Henry Kissinger
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Photo by Bloomberg
Text size

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday, urging him to commute the prison term of Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a life term for spying for Israel.

"I believe justice would be served by commuting the remainder of Pollard's sentence of life imprisonment, " Kissinger wrote in the letter, in which he enunciated that he had given the matter a lot of thought and research.

"At first I did not have enough information to render a reasoned and just opinion," wrote Kissinger. "But having talked with George Shultz and [reading] the statement of former CIA Director Woolsey, former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman DeConcini, former Defense Secretary Weinberger, former Attorney General Mukasey and others whose judgments and first-hand knowledge of the case I respect, I find their unanimous support for clemency compelling," Kissinger wrote.

Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 on charges of spying on the U.S. for Israel. He is incarcerated at a federal jail in North Carolina.

In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an official request to the U.S. president to grant clemency to Pollard. This marked the first formal request by Israel for Pollard's release.

"Even though Israel was in no way directing its intelligence efforts against the United States, its actions were wrong and wholly unacceptable," Netanyahu wrote in the official letter he sent to Obama. "Both Mr. Pollard and the Government of Israel have repeatedly expressed remorse for these actions, and Israel will continue to abide by its commitment that such wrongful actions will never be repeated."

Netanyahu made the decision to send the letter after meeting with Pollard's wife Esther, as well as Lawrence Korb, who was the U.S. assistant secretary of defense at the time of Pollard's arrest.