Regarding Martin Peretz's "The Mendacious Movement to Free a Convicted Spy" (op-ed, June 25): I recommended against clemency for Jonathan Pollard early in the first Clinton administration when I was director of Central Intelligence, but now, nearly two decades later, I support his release. What would I say has changed? The passage of time.
When I recommended against clemency, Pollard had been in prison less than a decade. Today he has been incarcerated for over a quarter of a century under his life sentence.
Of the more than 50 recently convicted Soviet bloc and Chinese spies, only two-Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen-also received life sentences, and two-thirds of these some-50 enemy spies served or have been sentenced to less time than Pollard has already served.
The recently convicted spies for such countries as Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Ecuador, Egypt, the Philippines and South Korea are serving less than a decade. One especially damaging Greek-American spy, Steven Lalas, received a 14-year sentence, just over half of what Pollard has already served.
Pollard has cooperated fully with the U.S. government, pledged not to profit from his crime (e.g., from book sales), and has many times expressed remorse for what he did.
There is absolutely no reason for Pollard to be imprisoned for as long as Ames and Hanssen, and substantially longer than spies from other friendly, allied, and neutral countries. For those hung up for some reason on the fact that he's an American Jew, pretend he's a Greek- or Korean- or Filipino-American and free him.
R. James Woolsey
The author is the former Director of the CIA.
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