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Pollard to be paroled in November for spying for Israel

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(Credit: GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Jonathan Pollard say the U.S. government is granting him parole after 30 years in prison for spying for Israel. He is due to be released in November.

They say the decision followed a parole hearing earlier this month before the U.S. Parole Commission.

Pollard, who is 60, has been imprisoned since November of 1985 for selling classified information about U.S. espionage in the Arab world to Israel. He was arrested as he tried unsuccessfully to gain asylum in Israel’s embassy in Washington, and he was sentenced to life after pleading guilty in 1987.

His supporters argue that he was punished excessively, considering that he was spying for a country that’s a U.S. ally.

But critics, including prosecutors and government officials, say the former U.S. Naval civilian intelligence analyst is a traitor who damaged the nation by disclosing a trove of sensitive documents.

His pending release could be seen as a concession to Israel, which strongly opposed the just-concluded U.S. nuclear deal with Iran.  However, Secretary of State John Kerry says the two issues are “not at all” related.

Pollard has battled health problems in recent years. He is serving his sentence in North Carolina.