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The Pollard apologists: Reject their pleas

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

President Obama is in Israel today. And as with several of his predecessors, he'll be bombarded with pleas to release convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. The entreaties should be rejected with an emphatic “NO!”

Mr. Pollard, 58, is serving a life term in a North Carolina prison for spying for Israel. And he's a particularly egregious weasel.

Every two weeks for 18 months, the former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst delivered suitcases packed with classified documents to the Israelis. And the information imparted risked exposure of American intelligence sources and methods.

As one would expect in such matters, the very Israeli establishment that now seeks Pollard's release once disavowed him. When he was exposed in 1985, the Israeli Embassy in Washington denied him refuge. Israeli officials even went as far as to say his spying was a rogue operation. That's also pretty standard spookcraft.

The veneer of denial, however, was stripped away when Israel granted Pollard citizenship in 1995. Not long thereafter, Israel owned up to the truth — he was an Israeli agent.

Those seeking Pollard's release either cite his failing health or that the punishment does not fit the crime. But the former has no place in the debate. As for the latter, Pollard is a traitor who endangered the United States. Life imprisonment indeed is as fitting a sentence today as it was then.

Jonathan Pollard should remain in prison.

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