly when one contrasts his length of 
incarceration with others who have been convicted of similar crimes. 
People should be punished when they break the law. No one, however, 
should be singled out for harsher treatment than others convicted of 
similar crimes. I believe this happened in the case of Jonathan 
  I ask that articles by Alex Rose, entitled ``A Tale of Two Spies,'' 
and Morton Klein, entitled ``Double-Standard Spying,'' be printed at 
this point in the Record.

                          A Tale of Two Spies

                             (By Alex Rose)

       From November, 1992 to September 1994, Lt. Cmdr. Michael 
     Schwartz delivered secret national defense information to 
     Saudi Arabia. A 15-year Navy veteran, Schwartz was 
     subsequently arrested and indicted for violating both the 
     Uniform Code of Military Justice and various federal 
       The indictment stated that while he was assigned to the 
     U.S. Military Training Mission in Riyadh, Schwartz had 
     willfully compromised sensitive information ``with intent or 
     reason to believe it would be used to the injury of the 
     United States, or to the advantage of the Kingdom of Saudi 
     Arabia.'' According to press reports, the documents in 
     question included classified digests, intelligence advisories 
     and tactical intelligence summaries. These documents were 
     classified up to the secret level and specified ``no foreign 
       Although Schwartz was scheduled to be court-martialled for 
     his action, he accepted a last-minute plea agreement offered 
     by the Navy. While such arrangements are not unusual, 
     particularly in espionage cases involving American allies, 
     Schwartz' so-called ``punishment'' was unprecedented: 
     ``other-than-honorable'' discharge from the Navy. In other 
     words, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Schwartz was not obliged to spend a 
     minute in jail.
       For a remarkably similar offense--giving classified 
     information to an ally--Jonathan Pollard received a life 
     sentence with a recommendation that he never be paroled.
       What are the differences between the two cases?
       The obvious ones have anti-Semitic overtones: Schwartz is 
     not Jewish, and Pollard was spying on behalf of Israel. Not 
     nearly as apparent is that the U.S. Government--which had 
     expressed official outrage at Israel's ``arrogance'' in the 
     Pollard case and proclaimed loudly (without offering any 
     evidence) that his espionage was the worst in American 
     history--has handled the Schwartz case with kid gloves and 
     virtual silence.
       Even the Jewish War Veterans, whose lack of sympathy for 
     Pollard is a matter of record, was nevertheless moved to 
     revulsion by the Schwartz affair. The JWV said that it 
     believes ``that when compared to other crimes of espionage by 
     Navy personnel, both to enemy and friendly governments, the 
     punishment is a farce. In each of the other cases, harsh 
     prison sentences, including life-time sentences, were meted 
     out.'' The Jewish veterans also questioned what information 
     was passed to the Saudis, and who in the Saudi royal family 
     knew of the Schwartz espionage.
       Other questions, as well, beg answers:
       Have the Saudis been asked for a formal apology?
       Have they promised not to recruit any more American 
     intelligence officers or to close the intelligence unit 
     responsible for the affair? Have the Saudis agreed to 
     allow participants in the operation to be questioned by 
     American counter-espionage authorities? Have they returned 
     all the stolen documents? What other countries may have 
     seen the information Schwartz gave to the Saudis? (This 
     item loomed large in the Government's assessment of 
     Pollard. Why did it lose its relevance for Schwartz?)
       Granted, the Navy's unwillingness to address any of these 
     issues may be understandable; but it's also important to 
     recognize the fact that a mindset like theirs, which 
     subordinates American interests to protecting Saudi 
     sensitivities at all costs, can have deadly consequences. 
     Anyone doubting this need only recall the bombing of our 
     Khobar Towers facility in Dhahran two years ago. Reacting to 
     the inadequate security precautions that allowed this outrage 
     to occur, a Washington Post editorial of July 12, 1995 
     observed that ``The suggestions of American reluctance to 
     offend the culturally delicate Saudis by demanding more 
     attention to the security of Saudi Arabia's American 
     protectors amount to an intelligence failure of a profound 
     sort.'' No doubt this same type of craven fear of ruffling 
     Saudi Arabia's feathers was the principal reason why Schwartz 
     did not have to stand trial nor suffer a jail sentence, and 
     was not referred to by the Secretary of Defense as a 
     ``traitor''--something which Pollard, by the way, was falsely 
     accused of being by Caspar Weinberger.
       Although the Government subsequently apologized for 
     Weinberger's groundless charge, this episode should remove 
     any doubt as to what the Department of Defense's actual 
     attitude towards Israel was at the time of Pollard's arrest. 
     It also tends to confirm what many in the Jewish community 
     have believed all along; namely that the Pollard affair was 
     used by certain elements within our national security 
     establishment as a means of tarnishing the popular perception 
     of Israel as both a valuable and reliable ally. After all, if 
     Pollard was a ``traitor'' as Weinberger had stated who, then, 
     was the ``enemy''? That Schwartz was never used to smear the 
     country he served, further highlights the politically-driven 
     distinction our government drew between these two cases of 
     ``friendly'' espionage.
       There are, of course, other aspects of the Schwartz case 
     which President Clinton obviously never even considered 
     before he turned down Pollard's last clemency appeal. For 
     example, the Government's decision not to prosecute Schwartz 
     calls into question CIA arguments that Pollard cannot be 
     released because he knows too much. This is an absurdity. 
     Schwartz was spying until recently, whereas Pollard has been 
     in prison for more than 11 years! How is it that Schwartz is 
     not a threat to national security but Pollard is?
       The President also seems to have been heavily influenced by 
     the views of Joseph DiGenova, the U.S. attorney who 
     prosecuted Pollard. Briefly put, DiGenova feels that 
     individuals caught spying for close allies like Israel should 
     actually be punished more harshly than those caught spying 
     for enemies, since there is a greater ``danger'' that 
     individuals would feel more predisposed to help friends. If 
     there is any merit to this logic, it has been totally lost in 
     the government's refusal to prosecute Schwartz vigorously, 
     rather than to have set him free. But nobody, apparently, 
     brought this to the President's attention.
       Lastly, our government sought to justify its decision not 
     to prosecute Schwartz by claiming that the information he 
     provided Saudi Arabia was ``less sensitive'' than what 
     Pollard gave to Israel. One needs to recall, though, that 
     Schwartz was indicted and confessed to a serious crime. 
     Clearly, some punishment was therefore warranted beyond his 
     mere ``less-than-honorable'' discharge from the Navy. The 
     fact that this did not occur demonstrates that extra-legal 
     considerations came into play in the disparate treatment. In 
     other words, politics was allowed to corrupt the U.S. 
     judicial system. Anything, then, the national security 
     establishment might have to say about the relative 
     sensitivity of Schwartz' information is simply too tainted to 
     be believed. Yet, the same intelligence and defense agencies 
     who rescued Schwartz from prosecution are the very ones who 
     have counselled President Clinton to adhere to a policy of 
     ``selective prosecution'' towards Pollard. So how objective 
     could their advice have been?
       It seems, though, that nobody has seen fit to point this 
     out to the President; and unless somebody does, Clinton will 
     never know why his refusal to commute Pollard's sentence 
     threatens to undermine one of our most important legal 
     traditions: namely, the assurance that when a person is 
     convicted of breaking the law, he or she will receive 
     approximately the same punishment that any other person would 
     receive for a similar violation that was committed under 
     comparable circumstances. However, given the way Schwartz was 
     preferentially handled, this principle of equal justice has 
     been grossly violated in the case of Jonathan Pollard. But 
     Clinton not only declined to correct this situation by 
     granting Pollard clemency, he did so in a way that placed his 
     own imprimatur on Pollard's clearly-aberrant life sentence.
       What a growing number of people are slowly recognizing, 
     though, is that if our legal system does not work for Pollard 
     because of who and what he is, it could fail each and every 
     one of us, as well, both as Jews and as Americans.
       In our society, justice cannot simply be a theoretical 
     concept--it must be seen to be done. Only in this way will 
     our much-touted system of checks and balances have meaning. 
     It is critical, therefore, that Congress investigate how a 
     Saudi spy (Schwartz) was permitted to act with impunity while 
     an Israeli spy (Pollard) was treated as an enemy agent. Two 
     spies, two countries and two vastly different punishments 
     cannot help but leave one with the distinct feeling that 
     there is a double standard in need of challenging.

