MENL:Ex-CIA Chief Hints Anti-Semitism With Pollard
Middle East Newsline - July 6, 2012
WASHINGTON -- For the first time, a former senior U.S. official has cited
anti-Semitism as the reason for the detention of Jonathan Pollard.
Former CIA director James Woolsey said anti-Semitism played a role in the
continued detention of Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst sentenced to life
for relaying classified data to Israel in the 1980s. Pollard has served 27
years, more than any other convicted spy, including those working for China
"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,"
Woolsey, who is not Jewish, said in a letter to the Wall Street Journal on
Woolsey's letter was published in wake of an Israeli-sponsored campaign
in June 2012 to release Pollard, which included appeals by scores of former
senior U.S. officials and members of Congress. At one point, Israeli
President Shimon Peres urged U.S. President Barack Obama to free Pollard.
This marked the most intensive Israeli effort to free Pollard since 1998,
when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu won a pledge from then-President Bill
Clinton for Pollard's release after 13 years in prison. Clinton was said to
have reneged on his pledge amid opposition by the U.S. intelligence
In his letter, Woolsey said he had opposed Pollard's release during his
tenure as CIA director from 1993 to 1995. He said his recommendation against
clemency for Pollard was issued before he had served 10 years in prison. In
1986, a federal judge, under pressure from then-Defense Secretary Caspar
Weinberger, rejected a plea bargain in which Pollard would have been
sentenced to 10 years.
"What would I say has changed?" Woolsey wrote. "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."
Woolsey said only two of the more than 50 people convicted for spying for
either China or the former East Bloc were sentenced to life. He identified
those sentenced to life as Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, a CIA and FBI
"The recently convicted spies for such countries as Saudi Arabia, Ghana,
Ecuador, Egypt, the Philippines and South Korea are serving less than a
decade," Woolsey said. "One especially damaging Greek-American spy, Steven
Lalas, received a 14-year sentence, just over half of what Pollard has
The White House has refused to discuss the prospect of clemency for
Pollard. In 2011, Obama was approached by at least one major contributor to
the Democratic Party who sought Pollard's release in an effort said to have
been supported by the American Jewish leadership.
"Our position has not changed and will not change today," White House
press secretary Jay Carney said. "Mr. Pollard was convicted of extremely
JUSTICE FOR JONATHAN POLLARD
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