Former US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld said that Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard should not be granted clemency by US President Barack Obama, in an interview with Channel 10 aired on Thursday.

Rumsfeld stated that freeing someone convicted of spying sends the wrong message that such behavior is acceptable.

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Despite Rumsfeld's comments, efforts to bring about the release of Pollard received a boost on Wednesday when a key Republican congressman and 100 New York State assemblymen called upon Obama to commute his sentence.

Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island, New York, became the first Republican Congressman to call for Pollard’s release following a recent meeting with him. He released a video on YouTube in which he called upon Obama to “do the right thing and let [Pollard] resume his life and return to Israel.

In New York, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), and 100 of their legislative colleagues representing areas throughout New York State, affixed their signatures to a letter sent to Obama on Wednesday beseeching him for a pardon for Pollard.

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