                 [From the Jewish Press, Apr. 11, 1997]

                         Double-Standard Spying

                           (By Morton Klein)

       We all know what happens to an American who illegally 
     passes classified U.S. intelligence data to Israel: life 
     imprisonment, repeated refusals by the President to grant 
     clemency, leaks to the media of false allegations against the 
     defendant and against Israel. That's what happened in the 
     Jonathan Pollard case. He broke the law and he was, 
     understandably, punished for doing so.
       In the case of Pollard, he helped a country that is 
     America's closest ally in the Mideast. The information 
     Pollard illegally gave Israel helped protect it from Arab 
       What happens, on the other hand, when an American illegally 
     passes classified U.S. intelligence data to an Arab 
     dictatorship that can hardly be described as a reliable ally 
     of the United States? Lieutenant-Commander Michael Schwartz 
     was last year arrested for providing such data to Saudi 
     Arabia. A U.S. Navy grand jury indicted him on the charge of 
     espionage, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment. His 
     punishment? An ``other than honorable discharge.''
       Not a day in jail. Not a penny in fines. And not a word of 
     concern from any Clinton Administration official about the 
     fact that Saudi Arabia, which is supposed to be an ally of 
     the United States, was using a spy to steal American 
     intelligence secrets, just months after American soldiers 
     were dying in defense of Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War.

[[Page E919]]

     U.S. officials would not even publicly admit that the Saudis 
     had recruited Schwartz; they told The Washington Post that 
     Schwartz had not been hired by Saudi Arabia, but rather ``was 
     only trying to be friendly and cooperative to a U.S. ally.''
       The government's handling of the Schwartz case is 
     particularly troubling in view of the many recent Saudi 
     actions that fell far short of what one would expect from an 
       Saudi Arabia refused to let the U.S. use its territory to 
     launch the recent missile strikes against Iraq.
       The Saudis rejected America's request to let the FBI 
     interrogate four terrorists who were involved in last year's 
     attack against U.S. Army personnel in Saudi Arabia.
       The Saudi authorities prevented the U.S. from capturing one 
     of the world's most wanted terrorists, Imad Mughniyah of the 
     Syrian-supported Islamic Holy War group, who was responsible 
     for the 1983 bombing that killed 241 American Marines in 
     Lebanon. Mughniyah was on an airplane that was scheduled to 
     land in Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. informed the Saudis that 
     they intended to arrest him during the stopover. The Saudis 
     responded by preventing the plane from landing, so that 
     Mughniyah could escape.
       I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jonathan 
     Pollard by telephone, from his prison cell in Buttner, North 
     Carolina. He is now in his 12th year of incarceration, 
     although no other individual convicted of a similar type of 
     spying for an ally of the U.S. has ever served more than five 
     years in prison. Jonathan asked me: ``Why am I still in jail, 
     while Michael Schwartz is walking free?'' Good question--one 
     that Jewish leaders should be asking Clinton Administration 
     officials at every opportunity.