SOURCES: Pollard to Be Released On Parole


jonathan-pollard[Update below.] Jonathan Pollard, who has been incarcerated for 30 years, is expected to be released on parole, sources indicate to

Pollard, born August 7, 1954, was a United States government employee who pleaded guilty in 1987 to selling classified information to Israel while working as a civilian intelligence analyst and was sentenced to life in prison. Because his offenses were committed prior to November 1987, he is eligible for parole as early as November 2015.

Pollard is the only American ever to receive a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally of the U.S. Israeli officials,

American and Israeli activist groups, and American politicians have all seen his punishment as unfair and have lobbied continuously for reduction or commutation of his sentence.

The Israeli government issued a formal apology to the U.S. for part of its role in Pollard’s espionage in 1987,but did not admit paying for the documents until 1998.

Since the arrest, Israel has made repeated attempts through both official and unofficial channels to secure Pollard’s release, but without success. Israel granted Pollard Israeli citizenship in 1995.

Pollard was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1954, to a Jewish family, the youngest of three siblings. In 1961, his family moved to South Bend, Indiana, where his father, an award-winning microbiologist, taught at Notre Dame.

Pollard was tried and convicted in November 1985, in what amounted to a less than fair trial. Pollard, who passed information to Israel, an openly declared ally and not an enemy state, received the same sentence as John Walker, Robert Hansson, and Aldrich Ames, all of whom notoriously betrayed their country by selling top U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union for money. Not only did they endangered U.S. security in the process, but claimed the lives of many U.S. agents.  The eagerness of then-Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger to punish Pollard — a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst — was unprecedented in such cases.

Today, some 30 years into his imprisonment, Pollard’s health has deteriorated, and he is suffering kidney failure and gallbladder complications. Israeli Knesset member Uri Ariel (National Union), chairman of the Pollard lobby in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), denounced Pollard’s treatment by U.S. authorities, declaring that, “Pollard’s imprisonment is a humanitarian disgrace.”  He then added, “I call on President Obama to release him immediately, not because he is not guilty, but because you can’t keep a sick and non-dangerous man imprisoned for so many years.”

The cruelty of the U.S. authorities toward Pollard is deliberate. Multiple requests to allow him to attend hisfather’s funeral were denied. His father, Professor Morris Pollard, a prominent U.S. researcher on viral diseases, died on June 18, 2011 at the age of 95.  Human rights champions were glaringly silent in the face of Washington’s lack of empathy in denying the request. Pollard was also denied the opportunity to bid farewell to his mother, when in December 2001 he was refused permission to attend her funeral. Pollard has also been denied conjugal visits with his wife, Esther. This sort of extremeness on the part of the U.S. authorities is unprecedented in the Western world.

Pollard has denied that he spied “against” the U.S. and claimed that he only provided Israel with information vital to its security, which was being deliberately withheld by the Pentagon. A 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel ensured that such information would be transferred. Pollard provided information that dealt with Soviet arms shipments to Syria and Iraq, chemical weapons in these countries, as well as information about the Pakistani nuclear bomb project and Libya’s defense systems. None of this information could possibly have endangered U.S. security.

According to a 2006 interview with Rafael Eitan, Pollard’s alleged Israeli handler, “It is likely that [Israel] could have gotten the same information without him.” Eitan claimed that the information Pollard passed on might have made a difference had Israel been involved in another war. According to Eitan, a spy named Aldrich Ames, who betrayed American agents and contributed to their deaths, tried to implicate Pollard. Pollard, as Eitan charged, never exposed American agents.

Dr. Lawrence Korb, former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, charged in a letter to President Obama dated September 27, 2010 that “Pollard’s life sentence does not fit the crime.” Dr. Korb “called on Obama to grant Pollard clemency.”  Korb wrote:

Jonathan Pollard is the only person in the history of the United States to receive a life sentence for passing classified information to an American ally. Based on my first-hand knowledge, I can say with confidence that the severity of Pollard’s sentence is a result of an almost visceral dislike of Israel and the special place it occupies in our foreign policy on the part of my boss at the time, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Secretary Weinberger submitted two affidavits to the court in order to convince the judge to give Pollard a harsher sentence than the one requested by the government, despite Pollard admitting guilt, plea bargaining and cooperating with the government. The government committed to not seeking a life sentence but due to the Weinberger Affidavits, the redacted version of which I have read, Mr. Pollard received a disproportionate life sentence. Secretary Weinberger omitted his crucial involvement in the Pollard case from his memoirs and when asked by the famed investigative journalist Edwin Black, about the omission, Weinberger indifferently responded, “Because it was, in a sense, a very minor matter, but made very important.” Asked to explain, Weinberger continued, “As I say, the Pollard matter was comparatively minor. It was made far bigger than its actual importance.” When asked why this was so, Weinberger replied “I don’t know why – it just was.” Mr. Pollard was not charged with harming America and has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions. Furthermore, the average sentence for his offense is 2-4 years and today the maximum sentence is 10 years. Justice would best be served by commuting Pollard’s sentence to the time he has already spent in prison.

The double-standard applied in Pollard’s case smacks of nothing less than unadulterated anti-Semitism. Pollard was given a maximum sentence because he passed information to Israel, information that the U.S. as an ally, friend, and protector should have passed on to Israel anyway. Israel has never done the same to American or Israelis recruited by Washington to spy on Israel.

