MILITARY

Obama administration considers release of spy Jonathan Pollard in pursuit of Mideast peace

In this March 30, 2014, photo U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference in Paris. The United States is talking with Israel about the possibility of releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard early from his life sentence as an incentive in the troubled Mideast peace negotiations, a person familiar with the situation said Monday March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

In this March 30, 2014, photo U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference in Paris. The United States is talking with Israel about the possibility of releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard early from his life sentence as an incentive in the troubled Mideast peace negotiations, a person familiar with the situation said Monday March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

The Obama administration is bringing the U.S. closer than it has been in years to granting convicted spy Jonathan Pollard an early release as part of Mideast peace talks.

It's a high-stakes gamble. If Pollard's freedom leads eventually to a final peace settlement, it could mark a major victory for Secretary of State John Kerry, who has worked for months to advance Mideast peace efforts. But if Pollard is freed and the talks fail, it could be a costly embarrassment.

The White House insisted Tuesday that President Barack Obama has not decided whether to release Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst who was sentenced to life in prison nearly 30 years ago for selling classified military documents to the Israeli government.