Israel Spy Won't Walk, Says U.S.
March 25, 1996 - The New York Daily News
President Clinton has no intention of paroling Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard any time soon, despite quite but steady pressure from Israel.
"Our position on Pollard has not changed," White House chief of staff Leon Panetta told CNN yesterday.
Pollard, 43, has served a decade of a life prison term and is eligible for parole. But Panetta was firm he asked if there was a chance for clemency.
"No, not at this time," he said.
"This is someone who was caught spying against the United States," he said. "In terms of law and order in this country, it's not easy to simply back away from that and say that someone ought to be released or pardoned when that kind of offense has been committed."
This week's scheduled visit to the jailed spy by an Israeli official was arranged through prison officials, not the White House, Panetta said.
"If he gets visitors, that doesn't necessarily reflect a change in policy," he said.
Pollard, a Navy intelligence analyst, was arrested in November 1985 outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
He was sentenced two years later for supplying Israel with thousands of classified military documents, including satellite photographs, secret codes and details of Arab troop movements and chemical weapons programs.
It was big blow to U.S-Israeli ties and embarrassed Israeli officials, caught spying on their closest friend.
But in the last few years, Israel has quietly stepped up efforts to free Pollard, who has served more time than any other convicted spy.
Three Israeli prime ministers have asked for his release, including Yitzhak Rabin, who implored Clinton for clemency just weeks before he was assassinated in November.
N.B. Jonathan Pollard was never indicted for spying "against the United States", as Mr. Panetta states, only for acting
on behalf of Israel.