|September 1st, 2000|
PULLS STRINGS FOR SPY POLLARD
By GREGG BIRNBAUM
Hillary Rodham Clinton
has intervened to block spy Jonathan
Pollard from being transferred to a
potentially dangerous unit of the federal
prison where he is serving a life term,
The Post has learned.
The first lady quietly went to bat for
Pollard last week after Jewish leaders
told her prison officials planned to move
him out of the relatively safe unit where
he has spent the past seven years.
Pollard's supporters fear he would have
faced attacks in the new unit, said to
house violent inmates including white
supremacists, because he spied for Israel
and is an Orthodox Jew.
Under special arrangement, Pollard is
imprisoned in a small unit at North
Carolina's Butner prison, used primarily
to house nonviolent sex offenders who are
The unit, called Clemson, is regarded
as among the safest in the prison.
Pollard's friends had warned that he
would be transferred to the Virginia unit,
where fights, stabbings, racist incidents
and rapes are not uncommon.
They believed prison officials want to
transfer him to make room in the Clemson
unit for additional sex offenders because
the prison gets more funding for housing
them than for other inmates.
former U.S. Navy civilian intelligence
analyst, pleaded guilty to passing
military secrets to Israel.
Whether he should be granted clemency
has been a political issue in the Senate
race and is even reported to have come up
in Mideast peace talks over the past few
Jewish officials told The Post they
were thankful for Clinton's
assistance in trying to prevent Pollard's
Assemblyman Dov Hikind
(D-Brooklyn), who notified Clinton's
campaign aides about the situation Aug.
24, praised the first lady for acting
quickly "on a humanitarian basis."
"We asked for help, and I was told she
took care of it and that she wanted to
stay on top of it if there were any
changes," Hikind said. "We're all
Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson
confirmed the Democratic candidate's
"This issue was brought to Hillary
Clinton's attention, and she was
concerned on humanitarian grounds,"
"She had those concerns conveyed to the
Pollard's supporters believe Clinton's
action has quashed the transfer, but
federal prisons spokesman Scott
Wolfson said that, as a matter of
policy, the agency doesn't comment on
Jewish leaders -- who claim Pollard's
life term doesn't fit the crime and is
disproportionate to sentences received by
other spies -- have pressed Clinton and
her GOP rival, Rick Lazio, to
endorse clemency for Pollard.
Neither has taken a position on whether
Pollard should be freed.
Hikind and other Jewish officials
believe Clinton would pick up badly needed
votes in the Jewish community,
particularly among Orthodox and Hasidic
Jews, if she comes out in favor of
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