Former Secretary of State George Shultz wrote a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, urging him to free Jonathan Pollard, the Washington Post has revealed. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrote a letter to the president, appealing for Pollard's release.

Calling the letter a “remarkable development” because of Shultz’s strong defense of American national security, the newspaper published the letter in full:

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to join with many others in urging you to consider that Jonathan Pollard has now paid a huge price for his espionage on behalf of Israel and should be released from prison.

I am impressed that the people who are best informed about the classified material he passed to Israel, former CIA Director James Woolsey and former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, favor his release.

I find the letter you received from former Attorney General Michael Mukasey of the Bush administration particularly compelling.

With my respect,

Sincerely yours,

George P. Shultz

Shultz is the first Cabinet secretary to support freeing Pollard. He served as Secretary of State for seven years in the Reagan administration, which included Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, whose letter to the courts was critical in the decision to sentence Pollard to life in prison for an offense that usually results in two to four years in jail. Pollard was convicted of passing on to Israel classified secrets.

He was not charged with being a spy, a term that American media still use when referring to him.