Senior US Officials Rejecting Request for Pollard's Release

January 13, 1999 - IsraelWire

President Clinton's key national security advisers have recommended that Clinton deny clemency to Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American who spied for Israel, administration officials said Monday.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has informed the White House that there is no compelling foreign policy reason to release Pollard, the officials said. The director of central intelligence, George Tenet, sent a letter to the president Monday urging that Clinton keep Pollard in federal prison, where he is serving a life sentence for espionage.

Secretary of Defense William Cohen made the same recommendation more than a week ago, officials said.

The senior officials were responding to a White House request to provide recommendations on the Pollard case by Monday. Attorney General Janet Reno, the other senior administration official asked to make a recommendation, has not yet responded, officials said. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation has urged her to ask the president not to free Pollard.

Pollard was arrested in November 1985 and, after pleading guilty, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 after then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger provided the judge in the case with a classified report detailing the extent of Pollard's espionage.

Yet Pollard, with the help of the Israeli government and some Jewish-American groups, has mounted a long-running lobbying campaign designed to win his release. They have argued that, although he did spy, he worked on behalf of an ally rather than a US enemy. They add that he already has served long enough, and that the government reneged on an agreement not to seek life in prison at the time of his sentencing.