Woolsey Repeats Position on Pollard

Former CIA director Woolsey repeats his position that Jonathan Pollard should be released from prison, but doubts Obama will do it.

Elad Benari ,

R. James Woolsey
R. James Woolsey
Israel news photo: Yoni Kempinski

Former CIA director James Woolsey on Wednesday repeated his position that Jonathan Pollard should be released from prison.

Woolsey, who spoke to Israel’s Channel 10 News, said, “I cannot see at the present time any reasonable rationale for keeping him in prison longer. I don’t know whether some people have a reason, because of Pollard being Jewish, to think that they need to be tougher on him. I would feel the same way about a South Korean, Greek or Filipino spy if he had been in prison for a quarter of a century or more. I would’ve said, ‘Why in the world is that taking place?’”

Woolsey was repeating the remarks he made in a sharp letter last week to the editor of the Wall Street Journal.

Responding to an op-ed in the WSJ from a few days earlier that criticized the recent pronouncements by top U.S. administration officials and politician to free Pollard, Woolsey said that “I recommended against clemency for Jonathan Pollard early in the first Clinton administration when I was director of Central Intelligence, but now, nearly two decades later, I support his release.”

During the interview with Channel 10, Woolsey expressed doubt that President Barack Obama would release Pollard. He also said he doubted Obama’s determination when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“Diplomacy is never going to get us anywhere with Iran,” he said. “What might work is very very tough sanctions: not to be able to transfer funds, not to be able to trade with any American or British or other country in the West.”

Woolsey suggested to “keep [the military option] on the table and just put the ships there. What they will be able to do, all those ships and bombers, is totally and utterly destroy the Revolutionary Guard.”

He added, “The other thing that I think is extremely important, and even before thinking seriously about using force against Iran, is to do everything we possibly can to get rid of Bashar Assad in Syria, because that is a major source of strength and influence in the Arab world.”