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Eric Holder Pushed for Controversial Clemency ( FALN )
Los Angeles Times ^ | January 8, 2009 | Josh Meyer and Tom Hamburger

Posted on 01/08/2009 9:13:36 PM PST by kellynla

Reporting from Washington — Attorney general nominee Eric H. Holder Jr. repeatedly pushed some of his subordinates at the Clinton Justice Department to drop their opposition to a controversial 1999 grant of clemency to 16 members of two violent Puerto Rican nationalist organizations, according to interviews and documents.

Details of the role played by Holder, who was deputy attorney general at the time, had not been publicly known until now. The new disclosures are of particular interest because Republican senators have vowed to revisit Holder's role during his confirmation hearings next week.

Holder had no comment for this article, but a spokesman for President-elect Barack Obama's transition team said Holder's actions were appropriate.

President Clinton's decision to commute prison terms caused an uproar at the time. Holder was called before Congress to explain his role but declined to answer numerous questions from angry lawmakers demanding to know why the Justice Department had not sided with the FBI, federal prosecutors and other law enforcement officials, who were vehemently opposed to the grants.

Some religious groups and influential individuals, including President Carter, had endorsed the commutations. But Clinton's decision outraged law enforcement officials who had tried to contain a bombing campaign in New York, Chicago and elsewhere in the 1970s and 1980s by groups seeking independence for Puerto Rico from the United States.

New interviews and an examination of previously undisclosed documents indicate that Holder played an active role in changing the position of the Justice Department on the commutations.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government
KEYWORDS: attorneygeneral; bhoag; bhodoj; ericholder; faln; holder
The son of one bombing victim agrees.

"Eric Holder has been nominated for the top law enforcement position in the country, yet, if this is true, he supported and pushed for the release of terrorists," said Joseph F. Connor, whose father, Frank, was killed in the FALN bombing of New York City's Fraunces Tavern on Jan. 24, 1975. "How can he reconcile that? Why would he push for something so dangerous?"

1 posted on 01/08/2009 9:13:36 PM PST by kellynla
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To: kellynla

Obama has gathered quite a group; hasn’t he?

2 posted on 01/08/2009 9:23:51 PM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote.)
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To: kellynla

Just another terrorist-loving liberal..... but this could really hurt him in confirmation process, if only some Rs can be found to raise hell. Politicians love to denounce “litmus tests” but YES, softness on convicted TERRORISTS should be an obvious litmus test for not confirming someone to high office. Lay down the LAW, Republicans: no one can be Attorney General who is so squishy soft on terrorists that he would overrule so many key people in law enforcement and the Dept. of Justice to release 19 TERRORISTS.

Make it so embarrassing for Obamanation, with his pro-terrorist connections, that he just desperately wants it all to go away.

If Clinton’s first two AG nominees could be blocked over “Nanny-gate” issues then it ought to be possible to block Holder over Terrorist-gate.

3 posted on 01/08/2009 9:28:26 PM PST by Enchante (Bernie Madoff Learned His Ponzi-Investment Strategy from our Social Security System!!)
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To: kellynla

Keep an eye on committee shufflings, as the dem. leadership won’t want embarassing questions asked of this slug.

4 posted on 01/08/2009 9:43:48 PM PST by Seven plus One
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To: kellynla
Rahm was bad enough but I am vehemently OPPOSED to Holder. I can't stress that enough. If he gets in, you can kiss the 2nd amendment goodbye.
5 posted on 01/08/2009 10:04:07 PM PST by mojitojoe
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To: kellynla

Please scroll down and read Kreskin’s 2nd prediction for 2009, re Eric Holder. I do not believe Kreskin is psychic, I believe someone in Congress is leaking info to him (gee, Kreskin is old and gay - who’s old and gay on the Hill?)

6 posted on 01/08/2009 10:09:02 PM PST by japaneseghost
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To: kellynla

Terrorist the new BEST Friends :-/

7 posted on 01/08/2009 10:10:19 PM PST by Deetes (God Bless the Troops)
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To: kellynla

Holder has always been a leftist coward when it comes to terrorism and the death penalty. Welcome to DC, the Death Capital of America.

8 posted on 01/08/2009 10:15:54 PM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: All
Let's not forget the raison d'etre for the Clintons' pardoning 16 Puerto RIcan FALN terrorists---Hillary was then-running for office in NY and she needed the votes of hyphenates to win.

