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Jonathan Pollard


Born: 7 August 1954
Birthplace: Galveston, Texas
Best known as:

The American sentenced to life for passing secrets to Israel

Name at birth: Jonathan Jay Pollard

Jonathan Jay Pollard was a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst who admitted to spying for Israel and was sentenced in 1987 to life in prison. Pollard was a 1976 Stanford University graduate who dropped out of Tufts Law School in 1979 and applied for a job with the CIA. Rejected for being emotionally unstable, he nonetheless landed a job with the Navy as a researcher, and in 1984 was assigned as an analyst at the Navy's Anti-Terrorist Alert Center in Maryland, with clearances and access to sensitive materials. A longtime supporter of Israel, Pollard spent about 17 months giving top-secret U.S. documents to Israeli intelligence agents in exchange for cash and jewelry. He was captured in 1985 and pleaded guilty to espionage, then sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole in 2015. Pollard is the only American spy to be given a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally, and his case has become a cause célébre. His supporters argue that his sentence was too harsh, and that Pollard has been used as a bargaining chip over the years in negotiations between the United States, Palestine and Israel. His case is also the source of rancor between factions in the U.S. intelligence community and the State Department; when President Bill Clinton was considering releasing Pollard to Israel in 1995, CIA Director George Tenet threatened to resign -- the CIA has long argued that Pollard's spying severely damaged U.S. operations. Despite Israeli offers to take Pollard, the United States has kept him incarcerated in North Carolina.

Extra credit:

Israel granted Jonathan Pollard citizenship in 1995 and officially declared him an Israeli agent in 1998... Pollard married Anne Henderson in 1985, while he was engaged in espionage. She was sentenced in 1987 to five years in prison for conspiracy to receive illegal government property and acting as an accessory to possession of state secrets, and was released in 1989 after serving 42 months.

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