Was Pardoning a Dead Guy Bush's Consolation Prize for Israel?

President George W. Bush has pardoned Charles Winters for the anachronistic sin of selling arms to Israel. Winters died in 1984. Why did Bush bother?

Winters, an Irish protestant who flew a B-17 bomber across the Atlantic for Israel and helped sell the fledgling nation two other planes, served 18 months in jail for violating the 1939 Neutrality Act and a then-active arms embargo on Israel. He became only the second person ever to be granted a posthumous pardon after quite a bit of lobbying from the likes of Steven Spielberg and other friends of Israel.

But a tipster, who claims to have info from the Israeli prime minister's office, says all that pleading wasn't the reason Winters name was cleared: Bush didn't want to pardon Jonathan Pollard, a former intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy who's serving a life sentence for spying for Israel. "Israel wanted Jonathan Pollard released from prison. So Bush threw them a bone and pardoned a Zionist hero," says the tipster. Israel acknowledged that he was a spy in 1998, and has since been actively lobbying for his release. At this rate, he may get pardoned in 2046.