American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard is free after spending 30 years of a life sentence in a US prison.
Pollard was released from Butner Prison in North Carolina on Friday morning after becoming eligible for parole.
Successive American presidents had rejected Israeli pleas that Pollard be pardoned. Many have argued that the secrets he sold to Israel as a US naval analyst amounted to information Washington was supposed to share with the Jewish state, but was withholding.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said simply that he had “longed for this day.”
But as Pollard left the confines of prison, he found himself somewhat less free than he had hoped.
The somewhat unprecedented conditions of Pollard’s parole mean that he will live the next five years as isolated as possible.
Pollard must wear a GPS ankle monitor, any company that employs him must open their computers to constant government surveillance, he is forbidden to speak to the media, and immigrating to Israel is out of the question.
Lawyers have noted that these conditions make Pollard virtually unemployable, and he can hardly speak to anyone for fear of being quoted by the press.
Those working on Pollard’s behalf contest the parole arrangement, pointing out that there is almost zero risk the former spy will pass on additional classified information. The secrets to which he was formerly privy are now all outdated.