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Judicial Watch • 2009 FALN_FBI Clemency Issue

2009 FALN_FBI Clemency Issue

2009 FALN_FBI Clemency Issue

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Date Created:January 12, 2009

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Freedom Information
and
Privacy Acts
Subject:
FALN
Los Macheteros
Prisoners Clemency Issue
Federal Bureau Investigation CHARLE;:, uANE
The precise mLx politics and princi
ple that Jed President Clinton order con
ditional clemency for convicted Puerto
Rican nationalist terrorists still mat
ter fierce debate. Did the president
cede the lobbying campaign behalf
the Puerto Ricans because wanted
curry favor with Latino voters for Hillary
Cli11tons Senate campaign and Gores
presidential campaign? did sin
cerely believe that injustice had been
done the prisoners-an injustice
great that warranted acting this
clemency case ahead hundreds oth
ers pending the Justice Department?
Its perhaps easier identify the
many factors that didnt sway the presi
dent: federal law enforcements strong
vieV that the Puerto Ricans were danger
ous and Wlfepentant; the feelings the
victims the dozens bombings and
shootings the grnup caITied out; the
tential signal that reduction these
terrorists punishment might send oth
ers around the world. this roster obliviousness must now added yet another issue. The Puerto
cans car.ried out their campaign violence
with the support and collaboration for
eign country hostile the U.S.: Cuba.
del Castro has long considered the violent
overthrow the colony Cubas sister
island pet project. Cubas role
supporting Puerto Rican terrorists has
been amply detailed not only internal
U.S. government documents but also the
memoir Jorge Masetti, former Cuban
intelligence agent. The Masetti book, pub
lished France six years ago, was
ported Andres Oppenheimer the
Miami Herald the time came out. Even
more the story has recently been
vealed superb eight-part investigative
series, based heavily internal FBI docu
ments. Edmond Mahony the Hartford
Courant.
The picture Cuban support
Puerto Rican terrorism that emerges
from these sources astonishingly
brazen one. Mr. Clintons grant
clemency applied members two
Forces National Liberation (knov,
the Spanish acronym FALN and Los
Macheteros, the latter wllich Cubans
support and direct ... firsthand
level, according FBI documents
cited the Courant.
The lcey figure trJs organization Fil
iberto Ojeda-Rios, Puerto Rican who
moved CUba 1961, where became
officer CUbas foreign-intelligence ser
vice. the 1970s
launched Los
cheteros violent
splinter the FALN.
Los Macheteros oper
ations include the 1976
machine-gunning
U.S. Navy bus San
Juan, Puerto Ricos
capital, attack that
left two American
sailors dead.
Los Macheteros
Fidel Castro
most ambitious caper
took place 1983,
Supports FALN
when the group made
off with $7.2 million
from Wells Fargo armored car Hart
ford, Conn. According Mr. Masettis
memoir, Cuba supplied $50,000 finance
the heist, and smuggled the master
mind the holdup, Juan Segarra-Palmer,
through the Cuban embassy Mexico City.
Segarra-Palmer was sentenced 1989
years prison. and three other
cheteros involved the robbery were
fered conditional clemency President
Clinton. His sentence has been reduced and
hell back the street five years.
(Segarra-Palmers attorney, Leonard
inglass, says that his client considers Mr.
Masettis account fanciful, but said
had not talked with him more generally
about Cuban support for Los Macheteros
and therefore could neither confirm nor
deny it.)
After the robbery, Mr. Masetti writes,
Cuban agents helped smuggle Victor Ger
ena, the alleged gunman the Wells
Fargo heist, and the stolen loot Havana
via Mexico City. The Cuban government
ultimately kept million Wells Fargos
money, leaving the Puerto Ricans
vide the rest. Mr. Gerena, one the
FBIs most wanted, still Cuba,
joying the shelter Mr. Castros regime.
Cubas support for the Puerto Rican
tremists illuminates the emptiness the
White Houses case for clemency. That
case legalistic one, premised the
tions that none the defendants were per
sonally convicted actual act deadly
violence, that they are required
nounce violence and submit parole
turn for reduced sentences, and that the
sentences meted out these defendants
were far harsher than those given com
parable federal cases.
But the terrorism the FALN and Los
Macheteros cannot compared with ordi
nary federal cases. Like all tenorists, but
unlike common criminals, the Puerto
can extremists intended attack and
destabilize society itself, achieve their
ror1sts
objectives making impossible for
Americans the island and the main-.
land sleep night.
They fell well short this goal, but
their eagerness make common cause
with sworn enemy their country-a.
dictatorship that was, the time, allied
with the Soviet Union-indicates just how
far they were willing go. The reluc
tance some them showed accept
clemency offer based renunciation
violence shows how difficult for these
terrorists see the error their ways.
(Indeed, one the four Wells Fargo con
victs refused the clemency deal.)
Violent political fanaticism difficult deter, but societys best defense can on!Y stern, exemplary punishment. This
