Less than a month since being paroled from federal prison, Jonathan Pollard achieves court victory when Judge admits electronic bracelet & computer monitoring may not be needed since former Israeli spy no longer has access to secrets.
By Reuters & Israel Hayom Staff
The U.S. government must reassess the threat posed by former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and adjust his parole conditions accordingly, a U.S. judge said on Monday.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest said the U.S. Parole Commission had provided little basis to justify why Pollard must wear an electronic bracelet and submit to monitoring of his work computer despite not being exposed to classified material during his 30-year incarceration.
She ordered the U.S. Parole Commission to determine whether it believed that Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, still possessed confidential information.
“If there is secret information Jonathan Pollard could disclose, then restrictive conditions could be necessary,” Forrest said. But if he does not, Forrest said, his conditions may need to be modified. Forrest called her decision to send Pollard’s case back to the commission for further review “the first step, and I think this is the right step.”
Lawyers for Pollard have called the electronic bracelet’s use unjustified, and said the computer conditions would prevent him from taking an investment firm job.
Eliot Lauer, Pollard’s lawyer, in court also said no one had ever suggested any information his client had remained sensitive three decades later. But the U.S. Justice Department argued the strict conditions were “reasonably related” to the circumstances underlying Pollard’s crime to ensure, among other things, that he did not disseminate classified information.
Rebecca Tinio, a Justice Department lawyer, said the “majority of the information Mr. Pollard had 30 years ago remains classified.”
Pollard, 61, pleaded guilty in 1986 to conspiracy to commit espionage in connection with his providing Israeli contacts with suitcases full of highly classified documents.
He was sentenced in 1987 to life in prison. After serving 30 years, which included time in custody following his arrest, Pollard was released on parole on Nov. 20 from a federal prison in North Carolina and is now living in New York.
Pollard, who was granted Israeli citizenship in prison, has said he wants to emigrate to Israel. Israel has long pushed for his release. As part of his parole, Pollard must remain in the United States for five years, although his lawyers have asked President Barack Obama to commute his sentence, allowing him to go to Israel immediately.
U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes has recently said Obama had no plans to alter the parole terms.
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