WASHINGTON – In a recent op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, former CIA Director James Woolsey,
who recommended against clemency for Jonathan Pollard
during the first Clinton administration, called for the release of the convicted spy for Israel
due to the "passage of time."
Pollard has been incarcerated for over a quarter of a century under his life sentence.
"Of the more than 50 recently convicted Soviet bloc and Chinese spies, only two – Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen – also received life sentences, and two-thirds of these some-50 enemy spies served or have been sentenced to less time than Pollard has already served," Woolsey said adding that "there is absolutely no reason for Pollard to be imprisoned for as long as Ames and Hanssen, and substantially longer than spies from other friendly, allied, and neutral countries."
"For those hung up for some reason on the fact that he's an American Jew, pretend he's a Greek- or Korean- or Filipino-American and free him," he said.
Pollard was convicted of espionage in 1986 and received a life sentence, but his failing health
has prompted a massive campaign
for his early release. He has cooperated fully with the US government, pledged not to profit from his crime, and has many times expressed remorse for what he did.
While on a six-day visit to the US last month, President Shimon Peres asked
his counterpart Barack Obama to grant a presidential pardon to Pollard on humanitarian grounds.
However, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that given the nature of Pollard's crimes, it was doubtful that the US would change its position on the matter.