The Morning Call
American who spied for Israel in 1980s completes his parole
WASHINGTON — Jonathan Pollard, the American convicted of spying for Israel in one of the most notorious espionage cases of the late Cold War, completed his parole Friday, the Justice Department said, freeing him to go to Israel as he has said he intends to do.
The Justice Department’s decision to let his parole restrictions expire may be one of the final gifts from the Trump administration to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. Pollard’s case had long been an irritant in the relations between the two countries, and both sides at times had used him as a diplomatic bargaining chip.
A former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, Pollard gave classified documents to Israel starting in 1984. Some of the material ended up in the Soviet Union, including information that could help identify and evade American spying techniques and material identifying informants for the United States. He was arrested in 1985, convicted and served 30 years in prison before being released in 2015.
U.S. national security officials had long objected to any easing of Pollard’s punishment, highlighting the damage Pollard did to U.S. intelligence collection. But objections from intelligence officers have largely become muted, with some acknowledging that Pollard has both served his time and fulfilled his parole obligations.
The U.S. Parole Commission, the armof the Justice Department that supervises the releases of federal prisoners, decided Friday not to extend the travel restrictions it had placed on Pollard when he was released from a federal prison five years ago.
“After a review of Mr. Pollard’s case, the U.S. Parole Commission has found that there is no evidence to conclude that he is likely to violate the law,” said Nicole Navas Oxman, a spokesperson for the Justice Department. “Thus, in accordance with the statute, the commission has ordered that, as of today, his parole supervision is terminated and he is no longer subject to the conditions of parole.”
Pollard, 66, was given Israeli citizenship in 1995 and has said he would move there if allowed.