According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, a surprising—indeed, almost shocking—development appears in the works as a byproduct of, or fallout from, the recently agreed to Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In what appears to be, at least in the eyes of this author, a calculated move to appease an angered Israel—due to the United States and Iran coming to an agreement regarding Iran’s heretofore stymied nuclear program—Obama administration officials have floated the idea of releasing convicted Israeli spy, Jonathan Pollard.
Pollard, who was at the time of his arrest a civilian analyst for the U.S. Navy, was arrested and convicted of espionage against America—for Israel—in 1985, and has served nearly 30 years of his life sentence. Pollard was paid thousands of dollars to spy for Israel, and routinely passed classified documents to the Israeli government. He pleaded guilty to the charges. His wife also served jail time for her involvement. Israel has for years requested Pollard’s release, a request that has been routinely rejected by multiple U.S. administrations.
According to the Wall Street Journal report, some U.S. officials have “strongly denied” any link between the Iran deal and Pollard’s possible release, noting that the U.S. Parole Commission would make the decision. That seems a ludicrous claim, to state that a bureaucratic commission will decide on such a sensitive, high-level espionage-related maneuver without heavy involvement of senior politicians.
In what might end up being used as the fig leaf for releasing Pollard, it has been noted that he suffers from a host of medical problems, which should afford him a show of mercy on the part of the administration. Even some Republicans in the past have shown support for Pollard’s release, including presidential candidate Rick Santorum. However, in the current political climate, they would surely be opposed to linking that release to the Iran nuclear deal.