In a December 10 letter, Bill Richardson, a close confidant of US President Barack Obama, called on the president to release Jonathan Pollard immediately. Pollard has served over 28 years in prison for spying on the US for Israel.
Richardson, a former US Ambassador to the UN and former Governor of New Mexico, was in President Bill Clinton's cabinet when Pollard's release was discussed 15 years ago. He noted that top officials and individuals with first-hand knowledge of the case, including those who have seen the case's classified information, now support Pollard's release.
In the letter Richardson writes "in my view, there is no longer a need for a discussion today. Virtually everyone who was in a high position of government - and dealt with the ramifications of what Pollard did at the time - now support his release."
The numerous top US officials calling for Pollard's release, whose ranks Richardson has joined, can be seen here:
In his letter Richardson pointedly notes where the guilt lies for Pollard's unprecedented jail term. He writes "two people in high positions at the time have directly blamed the life sentence of Pollard on the affidavit filed in the case of (then) Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger that went against the plea bargain (with Pollard and the government's commitment to not seek a life sentence)."
One of the two who revealed Weinberger's role was former National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane, who Richardson cites as saying "the affidavit by Weinberger manifested his 'unbalanced views' on Israel and caused a 'great injustice'" to Pollard.
Richardson remarked that now is the time of year when Obama is determining a holiday clemency list, and urged that Pollard be added to the list.
Richardson is very close to Obama, having strongly endorsed him during the 2008 elections: