Skip to comments.Clintons blocking release of pardon papers
Posted on 03/07/2008 7:38:24 AM PST by jdm
Remember how Barack Obama called Hillary Clinton one of the most secretive politicians in America? That apparently applies to both Hillary and her husband as a team. Archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library have decided to keep the records of Bills pardons locked away from prying eyes such as those of Obama, John McCain, and the media:
Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library are blocking the release of hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons that the former president approved, including clemency for fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich.
That archivists decision, based on guidance provided by Bill Clinton that restricts the disclosure of advice he received from aides, prevents public scrutiny of documents that would shed light on how he decided which pardons to approve from among hundreds of requests.
Clintons legal agent declined the option of reviewing and releasing the documents that were withheld, said the archivists, who work for the federal government, not the Clintons.
The decision to withhold much of the requested material could provide fodder for critics who say that the former president and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, now seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, have been unwilling to fully release documents to public scrutiny.
Hillary is a curious candidate. She wants to run on her experience as First Lady in the Clinton administration but she wants us to see as little evidence of that experience as possible. In fact, she says that experience is so compelling that we would want her in the White House answering the phone at 3 AM when a crisis occurs. If it really is that impressive, why is she and Bill going to such lengths to hide it?
The pardons present a very tricky problem for Hillary. That really does speak to the character of the Clinton administration, and obviously not in glowing terms. In the final days of his administration, Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, who had been a fugitive from American justice for tax evasion and other indictments, apparently because his ex-wife donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the presidential library that now hides those records. The Department of Justice had asked Clinton not to issue a pardon to Rich, as precedent had been not to grant clemency to fugitives, but that didnt stop Clinton.
Marc Rich demonstrated why the Clintons had such faith in him by proceeding to become a major figure in the Oil-for-Food scandal.
But Rich isnt the only questionable figure in the pardons scandals, and hes not the only family member under suspicion. Hillarys brother Tony Rodham represented Edgar and Vonna Gregory for a pardon, which Bill granted so that Gregorys business could get federal contracts. Edgar and his wife had convictions for bank fraud that interfered with United Shows, and the Gregorys needed connections. Not only did they hire Rodham to represent them, they donated $10,000 to Hillary Clinton half before the pardon, and half afterwards, in 2000.
The story doesnt end there. The Gregorys then made a series of loans to Tony Rodham totaling over $100,000, the last of which came right before they declared bankruptcy in 2002, leaving creditors holding the bag once again. Rodham never made a single payment to repay these loans, and the Gregorys never made any attempt to collect them. Only after the United Shows books came under the scrutiny of bankruptcy courts did anyone press Rodham to repay the debt as an asset of United Shows.
The Clintons have plenty of reasons to hide their handiwork on pardons. If they released them, the only way people would want Hillary to answer that phone at 3 AM is if John McCain hired her as a switchboard operator.
The Clintons’ Terror Pardons
t was nearly 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, 1982. Two officers on New York Police Department’s elite bomb squad rushed to headquarters at One Police Plaza, where minutes earlier an explosion had destroyed the entrance to the building. Lying amid the carnage was Police Officer Rocco Pascarella, his lower leg blasted off.
“He was ripped up like someone took a box cutter and shredded his face,” remembered Detective Anthony Senft, one of the bomb-squad officers who answered the call 25 years ago. “We really didn’t even know that he was a uniformed man until we found his weapon, that’s how badly he was injured.”
[The Clintons’ Terror Pardons]
About 20 minutes later, Mr. Senft and his partner, Richard Pastorella, were blown 15 feet in the air as they knelt in protective gear to defuse another bomb. Detective Senft was blinded in one eye, his facial bones shattered, his hip severely fractured. Mr. Pastorella was blinded in both eyes and lost all the fingers of his right hand. A total of four bombs exploded in a single hour on that night, including at FBI headquarters in Manhattan and the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.
