On 21 November 1985, Naval Investigative Service analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard was arrested for supplying classified information to Israeli intelligence. He was convicted of espionage on 4 June 1986, and sentenced to life in prison. His wife, Anne Louise Henderson Pollard, was also convicted of espionage, and received a five-year prison sentence.
In late September 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin appealed to President Clinton for clemency for Pollard. (Washington Post, 30 Sep. 1995, A9; Paul Bedard, "White House Clemency for Spy Is Highly Unlikely," Washington Times, 30 Sep. 1995, A2.)
On 21 November 1995, Pollard was granted Israeli citizenship. The Israeli Interior Minister "decided to grant Mr. Pollard Israeli citizenship in response to a request from his lawyers, and after receiving new information about the case." Pollard will soon be eligible for parole after serving 10 years of his life sentence. "His lawyers have argued that Israeli citizenship, which guarantees him the right to settle in Israel, would help him win parole." (New York Times, 22 Nov. 1995, A5.)
In July 1996, President Clinton again turned down a request for clemency. (Bill Gertz, "Clinton Rejects Clemency Bid by Israeli Spy Pollard," Washington Times, 27 Jul. 1996, A2.)
On 9 March 1998, UPI reported that Israeli Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh is seeking "new ways" to secure Pollard's release. Naveh expects to visit Pollard in jail "in a few weeks."
Pollard became an issue at the Israeli-Palestinian talks in Wye, Maryland, in October 1998 when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu proposed the spy's release as part of the budding West Bank accord. President Clinton agreed to review the case. (Walter Pincus, "Convicted Spy Becomes Bargaining Chip," Washington Post, 24 Oct. 1998, A20.)
Despite dire predictions from those opposed to such an action, President Bill Clinton did not include Pollard among those granted pardons and commutations on 20 January 2001
President George W. Bush also experienced some pressure from his Israeli counterparts and others to pardon Pollard. (Jonathan Finer, "Bush Trip Revives Israeli Push for Pardon of Spy," Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2008, A9.) And at the end of Bush's term, Pollard requested commutation of his sentence. (Ephron, Dan. "Jailed For 23 Years, An Old Spy Asks For a Fresh Start." Newsweek, 12 Jan. 2009.) That did not happen.
In January 2011, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu formally asked President Obama for Pollard's release.(Joel Greenberg, "Netanyahu Calls for Release of Spy for Israel Serving Life Sentence in U.S.," Washington Post, 4 Jan. 2011.) Then, again in April 2012, there were reports of renewed calls from Israeli leaders for freeing Pollard. (Josef Federman, "Israel Steps Up Campaign for Convicted Spy," Associated Press, 11 Apr. 2012.)
On 14 December 2012, the National Security Archive at George Washington University published the newly declassified CIA 1987 damage assessment of the Pollard case:
Foreign Denial and Deception Analysis Committee, Director of Central Intelligence, The Jonathan Jay Pollard Espionage Case: A Damage Assessment (30 Oct. 1987). Available at: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB407/. See Jeffrey T. Richelson, ed., The Jonathan Pollard Spy Case: The CIA's 1987 Damage Assessment Declassified (National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 407), 14 Dec. 2012.
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