NOVEMBER 20, 2008
The Clinton official who predicted his public career was over after orchestrating the shameful pardons of a fugitive financier and a pair of jailed domestic terrorists has been picked by Barack Obama to be the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
If the president-elect has his way, Eric Holder will be the next U.S. Attorney General despite his highly controversial past and serious political baggage. As deputy attorney general Holder played a leading role in Bill Clinton’s disgraceful last-minute pardons, including millionaire commodities broker Marc Rich who fled the country to escape prosecution for tax evasion, racketeering and trading with the enemy as well as two Weather Underground terrorists serving lengthy prison sentences.
Outraged federal prosecutors had described Rich’s criminal indictment as the biggest tax-fraud case in the history of the United States yet their boss was instrumental in his pardon, although he admitted after the fact that it was a mistake. In fact, weeks after the Rich pardon Holder was quoted in a major newspaper as saying: “I’m done. Public life’s over for me.”
Even Jimmy Carter, the only U.S. president to openly endorse violent Palestinian extremism, chastised the Rich pardon as “disgraceful” and a “serious mistake.” Carter’s White House Chief of Staff, Hamilton Jordan, criticized the Clinton Administration for not seeking the perspective of prosecuting attorneys in the Rich case and concluded that the “ethical atmosphere” of the Clinton White House had sunk to an incredible level.
Holder also orchestrated the violent Miami raid on the house of a Cuban boy’s (Elian Gonzalez) family. Along with his boss, Attorney General Janet Reno, Holder ordered heavily armed federal agents to illegally break into the home of Elian’s relatives to take the boy in 2000. The Good Friday raid victimized dozens of peaceful supporters and left a lasting bitter taste in the Cuban exile community.
With a resume like that it may seem unconscionable for somebody like Holder to lead the Justice Department. After all, he will head a major government agency that defends the nation’s interests and ensures public safety against foreign and domestic threats.
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