In a decision that was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jewish American spy Jonathan Pollard, who was accused of leaking sensitive American secrets to Israel, has been released three decades after his sentencing.
Israel had long supported Pollard's cause and hoped that the U.S. government would release him soon, but despite their attempts at convincing the presidents who served during the last 30 years - from Reagan to Obama- none of them deemed Pollard worthy enough for release yet until today.
Pollard was released from a Federal prison in Butner, N.C. However, the 61-year-old won't be allowed to travel outside the states for the next five years, according to AFP.
Having Pollard released was a topic of great debate between Israel and the U.S. over the years, as President Obama's national security adviser Ben Rhodes said that Netanyahu regularly raised the issue during his meetings with the president. There was a time last year when the U.S. was close to shortening Pollard's sentence as an incentive during their talks with Israel and Palestine, but the meetings did not go well and Pollard remained in prison. He had been convicted of espionage and was imposed a life sentence in 1987, with parole being granted to him this summer, Fox News reported.
However, his lawyers argue that the conditions of his parole are not fair, as he is supposed to wear an ankle monitor and any corporation where he is employed will have their computers investigated along with his own with unfettered access by the government.
During his time as a spy, Pollard had provided Israel with several documents to which he had access to while working as an analyst who looked into terrorist activities and instabilities around the Caribbean and North America. These documents provided crucial details of many agents who were abroad, which actively put their lives at risk at the time.
Pollard was known to be a firm Israel devotee and found his peers to have anti-Israeli values, which prompted him to take sides with his country. However, Pollard did mention in an interview in 1998 that he regrets having to become a spy and would have rather moved to Israel to serve his country, according to CNN.