Shultz urges Obama to free Pollard

American statesman, who served as secretary of state for seven years under President Ronald Reagan, says in letter to US president that Israeli spy 'has now paid a huge price for his espionage on behalf of Israel and should be released from prison'

Yitzhak Benhorin - YNET - January 12, 2011

WASHINGTON - Former US Secretary of State George P. Shultz on Tuesday sent a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to pardon Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and release him from prison.

"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," he wrote.

Shultz's letter is quite significant, as he was considered a highly esteemed secretary of state. He held the position for seven years under President Ronald Reagan.

Shultz, 90, explained in the letter that he was under the impression that "the people who are best informed about the classified material (Pollard) passed to Israel, former CIA Director James Woolsey and former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, favor his release.

"I find the letter you received from former Attorney General Michael Mukasey of the Bush administration particularly compelling," he noted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a personal letter to Obama recently, officially requesting him to release Pollard. The last American president who had considered freeing Pollard was Bill Clinton, after then-Prime Minister Netanyahu threatened to walk out of the Wye peace summit in 1998.

Clinton mulled the release, but the conservative security and intelligence establishment was against it and then-CIA chief George Tenet threatened to resign.

Obama is now in an easier position to approve the release, as most of its supporters are former conservative ministers and senior intelligence officials.

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  • See Also: Former Secretary of State George Shultz's letter to President Obama (PDF)