But, on the other hand, Holder might have a positive impact in another case - the AIPAC trial. The accused AIPAC officials relayed - to the press, to other AIPAC officials and to an Israeli diplomat - information US government officials gave them (in a sting operation), regarding anti-Israel operations in Iraq. The AIPAC guys argue that they had thought they were permitted to speak of the information they had been given.Fair enough, but is there any way to know which way Eric Holder might be leaning in a potential pardon for Jonathan Pollard?
As noted a couple of days ago in The Forward, Holder is known to be strongly in favor of First Amendment liberties, including free speech. This may help the AIPAC defendants.
As a matter of fact, there is.
The Justice for Jonathan Pollard web site has an excerpt a New Jersey Jewish News editorial in 2001 (Rich Pardon Fallout/Bill Clinton's Defense 02/22/01) which includes the following:
"It is widely thought that opposition to the Rich pardon is nothing compared with the defense and intelligence opposition to letting Pollard go. But read this interchange between deputy attorney general Eric Holder and House Government Reform Committee chief counsel James Wilson during the Feb. 8 hearings:Read the whole thing.
Holder: "I am opposed, for instance, to a pardon for Jonathan Pollard," Holder said, trying to explain why he was swayed by Barak's endorsement of the Rich pardon.
"And yet if…the granting of the pardon had somehow led to Middle East peace, something that the Israeli government had requested, that might be something to take into account."
Wilson didn't object. "That I understand, and that's fair enough," he said.
Makes you wonder why no one advanced that argument.
The site has another post, quoting from a Yediot Achronot Exclusive Investigation on February 23, 2001:
As far as the Pollard clemency is concerned, it is known and it is documented that I have consistently opposed it. Perhaps if it had been proposed in a different context, such as contributing to peace in the Middle East which would then be in America's foreign policy interests, I would have changed my position
Of course, Holder's view on a pardon for Pollard may have softened in 7 years--and he does seem to be leaning towards granting pardon in conjunction with a peace initiative.
If President Bush does not do the right thing and grant Jonathan Pollard a pardon, perhaps there is a chance for a pardon from Obama--maybe even without waiting till the end of his term.
But if Bush will do the right thing, he can put all of these speculations to an end.