Washington used Pollard to punish Israel. For comparison, a former U.S. Navy sailor who provided secret information about planned ship movements to al-Qaeda received a maximum 10-year prison sentence. The former sailor, Hassan Abu-Jihaad, was convicted in 2008 of disclosing secrets on ship movements to potentially enable an attack similar to the one carried out against the USS Cole, which killed 17 U.S. sailors. Hassan Abu-Jihaad will be eligible for parole in six years while Pollard is rotting in prison, his life destroyed. Pollard will probably never have children, his family is gone, and his state of health is in shambles.

Pollard’s actions were illegal, but not treasonous, and his punishment should have reflected this difference. The information he passed on to the Israelis did not endanger American lives or damage American interests. He and his former wife, Anne, acted upon what they considered “the right thing to do.” They were not motivated by greed, and Pollard maintained all along that he loved his country. The U.S. government should demonstrate its humanitarianism by releasing Pollard immediately, and end its bullying of its most trusted ally in the Middle East — Israel — through the person of Jonathan Pollard.

A recent hearing focusing on the Pollard case determined that that Pollard’s release would not present any security risks to the US and he should thus be granted parole. Stay tuned.

Update: In further conversation with our sources, was told that the U.S. Justice Department would release Pollard only “later on this year.”

“The matter has not been finalized, but it is under serious consideration,” a source told us.

Because of the sensitive nature of the matter, “you won’t get any public statements at this time, or individuals willing to be named,” the source said.

Pollard will turn 61 on August 7.

{Andy Newscenter}


  1. Don’t think it’s true. If it is, than this is a very unsofisticated and sinical bargaining chip being used by Hussain Obama to make Israel happy after he just sold them down the river. If Israel has any brains, they should call his bluff

  2. The USA is going to be held accountable in Shomayim for this cruelty and anti-Semitism. There’s no question about that.

  3. “Pollard is the only American ever to receive a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally of the U.S.”

    Israel was not an ally of the US in the early 1980s, and the Rosenbergs were executed for passing classified information to a then-ally.

  4. #6, The U.S. and Isral were most definitely allies in the mid-80’s, with the U.S. selling advanced arms (such as the F-15) to Israel and supplying $3 billion in annual aid. The Soviet Union was most definitely not an ally in the early 50’s, having weathered the Berlin blockade, commie takeovers throughout Europe, the descent of the iron curtain and many other aggressive acts. The alliance of WWII was one of convenience and had long since passed. Furthermore, the very act of getting the A-Bomb (by far humanity’s ultimate weapon) to the USSR is about as hostile as one can get, so your “ally” comment clearly can’t be serious.
    Not sure what’s accomplished with the factual distortions in post #6, since the Pollard issue has been applicable to Republican presidents too, and the plea bargain double-cross was done under President Reagan at Caspar Weinberger’s behest.

  5. “The U.S. and Isral were most definitely allies in the mid-80’s”

    Israel did not obtain non-NATO ally status until 1989 with the passage of the Nunn Amendment. Until then it was only countries with which the US had a formal treaty who were legally allies.

    “The Soviet Union was most definitely not an ally in the early 50’s”

    The Rosenbergs’ spying ended in early 1945. The USSR was an ally then.

    “the plea bargain double-cross ”

    There was a plea double-cross, but it was by Pollard and his then-wife, who broke the terms of the plea bargain by giving unauthorized media interviews. Judges don’t take kindly to defendants who break their plea bargains before sentencing.

  6. ” the very act of getting the A-Bomb ”

    Stalin’s spies were not the essential element in the Soviet A-bomb project. The intelligence may have speeded up the process, but they would have developed it completely on their own even had there been no spying. We forget how good Soviet scientists like Sakharov were.

  7. #9 + #10
    1) The MNNA was established in 1989, but the U.S. – Israeli relationship, while not a legal alliance, was certainly one of allies; the U.S. selling the most advanced fighter in the world to Israel and Israel in turn sending combat performance data back to the U.S. Your distinction is so technical that most people (such as me) weren’t even aware of it. Furthermore, if your only basis of “alliance” is a legal contract, you can claim they are still not allies since the MNNA doesn’t obligate mutual defense, unlike NATO, which does.
    2) Per the FBI, the Rosenbergs’ spying didn’t stop in 1945, but continued until 1949. The entire case is murky and Ethel may well have been an innocent framed by her brother, but be that as it may, the spying continued well after the end of WWII and even after the Berlin blockade. Furthermore, at the time of the trial, the U.S. and USSR were bitter adversaries. Had the U.S. and Israel been global enemies (c”v) after Pollard’s capture, and a prime source of Israel’s strength been Pollard’s information, that would be an analogous case. Comparing the atomic spies to Pollard is, quite frankly, ludicrous.
    3) The Pollards’ interviews were the fig leaf used to justify giving Jonathan Pollard the max. The “violation” was minor in nature and inconsequential in result.
    4) “…they would have developed it completely on their own even had there been no spying” You can use that argument for every single case of espionage – military or civilian – in history. This was probably the most significant theft of military knowledge/technology in human history. I can’t think of a single other one that’s even close.