The decision by the Obama Administration to release Jonathan Pollard, arrested back in 1985 for spying for Israel and sentenced to life in prison, is fueling a backlash from a number of US intelligence officials, who believe the decision to release the spy is a mistake.
This was not unexpected. The intelligence community has forced the Clinton Administration to back off plans to release Pollard in 1998, aimed at securing concessions from Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu. Releasing spies has historically been done in exchange for other spies, and the US spies don’t like the idea of giving up a bargaining chip.
That’s doubly true because the US isn’t getting anything out of this release, according to retired Col. Pat Lang, a former top military intelligence officer, who added “I suppose you could argue that the administration did it as a favor to Israel, but what exactly have the Israelis done for us lately?”
They also aren’t buying Israeli arguments that Pollard was acting out of a sense of duty to Israel, noting he is American-born and a US citizen. He is an Israeli citizen now, but was only made so after he’d already been convicted of spying for them.
Many see Pollard’s primary motivation as money, noting that while he was giving Israel “anything and everything they wanted” he was also offering to sell US secrets to Australia, South Africa, and Pakistan.