Former CIA Director Michael Hayden reacted on Tuesday to the impending release of Jonathan Pollard.
Hayden, who had opposed an early release for Pollard, said "there may be a little grumbling here and there in the intelligence community" over the release, but also said he would not object, reported the Reuters news agency.
"I'm not enthused by it. But he served 30 years … I certainly wouldn't raise my voice in objection," he said, adding that Pollard had served his full sentence and his release now "doesn't suggest leniency."
Earlier on Tuesday it was announced that Pollard, who has spent 30 years – half his life – in an American prison on charges of spying for Israel, will be released on Friday, November 20.
The announcement is official confirmation of reports that indicated Pollard would be freed in November during parole talks required by the terms of his incarceration. His release was to be on November 21, but was moved up a day so as not to conflict with Shabbat.
Pollard's lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, said, "The decision to grant parole was made unanimously by the three members of the Parole Commission, who make their decisions independently of any other U.S. government agency. The decision is not connected to recent developments in the Middle East."
Secretary of State John Kerry likewise denied that Pollard's release was meant to placate Israeli opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, telling reporters: "No, no, no. Truthfully. I haven't even had a conversation with them."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on Tuesday evening with Esther Pollard, Jonathan’s wife, following the announcement of the parole.
"After decades of effort, Jonathan Pollard will finally be released. Throughout his time in prison, I consistently raised the issue of his release in my meetings and conversations with the leadership of successive U.S. administrations. We are looking forward to his release," Netanyahu said.