The two senators, who reporters often joke are practically joined at the hip when it comes to legislation, particularly on issues concerning the military and national security, do not agree on the potential early release of former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard, who received a life sentence for spying for Israel.
Israeli officials have suggested Pollard could be released as part of the effort to restart peace talks between Israel and Palestinian officials.
Graham, R-S.C., and other key lawmakers say they would oppose a decision to let Pollard go.
Graham called it “a horrible idea” and said he was offended that Pollard’s freedom has become enmeshed with the peace talks.
But McCain disagreed, telling reporters later that Pollard should be freed because he has served his time. Pollard, while serving a life sentence, is eligible for parole after 30 years, in November 2015.
“I think Mr. Pollard should be released,” McCain said. “Twenty-seven years is long enough.”
But McCain said Pollard should not be a pivotal part of the negotiations to restart peace talks.
“It’s really outrageous,” McCain said. “Mr. Pollard should be judged on whether he should be released or not. Not as a rational for peace talks. It’s disgusting.”
Pollard is currently imprisoned at the Butner, N.C., medium-security federal correction institution. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, his release date is November 21, 2015.