Former Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter on Tuesday became the latest in a list of high profile American and Israeli leaders to call for the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

Specter, who chaired the Senate’s intelligence and judiciary committees during his 30 years in office, wrote US President Barack Obama that Pollard had served more than long enough.

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While others calling for Pollard’s release have cited his poor health or the injustice of his life sentence, Specter downplayed the significance of Pollard’s crime of spying for an ally.

“I think his spying was a very serious crime,” Specter wrote.

“Unfortunately, spying is not an uncommon practice even between allies and friendly nations. Considering all the factors, in my judgment, Pollard should not have a life sentence without parole or pardon.”

Opponents of releasing Pollard have in the past portrayed Pollard’s crime as a major anomaly and a total breach of the conduct of one ally toward another that justified his life sentence.

Specter has a close relationship with Obama, who has publicly expressed his appreciation and his affection for Specter, who switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in 2009.

Other American politicians who have recently endorsed Pollard’s release include former vice president Dan Quayle, former secretary of staff George Shultz, and former senator Dennis DeConcini.

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