Editor's note: Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, who will be released in November, is now 60. He has served more than 30 years in prison for spying for Israel. His case has long been a contentious issue for Israel-US relations. - Tom
Editor's note: Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard - who reportedly will be freed by US authorities - is a 60-year-old former US intelligence analyst. He pleaded guilty in 1987 to selling classified information to Israel and was sentenced to life in prison. Since then, Israel has repeatedly urged his release. - Tom
Jonathan Jay Pollard (born August 7, 1954) is a former United States government employee who in 1987 pleaded guilty to spying for – and providing top-secret classified information to Israel. The former intelligence analyst was then sentenced to life in prison.
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-Israeli activist groups, and some American politicians who see his punishment as unfair 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 to paying him until 1998. Netanyahu argued that he did not work for anyone but Israel. 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 will be paroled on November 20, 2015.
Numerous past and present US officials oppose any form of clemency, including Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, former CIA director George Tenet, multiple former U.S. Secretaries of Defense, a bipartisan group of U.S. congressional leaders, and members of the American intelligence community. These opponents maintain that the damage to American national security as a result of Pollard's activities was far more severe and enduring than publicly acknowledged.