Former CIA Chief: Let Pollard Go

JTA News Briefs - January 29, 2007

A former CIA director said he thinks Jonathan Pollard should be released.

"My view is that a 20-year sentence is enough," James Woolsey, who directed the spy agency from 1993-1995, told Arutz Sheva, an Israeli radio station.

"The close relationship between the U.S. and Israel, a democracy, is also a consideration."

Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst, is serving a life sentence for spying for Israel.

U.S. Jewish groups and Israeli leaders for years have advocated for his release, saying that others convicted of similar crimes have served shorter sentences.

But previous efforts to release Pollard have been frustrated by the opposition of the U.S. intelligence community. Woolsey, who since his retirement has become close to the pro-Israel community, suggested that when he was director, he was sympathetic to those who oppose Pollard's release.

"He was in fact someone who stole a great deal of intelligence material from the U.S. government," said Woolsey, who was attending the Herliya Conference in Israel, an event bringing together top Western and Israeli policy makers.