I agree with that statement. However, there is a concept known as "Equal Justice Under Law." However foreign the notion may sound, it requires that people who commit more or less equal crimes should be punished more or less equally. Since the US has, over the years, routinely released those who spied for other countries that are/were (mostly) friendly to it (like, for instance, the UK, Germany, France) after relatively short and lenient sentences (i.e. after 3-5 years, with no solitary confinement involved), then this spy for Israel (a mostly friendly nation - and certainly more so than France has been since about 1783) should have been similarly treated. I don't agree with the leniency offered to ANY spies, but if we are to have a tough policy (which we should) then elementary concepts of justice require that the US government not only apply that policy as equally as possible, but that the change in policy be announced before any of the newly harsh penalties are implemented.
Let's look very briefly at the Equal Justice Under Law concept, removing the emotion of a spying case out of it for just a moment. Hypothetically assume Smith and Jones each decide to walk into a different convenience store located in the same city and commit armed robbery at exactly 12 noon on the same day. Neither has a prior record, both get the same amount of money and neither actually shoots or physically harms anyone in the stores that they rob. Both are caught on tape, and neither offers any resistance to police when arrested exactly 24 hours after their respective robberies. Should they each be punished? You betcha! However, should Smith, who happened to rob the store owned by the mayor's brother-in-law, be punished more severely than Jones, who robbed the store owned by Joe Sixpack (who isn't related to anyone in government)? More to the point, should the Mayor's office secretly lean on the judge in Smith's case and specifically request the imposition of the most severe punishment allowed, when such a thing has never been done in any other case? I'd answer "no" to both questions, and I'd hope that all of you would say the same.
No one, repeat NO ONE, has ever argued that Pollard should not have been punished. The ONLY issue is the severity of the punishment - which has to do with what kind of a system of justice we want. There is NO other issue, PERIOD.
Once again, for those of you who missed it: I think that ALL spies should be summarily shot upon conviction, or at least locked up for life waiting to be traded for our captured spies. But since we don't do this with everyone we catch, then the punishment of these people should be as even as possible. THAT is the only question here, NOT whether Pollard should have been punished (which is a given).
Whether there is some kind of cover-up going on here is interesting speculation, but entirely irrelevant.