This is not the first time that Hillary Clinton, Cheryl Mills, and Eric Holder have been accused of attempting to thwart a congressional investigation. Not by a long shot.
This time around, it’s been Clinton and Mills questioned over the Benghazi terrorist attack and botched cover story, while Holder is facing scrutiny for his questionable congressional testimony about his department’s highly suspicious investigations into members of the media. The saga that follows is just one example of their past escapades.
On August 11, 1999, President Bill Clinton offered clemency to 16 unrepentant members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN (Armed Forces for National Liberation). The FALN carried out a reign of terror in America from 1974 through 1983, conducting 114 bombings including the January 24, 1975 lunchtime attack of New York’s historic Fraunces Tavern that killed four innocent people. Among the victims was my 33 year-old father, Frank Connor.
In 1981, the majority of the FALN terrorists were arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced in Chicago Federal Court to 50 to 70 year prison terms for crimes including seditious conspiracy, bomb making, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and weapons possession.
Prior to the clemency offers, supporters of the release received a reported nine meetings with White House and Justice Department officials, while victims and their families were ignored. Incredibly, the FALN terrorists never requested clemency themselves. Instead, a “support committee” requested clemency on their behalf.
Inexplicably, the Justice Department conducted the standard investigation, which resulted in Pardon Attorney Margaret Love not recommending the terrorists’ release. However, Eric Holder, then Deputy Attorney General, fired Love and compelled her replacement, Roger Adams, to draft a neutral “options” memo which provided President Clinton the rationale he needed to offer their releases. Fourteen of the sixteen terrorists eventually accepted clemency and left prison on September 10, 1999.
I listened incredulously only feet from Mr. Holder at his Senate Confirmation hearing as he asserted that the clemency was “reasonable,” as those terrorists were not specifically convicted of killing or harming anyone. However, these terrorists were convicted of willfully and knowingly joining a conspiracy to commit acts of violence. Further, all evidence indicates that those convicted in Chicago were members of the same conspiracy that killed five people in New York, including those in the Fraunces Tavern bombing.
Like the current administration’s untruthful response to the Benghazi attack, the reasons for these Clinton-era clemencies were purely political and an obvious attempt to further Hillary Clinton’s political career. In 1999, Hillary was planning for her 2000 U.S. Senate run. Offering clemency to these individuals was designed to help her gain footing with New York’s Puerto Rican population of 3.5 million people.
However, Clinton and her team miscalculated. Instead of a quiet release and minimal fallout, (like they also hoped for with Benghazi), the terrorists did not immediately accept clemency and a firestorm erupted. The terrorists were allowed an astonishing 30 days to consider their release, as the FBI, Bureau of Prisons, and various law enforcement organizations condemned the offers. Forgotten victims and families like mine publicly demanded answers from the Clintons. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution of condemnation by a 95 -2 vote as media outlets hammered the administration.
Many of the same political figures you are hearing about in the scandals of today were involved back then; Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, who, in 1999, wrote to congressional investigators to inform them that President Clinton would be asserting executive privilege in the inquiry into the FALN. Because of this executive privilege claim, none of the Justice Department or FBI officials testified at the congressional hearing at which we warned that releasing these terrorists would set a horrible precedent.
The questions from 1999 and 2013 are eerily similar: why did the executive branch obfuscate and refuse to explain the truth to the American people? In 1999, why did they misrepresent the facts regarding convicted terrorists whose organization killed five innocent Americans and maimed scores of others? In 2013, why did the administration misrepresent facts regarding terrorists who attacked an American consulate and killed four heroes?
It’s time America understands who Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, and Cheryl Mills really are: ruthless, unscrupulous political opportunists. I said in 1999, “It is painful to think that my father’s life was worth less to the president than his wife’s election.” I regrettably expect the families of the Benghazi victims are feeling a similar pain now.
Joe Connor testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1999 and at Attorney General Eric Holder’s confirmation hearing in 2009; introduced the Pardon Attorney Reform and Integrity Act; appeared in the Citizens United’s film “Hillary The Movie”; and most recently co- authored The New Founders. www.thenewfounders.net