The Obama administration is preparing to release convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The Obama administration is reportedly preparing to release convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. (Image via Wikipedia)
The Journal, citing U.S. officials, reported that there is hope among some in the government that Pollard's release will ease tensions with Israel following this month's Iran nuclear deal, which has enraged Israel's leaders.
Now, some U.S. officials are pushing for Mr. Pollard’s release in a matter of weeks. Others expect it could take months, possibly until his parole consideration date in November. Some U.S. officials strongly denied Friday there was any link between the Iran deal and Mr. Pollard’s prospective release, saying that any release decision would be made by the U.S. Parole Commission.
Pollard, now 60, will become eligible for parole in November after having served 30 years behind bars for his conviction of giving classified information to Israel while working as a civilian intelligence analyst in the Navy.
Talk of Pollard's potential release swirled last year after a report that Secretary of State John Kerry offered to free him in exchange for keeping Israel at the table for Middle East peace talks. The U.S. denied the report, and Pollard remained behind bars.
More from the Journal:
To get out before November would require unusual intervention. In the federal prison system, often the easiest way to free an inmate early is to cite deteriorating health. Mr. Pollard’s supporters say he is suffering from a host of medical ailments that should qualify him for mercy.
The U.S. has considered releasing him before but always backed away from such a move, largely because of opposition from senior leaders at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Justice Department.
It is possible such opposition could again scuttle any release, but it appears his chances at winning freedom are better now than they have ever been, U.S. officials said. Some U.S. officials have concluded he will be a free man before the year is over, these people said.