Pollard, Jonathan Jay

(1954- )
   A U.S. Navy civilian intelligence analyst who was arrested in November 1985 and charged with passing confidential information to Israel. His wife, Anne Henderson Pollard, also was arrested. He was reportedly trying to seek refuge in the Israeli embassy but was denied admittance by embassy officials. Israeli officials denied that he was working for them, suggesting that he might have been operating on his own. He pleaded guilty in June 1986, claiming that the information he passed to Israel was vital to its security and was being deliberately withheld by the United States. He was sentenced to life in prison. His wife received a five-year sentence and was released in early 1989. Senior Israeli officials and representatives of American Jewish organizations charged that he was being subjected to excessive and unfair treatment compared to the sentences given to Americans convicted of spying for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics at the height of the Cold War.
   Under heavy pressure from Israel and supporters of Pollard in the United States, President William J. (Bill) Clinton reviewed the case in 1993 and again in 1996. Each time, he decided against clemency after receiving recommendations from cabinet officials and agencies involved in the case. On 21 November 1995, Interior Minister Ehud Barak granted Pollard Israeli citizenship. On 12 May 1998, Israel formally acknowledged that Pollard had served as an Israeli agent handled by senior members of the Mossad's Scientific Liaison Bureau (Lakam).
   Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked President Clinton to grant clemency to Pollard during the Wye River peace talks in October 1998, and Clinton said he would review the case. Those supporting clemency argued that Pollard had served long enough; that he spied for a friendly nation, not an enemy; that his release would help the peace process; and that the United States reneged on the plea agreement. Those who opposed clemency argued that Pollard's spying exposed U.S. intelligence methods and personnel, that the case is not related to the peace process, that who he spied for is irrelevant, and that the sentence was justified by the magnitude of the crime. Over the ensuing years, the case has been raised, periodically by Israeli officials and various groups in Israel seeking Pollard's release, but these appeals have been to no avail.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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