Hotel/casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, one of the biggest contributors to Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential quest, is pushing the candidate to advocate clemency for Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Adelson’s associates, and another big GOP donor told The Daily Beast
Pollard received a life sentence in 1987 for passing on classified information to Israel.
So far, Romney has declined to follow Adelson’s advice, saying he would have to examine the relevant intelligence information as president before offering Pollard a pardon, the sources said. Romney “could not consider the Pollard situation because he doesn’t have access to the classified information,” one of the sources said.
Several former and current national-security officials and politicians have announced their support for releasing Pollard during the last few years, with many of them noting he is the only spy for an allied nation to receive a life sentence.
The list includes former CIA Director James Woolsey; Lawrence Korb, who was a senior Defense Department official when Pollard was arrested in 1986; and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
But no president has yet been willing to offer a pardon, as most security officials have opposed it, and the security breech was a serious one.
Romney was asked about Pollard in December at a meeting with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“He did not say what people wanted to hear. Instead he gave a more nuanced response,” said the group’s CEO Malcolm Hoenlein. “Romney said he would review the facts when he was president.”
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