Jonathan Pollard, the American-born spy for Israel, has spent the past 25 years in prison. Large portions of the American Jewish community and the Israeli government have been requesting his release for years.
In his most recent visit to the U.S., Shimon Peres brought a letter requesting Pollard’s release. The Obama administration is denying the request.
The White House said Wednesday that their position on releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard has not changed, despite pressure from both U.S. lawmakers and top Israeli officials.
“Our position has not changed, and will not change today,” press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “I will simply remind you that Mr. Pollard was convicted of very serious crimes.”
Pollard, a former Navy analyst who pled guilty in 1987 of passing secrets to Israel, is currently serving a life sentence for his crimes.
Israeli President Shimon Peres will reportedly ask President Obama to consider a pardon for Pollard at a meeting today. And Reps. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) have written a letter asking Obama to release Pollard.
The Pollard situation is one of the few ongoing sources of tension between the usually close United States and Israel, with top Israeli politicians pressuring the last few presidential administrations to release Pollard.