All-Star Panel: Reaction to possible US release of spy Jonathan Pollard

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," April 1, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I have no plans for, you know, releasing Jonathan Pollard immediately. But what I am going to be doing is to make sure that he, like every other American who has been sentenced, is, you know, accorded the same kinds of review and same examination of the equities that any other individual, would -- you know, would provide.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: There is no agreement at this point in time regarding anyone or any specific steps. There are a lot of different possibilities in play.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Jonathan Pollard is a Jewish American who pleaded guilty to spying for Israel back in 1985. The U.S. is now considering releasing him as a possible incentive to keep the Israelis at the peace talks table. We're back with the panel. Jonah?

JONAH GOLDBERG, AT LARGE EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: I think this is absolute farce. This is entirely designed -- look, we can have arguments whether Pollard should rot in jail the rest of his life or get parole and all that. But this is such a bad deal that Jonathan Pollard is against it. He let it be known that he thinks this would be an outrage. The only person who thinks that this is worth doing is John Kerry. And the reason why John Kerry wants to do it is his own vanity. The idea that somehow a boss who had basically announced today that he is done with this process, which was never a real process to begin with, will go -- would do all of this, he just wants more of these murderers let go. And that's it.

BAIER: And we should point out Secretary Kerry canceled his trip that was going over to Ramallah.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: It was clearly under consideration. Whether it's actually going to happen is not clear. But it does seem kind of extraordinary. Almost everyone who has ever been involved in the peace process says it's one thing to let Jonathan Pollard go free in exchange for a deal, a big final deal that everybody has been seeking without any success for all these years. It's another thing to give him up just to keep the talks going. Which -- they are probably going to eventually fail.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Even before the Pollard folly was introduced into this, the whole negotiation is nuts. They are not talking about a final agreement. They are not talking about even a framework agreement that's nowhere near achievement. The Palestinians have said they will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, so they will not give up the right of return, and they will not have any negotiations be an end point at which the conflict is over. Any of those three conditions kills the entire deal. It means they're not serious. All they want is a release of prisoners one batch after another in order for, what? Nothing substantive, simply to stay at the negotiating table another three months or six months so that Kerry isn't embarrassed. This is -- and then you add in the Pollard deal, and it's really a comedy of errors.

BAIER: And the Palestinians are still going to the U.N. with their process.

KRAUTHAMMER: That's their point. The Israelis are doing it because they are afraid Palestinians are going to go to the international court of justice and get judgments against Israel. The European will do a boycott.  It's serious stuff. But the point is that Abbas is going to go to those institutions, to the U.N. anyway, if not today, in three months. In the meantime, all Israel is doing is releasing killers with blood on their hands in a way that is truly appalling for any Israeli or anybody who believes in decency.

BAIER: We will continue to follow this one. That's it for the panel but stay tuned for one show's compilation of worst bad fits this week. 

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