The lawyer who represented the Blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman who masterminded and organized the first World Trade Center bombing among other terror defendants, Lynne Stewart, was ordered released due to health problems. Doctors claimed she has less than eighteen months to live as she has been diagnosed with breast cancer that has metastasized to her lungs and bones as well as type-2 diabetes and numerous other health problems. She was originally sentenced to ten years for having passed sensitive information she had received due to her representing the Blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman as well as messages from the Sheik to terrorist leaders and representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Her actions compromised numerous methodologies the United States had in use to monitor and track terror operatives. Among the information she passed on to terrorist leadership in Egypt and the Middle East included actionable information which permitted the terrorists to alter their methods so as to avoid American detection and possibly revealed names of operatives who had given the Americans information thus placing their lives at risk. During her resentencing trial it was revealed that the three judge panel of the federal appeals court had noted specifically that Stewart exhibited a “stark inability to understand the seriousness of her crimes.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan Pollard has begun his twenty-ninth year of a life sentence after being convicted of passing intelligence information to an allied power, Israel. While I would not try to minimize his crime, the information he passed has been defined as information of Arab military capabilities and assets and none was concerning any American assets or personnel and the information could have been covered under an agreement between the United States and Israel on information sharing which was ordered ignored by the State Department directing the Department of Defense. Even comparing the sentencing of Jonathan Pollard and Lynne Stewart makes one see that at least one of these two sentences makes little sense. Either Pollard was sentenced way beyond his crimes or Stewart was treated with kid gloves for her crimes. When a person who gave information on enemy military capabilities, assets and locations of the allied nation to whom the intelligence was given is sentenced to life while another who revealed methods and names as well as passing instructions to commit terrorist acts within the United States compromising the nation in numerous ways is sentenced to merely ten years there is some serious inequality in sentencing which should be obvious to anybody. Additionally, Lynne Stewart has never apologized or stated she had any regrets over her actions and has gone so far as to claim she had done nothing wrong as she was simply serving her client and conscience while Jonathan Pollard has admitted his crimes and apologized and shown contrition. As far as the argument that Ms. Stewart is in failing health, so is Mr. Pollard. Where President Clinton had promised to release Pollard as part of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians but after the Israelis held up their half of the bargain President Clinton laughed in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s face and called him a sucker for having believed Pollard would actually be released. President George W. Bush likely asked his father, former President Bush, and his father’s advisors, the same advisors who had convinced the Judge in Pollard’s case to throw out the agreement of a plea bargain and throw Pollard in prison for life. I hold President George W. Bush responsible for not taking the effort to research Pollard’s case himself and instead relying on slanders from those who were responsible for the life sentence.
I know that there will be those who will claim that the people from the State department knew of other crimes and that Pollard had turned over to the Russians the names of twenty American agents from the CIA. There is one problem with claiming that Johnathan Pollard had revealed the names of American agents anywhere, let alone Russia. Pollard was a Naval photographic evaluator who studied spy plane and satellite photos and discerned rocket launching, air defense, and other military potential targets. His clearance was limited to the level necessary to complete those kinds of evaluations and interpretations. He had no clearance nor could he have ever had access to information such as the names of active agents or any other CIA information. His clearance was limited to Naval photographic files and the actual photographs, nothing more. He not only did not have any clearance for information on CIA spies, he had no access to any information from the CIA unless the CIA sent photographs to the Navy to be inspected and interpreted for information, an unlikely but possible scenario, but personnel information would have been far beyond any access that Pollard was cleared to receive. He worked at a Naval operations center and likely never even set foot in any CIA building anywhere or at any time. Perhaps if Johnathan Pollard had instead given information to the Muslim Brotherhood he would have been freed long ago, but he foolishly gave the information to the Israelis and did it without receiving the huge sums of money some have claimed. He has stated that what he had done was a bad error in judgment and he expressed remorse all to no avail. Yet without any contrition or remorse Lynne Stewart is going home and I am willing to bet she lives well past the eighteen months that she is claimed to have remaining to her. Where I feel sympathy for her illness, I still am suspect that soon we will hear of her remarkable turnaround and her cancer having gone into remission, meanwhile her serving of her sentence will also have gone into remission.
Beyond the Cusp