She and Bill apparently conducted surveillance on the NY electorate and "profiled" the hyphenated groups she needed to win. They then went down the list and handed pardons to individual connected with hyphenated groups to buy their votes.


Pardoning Terror--How would-be attorney general Eric Holder won the release of 16 FALN terrorists
By John Perazzo,
Wednesday, December 03, 2008 ^ | John Perazzo

In 1997, Holder became President Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General in the Justice Department headed by Janet Reno. In this role, Holder was responsible for overseeing clemency investigations and determining which of those requests were ultimately worthy of President Clinton’s attention. As evidenced by a September 1997 memorandum from the Pardon Attorney, the Justice Department was, at this point, receiving numerous inquiries about the FALN and Macheteros—from the White House and from supporters of the prisoners. The aforementioned House Committee on Government Reform report stated:

“Throughout the closing months of 1997 it appears that Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder was active in the issue. The privilege log reflects at least two notes regarding his questions on the clemency or his thoughts on the matter.”

On November 5, 1997, Holder met with Representatives Gutierrez, Serrano, and Velazquez to discuss the clemency issue. He advised the legislators that they might greatly increase the likelihood of a presidential pardon if they could convince the prisoners to write letters testifying as to the personal remorse they felt for their past actions. But no such letters would be produced for five months, during which time the clemency issue remained on hold.

Meanwhile, in a January 6, 1998 letter, a senior Justice Department official expressly referred to the FALN members as “terrorists.” Then on April 8, 1998, Holder again met with FALN supporters. This time, they finally delivered statements from the prisoners as Holder had advised in November. Once again, however, there was a problem: all their statements were identical, indicating that not one of the prisoners had made the effort to craft his own personal expression of repentance. Undeterred, Holder asked whether the prisoners might at least agree to renounce future violence in exchange for clemency.

One of the prisoners’ backers, Reverend Paul Sherry, made it clear that they surely “would not change their beliefs”—presumably about the issue of Puerto Rican independence—but was vague as to whether they would eschew violence altogether.

Over the next few weeks, Holder and the Justice Department continued to meet with clemency advocates. Holder was the point man for these negotiations. As Brian Blomquist wrote in the New York Post, “A list of FALN documents withheld from Congress shows that many memos on the FALN clemency decision went directly to Holder, while Reno’s role was minimal.” Similarly, New York Daily News reporter Edward Lewine wrote that Holder was “the Justice Department official most involved with this issue.”

It should be noted that throughout the clemency review process, neither Holder nor anyone else in the Justice Department contacted the FALN’s victims or their families. As a result, most were never aware that clemency for the terrorists was even being contemplated. Those few who were aware of the possibility were rebuffed in their efforts to participate in the review process.

On May 19, 1998, DOJ’s pardon attorney sent Eric Holder a 48-page draft memorandum “concerning clemency for Puerto Rican Nationalist prisoners.” Seven weeks later, on July 8, Holder sent President Clinton a “memorandum regarding clemency matter.” Behind the scenes, indeed, the Deputy Attorney General was methodically spearheading the march toward clemency—despite the fact that the sentencing judges, the U.S. Attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the FBI were unanimous in their opposition to pardoning the FALN.

In late July 1999 an attorney from Holder’s office spoke to White House Counsel Charles Ruff regarding the clemency. On August 9, 1999, Holder’s office and OPA held one final meeting to hammer out the details, and two days later the President made his announcement: clemency had been granted to the 16 terrorists, most of whom had served only a fraction of their prison terms. Of the sixteen, twelve accepted the offer and were freed; two refused it; and two others, already out of prison, never responded.

Clinton, who previously had complied with just 3 of 3,229 requests for clemency, justified his decision by explaining that the prisoners already had served sufficient prison time for their crimes. He further cited executive privilege for his refusal to give Congress a number of documents related to his verdict. Congress, for its part, was not pleased—condemning the clemencies by votes of 95-2 in the Senate and 311-41 in the House.

In the aftermath of August 11, 1999, a report by the very same Justice Department that employed Eric Holder stated that the FALN posed an “ongoing threat” to national security. And in late October 1999 the Senate Judiciary Committee released a report from Attorney General Janet Reno stating that the FALN members’ “impending release from prison” would “increase the present threat” of terrorism. Dangerous terrorists had been set free, and Eric Holder had made it happen.

