Bush pardon of Pollard deemed unlikely

US official says he "really doubts" veracity of reports Bush might issue pardon before end of term.

Pollard 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Pollard 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
US President George W. Bush is unlikely to pardon Jonathan Pollard before he leaves office in January, a senior American official said Tuesday. "I really doubt it," the official said regarding speculation that Bush might issue a pardon as a parting gift to Israel. The official said the US took a tougher stance when American citizens spied for foreign nations than when the spies were foreign nationals. Pollard, a US Navy civilian intelligence analyst, was arrested for passing classified material to Israel in 1985, and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1986. Prior to Bush's visit to Israel in May, his second trip here in six months, there were numerous reports that he was on the verge of giving Israel a number of "parting gifts," and the idea was kicked around in the press of a pardon for Pollard. Among the other gifts mentioned were various pieces of state-of-the-art military equipment and perhaps an overall strategic upgrade. The official said that he did not know of any Bush plans for "parting gifts" beyond the $30 billion memorandum of understanding signed last August between Israel and the US that outlines defense aid to Israel over the next decade.