'Pretend Pollard is a Greek-American, and free him'

Former CIA director James Woolsey reverses Clinton-era stance, recommends clemency, in 'Wall Street Journal' letter.

Ex-CIA chief James Woolsey 390 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Ex-CIA chief James Woolsey 390
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former CIA director James Woolsey called for the release of Jonathan Pollard in a letter to the editor, printed in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, hinting that Pollard’s being Jewish may be a reason he is still behind bars.
“For those hung up for some reason on the fact that he’s an American Jew, pretend he’s a Greek- or Korean- or Filipino-American and free him,” Woolsey wrote.
As CIA director from 1993 to 1995, Woolsey recommended against clemency for the spy, but now says that the nearly two decades that Pollard served since then are enough.
“Of the more than 50 recently convicted Soviet bloc and Chinese spies, only two – Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen – also received life sentences, and two-thirds of these some-50 enemy spies served or have been sentenced to less time than Pollard has already served,” Woolsey explained.
Pollard, he added, expressed remorse for his actions, cooperated with the US government, and pledged not to use the crime for profit after his release.
Earlier this week, President Shimon Peres promised to continue to work for the release of Pollard, in a meeting with his wife, Esther, in Jerusalem.
Peres met with Esther Pollard for the first time since his trip to Washington last month, where he asked US President Barack Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence to the more than 26 years that he has served.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.