Israel to Let U.S. Quiz Colonel Tied to Pollard

Associated Press

Prime Minister Shimon Peres and top government leaders have decided to let the United States question an Israeli colonel suspected of involvement in the Pollard spy case, a newspaper reported today.

The daily Davar said the decision was made at a meeting Sunday night at Peres' office in Jerusalem.

A Foreign Ministry official confirmed that a session to discuss the Pollard case was held but would not say what was decided. The official, who insisted on anonymity, said Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Justice Minister Yitzhak Modai attended the meeting.

Modai said last week that the United States had not asked Israel to interrogate Col. Aviem Sella, who commands a large air force base in the Negev Desert.

The case has been straining ties between the two allies.

An indictment presented this month in Washington District Court said Sella had recruited Jonathan Jay Pollard, a civilian employed as a U.S. Navy analyst, while Sella was on study leave in the United States.

Pollard pleaded guilty June 4 to selling classified information to Israel for $50,000.

Davar, which is closely affiliated with Peres' Labor Party, said that in return for allowing U.S. officials to interrogate Sella, the colonel would be granted immunity from prosecution in the United States.

The arrangement would be similar to the one reached with Washington last December to allow U.S. officials to question three other Israelis said to be involved in the case.

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