Holder’s response to the threat reports was unconvincing at best. In an October 20 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, and again with reporters the following day, Eric Holder denied that Reno was referring to the same FALN terrorists whose pardons he had worked so long and hard to secure. Yet, when Holder was asked to identify whom Reno was in fact talking about, his response amounted to little more than a pathetic stammer:

I don’t know, no, I don’t know that. We might be able to get you some more information on that, but, I mean, you know, there were certain people who are due to be released, or who were at least eligible for parole, had a release date in the next, as I said, three, four years. I don’t know exactly who they were. Maybe—we might be able to get you that information.

They never did. Neither Holder nor the Justice Department ever provided the names of any of these mystery men.

In the final analysis, Eric Holder was the individual most central to the Clinton White House’s dogged quest to pardon the FALN terrorists. His efforts toward that end can more accurately be characterized as partisan advocacy than as dispassionate dispensation of justice. As the December 1999 House Committee on Government Reform report put it:

The 16 terrorists appear to be most unlikely candidates. They did not personally request clemency. They did not admit to wrongdoing and they had not renounced violence before such a renunciation had been made a quid pro quo for their release. They expressed no contrition for their crimes, and were at times openly belligerent about their actions…. Notwithstanding the fact that the 16 did not express enough personal interest in the clemency process to file their own applications, the White House appeared eager to assist throughout the process. Meetings were held with supporters, and some senior staff [i.e., Holder] even suggested ways to improve the likelihood of the President granting the clemency. Overall, the White House appears to have exercised more initiative than the terrorists themselves.

Nearly ten years after the FALN pardons, Holder is once again set to enter the Attorney General’s office – this time as its head. But before assuming that important post, he owes the American people – and the victims of FALN terror – the explanation he failed to provide when the terrorists were set free.

9 posted on 01/09/2009 2:49:20 AM PST by Liz (The right to be left alone is the beginning of freedom. USSC Justice William O. Douglas)
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To: All

The Clintons "profiled" the New York electorate and pardoned hyphenate voting blocs (the ones Hillary needed to get elected). The upstate New Square community voted en masse for Hillary's US Senate bid---1200 votes. Some of the New Square *"disadvantaged voters" were later found to have voted twice using the addresses of their other residences. What was Holder's part in this pardon scam?


Excerpts from the UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT August Term 1999 (Argued: May 15, 2000 Decided: August 25, 2000 ) Docket Nos. 99-1671(L), 99-1672, 99-1673, 99-1674 -UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee, -v.- CHAIM BERGER and AVRUM DAVID FRIESEL, a/k/a "David Friesel," a/k/a "Avraham Friesel," a/k/a "A. David Friesel," a/k/a "Aron Friesel," Defendants, KALMEN STERN, DAVID GOLDSTEIN, Esq., JACOB ELBAUM, a/k/a "Yitzchok Elbaum," and BENJAMIN BERGER, Defendants-Appellants.

The original indictment charged the appellants and two other defendants (now fugitives), Chaim Berger and Avrum David Friesel, with conspiracy and substantive counts based upon their participation in a massive conspiracy to defraud the Department of Education ("DOE"), the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), the Small Business Administration ("SBA"), the Social Security Administration ("SSA"), and the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"). Count 1 of the redacted indictment charged all four appellants with conspiracy to defraud several federal agencies.

The remaining counts charged the appellants, in various combinations, with substantive crimes relating to this conspiracy, including embezzlement, mail fraud, wire fraud, false statements, money laundering, filing a false tax return, and failing to file a tax return.

The evidence at trial revealed that the appellants -- most of whom resided in New Square, a Hasidic Jewish community in Rockland County, New York -- participated in a massive conspiracy to obtain by fraud millions of dollars in student financial aid, rental subsidies, social security benefits, and small business loans. All four appellants participated in a fraud upon the DOE, which formed the centerpiece of the government's case, but the government also proved that the conspirators or subsets of them victimized other agencies as well.

They also concealed their income to increase the amounts they could obtain under federal subsidy programs and reduce their tax liability.

The conspiracy involved a number of other participants, including major figures in the New Square Hasidic community. We now examine the scheme in greater detail.

First, the conspirators defrauded the DOE's Pell Grant Program by falsely enrolling thousands of New Square residents and others in schools offering mentor-based independent study programs.

