Israel to push U.S. for Pollard’s release as Obama visit nears

Jonathan PollardBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
As United States President Barack Obama is preparing to visit Israel this week, several public figures are joining the Israeli government in lobbying for the release of a convicted spy, who betrayed American secrets to Israel in the 1980s. The pressure campaign reportedly includes a symbolic hunger strike and a public petition in favor of clemency, which contains nearly 200,000 signatures. Jonathan Jay Pollard was a US Navy intelligence analyst who spied for Israel in exchange for money from 1984 until his arrest in 1986. Many in US counterintelligence consider him one of the most damaging double spies in American history. But he is widely viewed as a hero in Israel, where many conservative Israelis, as well as pro-Israel Americans, are actively pressuring the US administration of President Barack Obama to release him. In 1998, after many years of official denials, Israel publicly admitted that Pollard had operated as an Israeli agent in the United States. Pollard, who acquired Israeli citizenship in 1995, has so far served 28 years of a life sentence in a US prison. The New York Times reports that many Israelis see Obama’s visit to Israel on Wednesday —the first in his presidency— as “the perfect opportunity” to pressure the US President for clemency for Pollard. In addition to a high-profile hunger strike in Tel Aviv, several notable Israeli citizens have signed an extended petition urging Pollard’s release. They include Israeli President Shimon Peres, as well as several retired generals and Nobel Prize-winning academics. Notable American signatories include former Assistant Secretary for Defense Lawrence Korb, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey, as well as former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger. Read more of this post

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Comment: AIPAC agents accused of spying may walk scot-free

Jane Harman

Jane Harman

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The controversy over Democratic Representative Jane Harman’s alleged telephone deal with a suspected agent of Israel is still raging. One of its unfortunate side effects has been to shift media attention away from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) involvement in the Lawrence Franklin spy case, and focus instead on Washington micro-politicking. But what about the two former AIPAC lobbyists who are technically at the center of the Harman imbroglio? Read more of this post

Clinton met with Israeli spy barred from entering US

Uzi Arad

Uzi Arad

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Much was made last week of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Israel, during which she met several of the key players in Israel’s new rightwing government. Among those was Benjamin Netanyahu, Chairman of Israel’s conservative Likud Party and the country’s new Prime Minister-Designate. Remarkably, however, when Clinton and her aides walked into Mr. Netanyahu’s office on March 4, they found there several of his advisors, including Uzi Arad, a 25-year veteran of Israel’s Mossad who is currently barred from entering the US for his involvement as a co-conspirator in the Lawrence Franklin spy case. Lawrence Anthony Franklin was a US Defense Department analyst, who in 2006 was given a 12-year prison sentence for handing classified US military information to Uzi Arad, Naor Gilon, an Israeli Embassy official in Washington, as well as to Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, both lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Read more of this post

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