The information Jonathan Pollard obtained while spying for Israel in the 1980s continues to be deemed “top secret,” and could still cause real damage to American national security, Channel 10 reported Friday, citing a written statement by US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
The US parole commission handling Pollard’s case, furthermore, has determined that he must never be allowed to leave the United States, Channel 10 added in a further report on Saturday.
It said his lawyers were seeking to challenge this and other parole restrictions in the courts, given his desire to immigrate to Israel.
According to the TV report Friday, Clapper, in a document he submitted to US judges and the parole committee that elected to free Pollard in November, said an inquiry he had conducted showed that the knowledge Pollard gathered remained highly sensitive.
This, he said, justified placing severe limitations on Pollard’s parole from jail, despite the lack of concrete evidence that he was likely to relay the information to others upon his release.
Channel 10 said a copy of the letter was held by Pollard’s lawyers, who have recently appealed to a New York court against the heavy constraints placed on the freed prisoner.
Pollard was paroled on November 20 last year after spending 30 years in prison for a spying conviction for passing secret documents to Israel. He now lives in the US and is prohibited from leaving under the terms of his release.
Pollard is subject to a series of parole restrictions that restrict his freedom of movement and track his online activity.
He is likely to be forced to stay in the United States for between two and five years, according to reports, though activists working to allow him to immigrate to Israel say the period is as long as 15 years.
US President Barack Obama can intervene to allow him to emigrate, which is what Pollard reportedly hopes to do, but the White House has indicated that Obama will not intervene on the spy’s behalf.
A US judge recently ordered a review of the conditions after Pollard’s legal team cried foul.
The former US Navy analyst has kept a low profile since being released, and is forbidden to speak to the media. No rallies or public events were held after he left prison, and he has rarely been seen in public.
In March Israeli lawmakers deferred a bill aiming to secure financial assistance and welfare for Pollard, reportedly at the recommendation of security officials who fear government support for a man who spied on the US could raise hackles in Washington.
Pollard was arrested in 1985 for espionage while he was working as a civilian intelligence analyst for the American Navy. One year later, Pollard pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit espionage and was sentenced to life in prison in 1987.
Pollard’s supporters argued for years that his sentence was excessive and that others convicted for comparable crimes received lighter sentences.