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January 16, 2009
'Terrorists Killed my Dad'
A powerful op-ed in today's LA Times by Joseph F. Connor whose father was killed by Puerto Rican terrorists belonging to the FALN back in 1975 and who writes about the nomination of Eric Holder for attorney general and why that nomination should be opposed:
President-elect Barack Obama has nominated a man to be his attorney general who was closely involved in former President Clinton's decision as he was leaving office to pardon 16 FALN members convicted on conspiracy and weapons charges. Though no one was ever charged specifically with the Fraunces Tavern bombing, the FALN proudly claimed responsibility for it amid more than 100 others. Its attacks killed six people and wounded scores of others. Tellingly, the bombings stopped after 10 FALN members were convicted of conspiracy and weapons offenses and sent to prison in 1981. They were among those Clinton chose to pardon.
At the time of the pardons, Eric H. Holder Jr. was deputy attorney general. In considering his department's recommendation on clemency, he met with supporters of the terrorists but ignored their victims. He pushed staff members to drop their strong opposition to a presidential pardon for the FALN members and alter a report they had prepared for the president recommending against clemency. Today, although two turned down their pardons because they were unwilling to renounce violence, many of the convicted FALN members walk free. And a man who was instrumental in their release may become the highest law enforcer in the land.
Holder said at his confirmation hearing Thursday that he thought Clinton's decision to pardon the FALN members was "reasonable." But they were bad people. During their Chicago trial, some of them threatened the life of Judge Thomas McMillen, who was hearing the case. Carmen Valentin, one of those later pardoned by Clinton, told the judge, "You are lucky that we cannot take you right now," and she told other officers of the court, "You will be walking with canes and wheelchairs. ... Revolutionary justice can be fierce." She also declared war against the United States. Dylcia Pagan, another recipient of Clinton's gift, warned the courtroom: "All of you, I would advise you to watch your backs." McMillen was convinced the defendants would continue being terrorists as long as they lived. "If there was a death penalty," he said at their sentencing, "I'd impose the penalty on you without hesitation."
Indeed, as AT documented here , Holder was not concerned with justice by working so hard to get these terrorists released. He was doing a political chore for his boss Bill Clinton. Puerto Ricans are a Democratic constituency and some of their political leaders had been on Clinton to pardon the terrorists before a Republican got in and let the murderous thugs rot in prison.
Republicans have been pussyfooting the Holder nomination, tepidly challenging the nominee on a variety of matters. Perhaps every single Republican member of the Judiciary Committee should read this op-ed. It might give them a little backbone to call out Holder for his involvement in this question.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky