In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, how dare Hillary Clinton lecture us on how to win the war against terrorists.
As we endure the politically driven rhetoric about terrorism from Mrs. Clinton, a candidate who refuses to even identify the enemy as "Islamic Extremist Terrorists,” I burn for our electorate to understand Mrs. Clinton’s history of pandering to terrorists and politicizing terrorism for her perceived gain.
Long before Mrs. Clinton’s politically driven terror denials about Benghazi, and her recent praise for the release of terrorist Omar Khadr from Guantanamo Bay, in the summer of 1999 then first lady Hillary Clinton planned her run for US senator from New York. Seeking to ingratiate herself to the Hispanic community in a state in which she had few ties, the carpetbagger Clintons accepted overtures from clemency advocates for the incarcerated Puerto Rican Marxist terrorist group, Armed Forces for National Liberation (“FALN”). These advocates included at least three Democrat Hispanic House members Jose Serrano (NY), Nydia Velazquez (NY) and Luis Gutierrez (Il).
On August 11, 1999, President Bill Clinton held up the Clintons’ end of the clemency bargain by offering executive clemency to 16 of these violent, unrepentant terrorists. The FALN, the most prolific terror group, in terms of bombings, in American history waged a bloody war against the United States, conducting over 115 bombings and six murders from 1974 -1983 including the January 24, 1975 lunchtime bombing of New York’s historic Fraunces Tavern (the site of General George Washington’s emotional farewell to his officers after the Revolutionary War) that murdered four innocent people. Among those murdered was my 33-year-old father, Frank Connor. Our family had planned to celebrate my recent 9th and brother's 11th birthdays that night.
By 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, illegal possession of weapons including explosives; large quantities of C4 plastic explosive, dynamite and huge caches of ammunition.
At sentencing, the remorseless FALN members taunted judge McMillen calling him a terrorist and threatening that only their shackles kept them from killing him. FALN member Dylcia Pagan addressed the court: “All of you, I would advise you to watch your backs.” Another FALN member Ricardo Jimenez told the Judge, “You can give me the death penalty, you can kill me now.” “You say we have no remorse. You’re right,” FALN member Ida Rodriguez told the judge. “Your jails and your long sentences will not frighten us.”
Judge McMillen agreed that the defendants showed no remorse. “I’m convinced you’re going to continue (terrorism) as long as you live. If there was a death penalty, I’d impose the penalty on you without hesitation.”
These are the terrorists the Clintons’ unleashed on the American public; playing Russian Roulette with our lives for cheap politics.
Contrary to the standard process, the FALN terrorists never requested clemency. Instead a “support committee” petitioned 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 then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder fired Love and compelled her replacement, Roger Adams, (who also would not recommend clemency) to draft a neutral “options” memo which provided President Clinton the rationale he needed to offer their releases.
· FALN supporters received a reported nine meetings with White House and Justice Department officials including Eric Holder;
· Victims and their families were ignored by the Clintons and DoJ;
· FBI, Bureau of Prisons and other agencies recommended against clemency ;
· Terrorists were provided 30 days and inter prison conference calls to decide to agree to renounce violence and accept freedom;
· Terrorists were not required to provide information for unsolved crimes as a condition of release;
· Eventually 14 of the 16 accepted clemency and 14 walked free on September 10, 1999 (one was out on parole); and,
· Finally and perhaps most tellingly, FALN leader Oscar Lopez Rivera defiantly refused clemency and remains in prison today.
Hillary Clinton was in favor of the clemencies before she was against them.
According a September 2, 1999 CNN report, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton's campaign said, “she supports the clemency offer - provided those covered renounce violence.” It was not until the public firestorm against the clemencies that Mrs. Clinton suddenly changed positions and claimed she was against clemency.
So to Mrs. Clinton, as long as she stands to gain politically, all it takes for convicted terrorists to be released from prison is to renounce violence! Astonishingly it took these terrorists 30 days to agree to this pathetic, simplistic and absurd condition and incredibly one of the terrorists refused even that and remains in prison.
Is this how a commander in chief wages a war on terror? By political expediency?
Clinton and Obama sycophant Eric Holder asserted that clemency was “reasonable” as those terrorists were “non-violent,” not specifically convicted of killing or harming anyone. This was a flat out lie. These terrorists were convicted of willfully and knowingly joining a conspiracy to commit acts of violence, including 28 bombings in the Chicago area that maimed several people. 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 failures and cover-up in Benghazi, the reasons for the clemencies were purely political and obviously an attempt to further Hillary Clinton’s political career. 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 while a firestorm erupted. Forgotten victims and families like mine publicly demanded answers from the Clintons. The Senate passed a resolution of condemnation by a bipartisan 95 -2 vote as media outlets hammered the administration.
Long-time Hillary Clinton advisor Cheryl Mills personally advised the House Government Reform Committee of President Clinton’s assertion of executive privilege stonewalling the inquiry into the FALN. As a result none of the Justice or FBI officials testified at the Congressional hearings at which we prophetically warned that releasing these terrorists would only encourage more terrorism. Our immediate family and greater American family were horrifically proven correct exactly 2 years later on 9/11/01 when I witnessed the attacks on the World Trade Center that murdered our cousin and father’s godson Steve Schlag among the some 3,000 innocent people massacred.
Mrs. Clinton now cheers the release of terrorist Khadr and pushes for Gitmo inmates to be released or brought from Cuba to the US for trials. This as she endorses lifting the embargo and President Obama’s normalization of relations with Marxist Cuba who provides safe haven for some 70 fugitives from the US including BLA cop killer Joanne Chesimard and FALN bomber maker William Morales. So Mrs. Clinton wants to shutter Gitmo moving the terrorists from Cuba, yet she does not demand the return of convicted terrorists from Cuba.
It is time America understands who Hillary Clinton really is; a ruthless, unscrupulous political opportunist.
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.” It is clear now that to Mrs. Clinton, all Americans’ lives are worthy only of her self-serving games of Russian Roulette and are certainly worth less than her political ambitions.
Is this the kind of political opportunist we want in the White House again?