Ex-CIA head Woolsey calls for Pollard release

Opponents of Jonathan Pollard’s release should stop being “hung up” that he is a Jew, former CIA head R. James Woolsey wrote in a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal.

Woolsey, who recommended against clemency for Pollard while director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Bill Clinton, said in the letter that he now supports release of the convicted spy for Israel, citing the passage of time.

“When I recommended against clemency, Pollard had been in prison less than a decade,” Woolsey wrote. “Today he has been incarcerated for over a quarter of a century under his life sentence.”

He pointed out that of the more than 50 recently convicted Soviet and Chinese spies, only two — Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen — received life sentences, and two-thirds were sentenced to less time than Pollard has served so far.

Pollard, a civilian Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel, was sentenced to life in 1987.

“There is absolutely no reason for Pollard to be imprisoned for as long as Ames and Hanssen, and substantially longer than spies from other friendly, allied, and neutral countries,” Woolsey’s letter concluded.

The calls to release Pollard, who is said to be in ill health, have intensified in recent months, with pleas from lawmakers and former top officials of both political parties. — jta