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Suspected Spy Wants Recognition

October 29, 1997

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard asked Israel’s Supreme Court today to force the government to acknowledge him as its agent, taking responsibility for his espionage against America.

Israeli leaders have maintained that Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, passed secret U.S. military documents to Israel in the mid-1980s without official Israeli sanction.

During today’s closed-door hearing, a three-judge panel ordered the government to grant Pollard’s wife meetings with senior security officials during the next two months, then return for another hearing.

``The government seems to be beginning to realize that it’s got to deal with this,″ Esther Pollard told reporters outside the court.

Pollard’s lawyer, Larry Dub, said an Israeli acknowledgment that Pollard was an agent could clear the way for his client’s release. Pollard has served 13 years of a life term in a U.S. prison.

``There is a price to be paid for the release of Jonathan Pollard,″ Dub said. ``The first installment on the price is the admission that Jonathan Pollard is an agent. The Americans are waiting for the Israelis to come clean, and to tell the truth.″

President Clinton rejected a clemency plea by Pollard in 1996, citing the enormity of his crime, his lack of remorse and the damage he caused to U.S. security.

Pollard has complained that Israel abandoned him, and that Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have done nothing to press for his release, despite many promises.

He reiterated the complaints in tape-recorded telephone conversation that his wife played back for The Associated Press. In it, Pollard cited the prisoner releases with which Israel won the freedom of two Israeli agents captured after a bungled attack in Jordan last month.

Israel ``got them out in a couple of days, these guys, these two agents. They didn’t have to rot for years in a foreign prison,″ Pollard said.

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