The perpetrators were members of Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN (the Spanish acronym), a clandestine terrorist group devoted to bringing about independence for Puerto Rico through violent means. Its members waged war on America with bombings, arson, kidnappings, prison escapes, threats and intimidation. The most gruesome attack was the 1975 Fraunces Tavern bombing in Lower Manhattan. Timed to go off during the lunch-hour rush, the explosion decapitated one of the four people killed and injured another 60.
[The Clintons’ Terror Pardon]
FALN bragged about the bloodbath, calling the victims “reactionary corporate executives” and threatening: “You have unleashed a storm from which you comfortable Yankees can’t escape.” By 1996, the FBI had linked FALN to 146 bombings and a string of armed robberies — a reign of terror that resulted in nine deaths and hundreds of injured victims.
On Aug. 7, 1999, the one-year anniversary of the U.S. African embassy bombings that killed 257 people and injured 5,000, President Bill Clinton reaffirmed his commitment to the victims of terrorism, vowing that he “will not rest until justice is done.” Four days later, while Congress was on summer recess, the White House quietly issued a press release announcing that the president was granting clemency to 16 imprisoned members of FALN. What began as a simple paragraph on the AP wire exploded into a major controversy.
Mr. Clinton justified the clemencies by asserting that the sentences were disproportionate to the crimes. None of the petitioners, he stated, had been directly involved in crimes that caused bodily harm to anyone. “For me,” the president concluded, “the question, therefore, was whether their continuing incarceration served any meaningful purpose.”
His comments, including the astonishing claim that the FALN prisoners were being unfairly punished because of “guilt by association,” were widely condemned as a concession to terrorists. Further, they were seen as an outrageous slap in the face of the victims and a bitter betrayal of the cops and federal law enforcement officers who had put their lives on the line to protect the public and who had invested years of their careers to put these people behind bars. The U.S. Sentencing Commission affirmed a pre-existing Justice Department assessment that the sentences, ranging from 30 to 90 years, were “in line with sentences imposed in other cases for similar terrorist activity.”
The prisoners were convicted on a variety of charges that included conspiracy, sedition, violation of the Hobbes Act (extortion by force, violence or fear), armed robbery and illegal possession of weapons and explosives — including large quantities of C-4 plastic explosive, dynamite and huge caches of ammunition. Mr. Clinton’s action was opposed by the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. attorney offices that prosecuted the cases and the victims whose lives had been shattered. In contravention of standard procedures, none of these agencies, victims or families of victims were consulted or notified prior to the president’s announcement.
“I know the chilling evidence that convicted the petitioners,” wrote Deborah Devaney, one of the federal prosecutors who spent years on the cases. “The conspirators made every effort to murder and maim. . . . A few dedicated federal agents are the only people who stood in their way.”
Observed Judge George Layton, who sentenced four FALN defendants for their conspiracy to use military-grade explosives to break an FALN leader from Ft. Leavenworth Penitentiary and detonate bombs at other public buildings, “[T]his case . . . represents one of the finest examples of preventive law enforcement that has ever come to this court’s attention in the 20-odd years it has been a judge and in the 20 years before that as a practicing lawyer in criminal cases.”
bookmark for later.
Clinton, Obama ... I cannot remember another election in which the Dems will have so well written the Repubs’ campaign commercials.
The Don doesn’t give up his papers.
Bump to the top for a great post.
Paging the NY Times. Anybody home?
What about tax returns while they are at it.
They didn’t do to ban during W’s administation.
More coffee please.
Snort. She promised voters in the state of NY that she'd do that eight years ago. We're still waiting...
There is a witness who claims that Denise Rich said 200 million dollars was on the table for Clinton for the Marc Rich pardon. Can anyone confirm that Bill’s first trip after he left the White House was to Switzerland? Well, the first trip was to a babe’s house. I mean the first trip overseas.
You will see John Kerry’s signed 180 before you see the Clinton’s tax records.
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