The Morning Call

Amer­i­can who spied for Is­rael in 1980s com­pletes his pa­role

- By Ju­lian E. Barnes Crime · U.S. News · White-collar Crime · Politics · Justice · Law · Israel · Washington · Donald Trump · Benjamin Netanyahu · United States of America · United States Navy · Soviet Union · Union · Philadelphia Union · Jonathan Pollard

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.

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