Many students never actually studied at these institutions, even though the conspirators prepared a paper record of their academic progress. Ultimately, most of the false students were enrolled at Toldos Yakov Yosef Seminary ("TYY"), an institution that purported to employ all four appellants and received over $11 million in Pell Grants but never existed except on paper.

As part of the conspiracy, the conspirators made extensive efforts to deceive the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training ("ACCET") in order to gain accreditation for TYY so that the school could qualify for federal aid. Each of the appellants played a role in TYY.

Elbaum was named as Board Secretary and had signature authority over bank accounts into which Pell Grant funds were wire-transferred and out of which payments were made to community organizations, to conspirators, and to the DOE (to repay student loans).

Stern was named as administrator (1987-88); pretended to be Arye Reich, the supposed Registrar -- who was living in Israel at the time -- during ACCET visits; and made false statements to the accreditors in this capacity. Goldstein was named as Administrator (1988-91) and helped deceive the accreditors in 1989. He resigned in 1991 and later served on the ACCET Board of Trustees. In addition, he made statements to a DOE investigator in 1996 that maintained the fiction of TYY, identifying officials and claiming to have fulfilled the duties of Administrator while at TYY.

Finally, Berger served as an alleged mentor, and paychecks for supposed TYY employee Cheindel Bernat -- Ayre Reich's daughter, who also lived in Israel -- were deposited into a bank account controlled by Berger in Bernat's name.

Second, the conspirators defrauded HUD's Section 8 housing subsidy program. Elbaum and Stern failed to report to HUD payments they received from accounts controlled by Chaim Berger, thus fraudulently increasing the amount of Section 8 subsidies for which they could qualify as tenants. Benjamin Berger fraudulently obtained Section 8 rent payments as a landlord by disguising his ownership of property in New Square -- placing it in Cheindel Bernat's name -- and then depositing checks from HUD in an account he controlled in Bernat's name.

In addition, Berger obtained greater subsidies as a Section 8 tenant in Spring Valley by failing to report the income he received as a shadow landlord.

Third, various conspirators, including Goldstein and Stern, participated in schemes to defraud the SSA and the SBA, the details of which are not relevant to this appeal.

Fourth, the conspirators attempted to disguise from the IRS the income that they had diverted to the New Square community and to themselves through the above schemes.

Elbaum and Stern received proceeds through off-the-books payments made from accounts controlled by Chaim Berger. Elbaum also failed to file a tax return for one year. Finally, Berger received and concealed income through his control of an account in Cheindel Bernat's name.


* NOTE: The Clintons' pardonees looted Pell grants and bilked numerous US government agencies. Orthodox Judaism was designated a "disadvantaged minority" under Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." Means that Orthodox became beneficiaries of millions upon millions of tax dollars----federal community development funds. Federal and city assistance received over the years include CETA (Comprehensive Employment Training Act) monies, Section 8 housing assistance, school meal funds, Headstart, HUD grants, and low interest loans. In 1984, federal aid was expanded when the federal government included Orthodox in a priority group of six disadvantaged minorities recognized by all federal agencies. SOURCE Read more about this subject on the PBS web site which aired a three-part series on the activities of Orthodox in America.

10 posted on 01/09/2009 3:13:17 AM PST by Liz (The right to be left alone is the beginning of freedom. USSC Justice William O. Douglas)
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To: kellynla
Details of the role played by Holder, who was deputy attorney general at the time, had not been publicly known until now.

Now I wonder why that could be, Los Angeles Times? I wonder why that could be?

11 posted on 01/09/2009 3:41:33 AM PST by Hardastarboard (Why do I find the Toyota "Saved by Zero" ads so ironic?)
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To: Hardastarboard

I would expect no less an appointment by a Kenyan socialist.

12 posted on 01/09/2009 4:50:14 AM PST by Mouton
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To: kellynla

Holder will withdraw his nomination having discovered that he needs to spend more time with his family.

13 posted on 01/09/2009 7:13:55 AM PST by Malesherbes (Sauve Qui Peut)
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To: kellynla

Hey, it’s only just the old song goes. We’re in for a rollercoaster ride for the next few years. They may be BEGGING for a George Bush before we get through.

14 posted on 01/09/2009 7:29:58 AM PST by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: freekitty

Indeed he has but, then, are we surprised?

15 posted on 01/09/2009 7:30:25 AM PST by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: japaneseghost

I like his last prediction. (P.S., who ISN’T old and gay in WDC.)

16 posted on 01/09/2009 7:35:19 AM PST by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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