The Wall Street Journal reported today (July 24, 2015) that the Obama administration -- in an effort to show that it is not hostile to Israel -- is preparing to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, 60, within the next few months, according to the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website.
Pollard, a former analyst for the U.S. Navy, may be released in the next few weeks or by November 21 -- the date he is officially eligible for parole under rules in place when he was sentenced to life in 1987 -- for selling top secret U.S. intelligence information to Israel.
The Wall Street Journal quoted administration officials as saying they hoped Pollard's release would help smooth U.S. relations with Israel, endangered in recent weeks because of the nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers. However, they also emphasized that Pollard's release is not related to the Iran deal.
"Mr. Pollard's status will be determined by the United States Parole Commission according to standard procedures," Alistair Baskey, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told the JTA. Two years ago, when the Obama administration considered releasing Pollard, Vice President Joe Biden adamantly rejected the idea, saying "over my dead body."