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CIA chief threatened to resign if Clinton released Israeli spy

By Wolf Blitzer/CNN

WASHINGTON (November 11) -- CIA Director George Tenet made it clear to President Bill Clinton during last month's Wye River Mideast talks that he probably would resign if the president released convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Jay Pollard as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, administration sources tell CNN.

The sources say Tenet made his position known to Clinton on October 23, the last day of the Wye River negotiations on the eastern shore of Maryland.

Tenet
George Tenet  

That morning, Clinton had been pressed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to release the former naval intelligence analyst as part of the peace agreement.

After consulting with his advisers, including Tenet, the president informed the prime minister that Pollard would not be released.

That last-minute snag nearly derailed the agreement. Israeli officials say Netanyahu had earlier received strong indications from the president that Pollard might be released, something U.S. officials strongly deny.

Tenet and other officials insisted that Pollard caused grave damage to U.S. national security interests when he handed over to the Israelis thousands of pages of highly-classified documents.

Clinton later publicly said that he would authorize another inter-agency review of the Pollard matter but refused to make any promises to Netanyahu.


RELATED STORIES

Netanyahu survives no confidence vote (10-26-98)

Possible release of Israeli spy drawing fire (10-23-98)

CIA's new peace role in Mideast (10-23-98)


RELATED SITES

Central Intelligence Agency


MORE STORIES:

Wednesday, November 11, 1998

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