'Pollard's release, a political gain'
Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:36PM
Interview with former CIA officer Philip Giraldi
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will make a public plea to President Barack Obama to free Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli spy who is serving a life sentence in the US.
Washington has not yet commented on the issue. Pollard's case has been a source of tension between the two allies for a quarter of a century.
The following is the transcript of Press TV's interview with former CIA officer Philip Giraldi on the issue.
Press TV: Israel has been trying relentlessly in the past 25 years to secure the release of Jonathan Pollard. Why is Pollard so important for Israel?
Giraldi: There have been various reasons for that at various times but in the current situation it is because some of Netanyahu's partners in the government, some of the more extreme right-wing parties, believe that Jonathan Pollard is a hero and they have as a major issue in their policy platforms… the desire to have him set free… So Netanyahu is basically doing this as something to gain more support from his own allies.
Press TV: Mr. Giraldi, you have said "Pollard is just one symptom of the asymmetrical relationship that makes many mutter “wag the dog” whenever the subject of Israel comes up." Can you expand on that?
Giraldi: Well, Pollard is actually kind of an anomaly, Pollard is the only Israeli spy that has been arrested and really punished for doing what he does. There have been many Israeli spies that have been arrested at one time or another and none of them have seriously been punished. The significance of Pollard is that he is the exception to the rule. His crime was so outrageous, he stole so much secret information, much of which did not go to Israel alone, it went to places like Russia, which was an enemy of the US at that time. So his crime was so egregious that he was actually punished for it, and that is what makes him so interesting to me, because none of the others are.
Press TV: How likely is it to see him being released?
Giraldi: That is a very good question. Obama is obviously in a very weak situation and he might feel that there might be some gain for him, politically speaking, to do it, a number of democratic congressmen recently wrote a letter calling for the release of Pollar, so this is an idea that is out there among supporters of Israel in the government and outside it. I don't know, there will be strong pressure from the intelligence community, from the Pentagon not to release him.