George Schultz urges Obama to free Pollard

Former US Secretary of State who served under Ronald Reagan joins list of senior security officials calling for Pollard's release.

Gil Hoffman - The Jerusalem Post - January 12, 2011

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Former US Secretary of State George Schultz has joined a long list of former senior American and Israeli security officials calling upon US President Barack Obama to release Jonathan Pollard.

In a letter obtained by The Jerusalem Post Tuesday night, Schultz wrote that he was impressed that the people who are best informed about the classified material Pollard passed to Israel now favor his release. He cited former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

"I am writing to join with many others in urging you to consider that Jonathan Pollard has now paid a huge price for his espionage on behalf of Israel and should be released from prison," Schultz wrote.

Shultz served as the US Secretary of State from 1982-1989 under President Ronald Reagan and played a key role when then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger took action to ensure that Pollard would be given a life sentence. Schultz is currently the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

"This is huge because he is the only one out of the Reagan-Weinberger-triumverate who were involved in the case who is still alive, and he is saying enough is enough," Pollard's wife Esther said. "This is significant news that a man of his stature has gotten involved. It adds dramatically to the compelling nature of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's call for Jonathan's release."

Schultz is the first former US cabinet minister to openly call for Pollard's release and is a respected Republican figure. People involved in the effort to release Pollard said Schultz's endorsement would go a long way toward persuading other Republicans to join the campaign.

As Secretary of State, Schultz handled some of the first high level contacts with the Israelis when the case first broke. According to the 1987 Eban Report by The Knesset committee that investigated the Pollard affair, Schultz requested and secured from then prime minister Shimon Peres a commitment to return the documents which Pollard provided to Israel.

These documents were then used by the Americans to indict Pollard, and served as the only evidence against him.

This cooperation by Israel with the US was virtually unprecedented. It was reportedly the only time in the history of modern espionage that any country ever cooperated in the incrimination and prosecution of its own agent.

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  • View original letter (PDF)