something the. president seems under-
stand when the terrorist named Osama
bin Laden, when the source state
sponsorship Libya Iraq. So, the ques
tion remains: What-other than shori
term electoral considerations-can
count for the very different approach Mr.
Clinton adopted toward Los Macheteros
and their Cuban backers?
Mr. Lane editor-at-large The Ne1b
Republic.
more complex
about billion loans. Overall,
bad loans Thai firnu1cial instituti00
tal 2.6 trillion baht ($66.66 billion),
lent 45% lending.
Topping the list Thai Petrochemical
Industries PCL, Thailands biggest single
debtor, owing $3.2 billion. But progress
especially n1arked the teleconununica
tions sector, where TelecomAsifl PCL,
Samart Corp. and Thai Telephone
Telecommunications PCL have reached
agreement principle tackling overdue
loans valued total 109 billion baht.
These few deals alone should help
nancial-restructuring efforts-and possi
bly the gloom that has lingered along with
relentlessly high levels banks nonper
forming loans. The pace r;estructuring
actually fell the third quarter- 197 bil
lion baht debts restructured, compared
with 286 billion baht the previous quar
ter-suggesting negotiators had worked
through the easy deals and were tackling
cases. Mlll, expecra..
are
now high that the process shifting
gear and the first quarter the overall
level nonperforming loans wilt fall
Those hopes focus voluntary
framework for debt restructurings estab
lished wider the aegis central-bank
committee. Brought into effect June,
these protocols set six- eight-month
timetable for either reaching agreement restructuring putting case into
court. the central-bank committee can
keep negotiators these deadlines, the
process should deliver rash results
early 2000.
Thai banks still have relatively low lev
els capital. They are reluctant agree plans that mean writing off debt, for fear
that will encourage other debtors stall
for similar treatment. result, lawyers
say, most the current restructuring
plans simply defer payment.
U.N. Sanctions Taliban May Hamper
Effort Bring bin Laden Trial U.S. NEIL KING JR.
Staff Reporter THE
WALL STREET JOURNAL
WASHINGTON-With United Nations
sanctions against the Taliban set take
effect Sunday, the Clinton administra foor< rnnning- short leverag-e
tolerance for the use terrorism
litical tool, said.
The U.N. Security Council surprised the.
White House well the Taliban last
Jnonth when u...-rianimously backed U.S.
initiated sanctions resolution. The vote
gave the Kabul regime month turn
over Mr. bin Laden. The decision also
came further proof, diplomats say,
the Talibans isolation the international
community. China, Russia and India have
all come fear the threat Taliban
backed revolutionary movements. Some Taliban officials seemed willing recent weeks comply with the .N.
der, while others-most notably the
supreme leader
Mullah
Mohammed
Omar-ruled out that possibility. The
mixed signals have made life tough U.S.
officials seeking open dialogue with
the Taliban.
The Taliban leadership threatened the
U.S. this week with storms and earth
quakes the U.N. went ahead with sanc
tions. But New York, the Talibans
deputy representative the U.N. spoke
entirely different language. avenue
for negotiations open, very definitely,
Noorullah Zadran said. Washingtons
terms, though, are unacceptable us.
will not give force.
The Taliban has offered put Mr. bin
Laden under house arrest try him
fore international Islamic tribunal, but
refuses turn him over the U.S. Taliban
officials say the U.S. has simply not con-
vinced them that Mr. bin Laden guilty
organizing the bombings. They also con
cede that giving the popular guerilla
leader could politically risky.
Sti!l, Mr. Sheehan continues talk with
Taliban representatives New York
nearly every week. crucial keep
talking, matter what, said. The
ministrations aim now see can
gin discussions with the Taliban leader ship Kabul, offer Mr. Omar and his deputies have declined.
P?:
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ru:-vn;: oUTLOOJK
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d.i the:IBlands beautifulbeaches-and
the Navy permits cruise liner
te.. make.calla:-butthebombsarea deter you
jud are looldng tor agi!Hor.tlie
llibo bal
Oyel)thln xoeP,t,;
_... :;,. _:; ;:,{ rent the- ergence hospitality
,.,,Last summer was cleme11cy !or Industry. Puerto Rico. here rare pollt
Plierto Rican tmorlBts. Next may
.tiie -Navy:1 llve--Dre range _on; the ical J,inanimlty OJ!; Vieques and
:i:!J!rto Rican island VlequeJ, .Just shared sense that .Washington ltas
Mr, Clinton made bis aemency o.1 done them wrong. But wouJd
;fer
.,?te reco miatake interpret antl Vleques
set? ,y:
:ge .,,::i e:!n
:ho
anti ,l.melicaii and antl mllltary have
take /UP .caUBe the loudest
volCU.The.}lny left wing Indepen thetront celid,
Di1ht not able-to certify the Eisen
hower group combat ready. That
comu the heels Anny
nouncemerit that two Its divisions
are nOt mbat ready, receiving the
lowest fotir possible grades-and
that d1v181on received the highest
readlnesa rating. Senator James bofe, the Oklahoma Republican who _._
0:111 Jor comparable crisis milltazy pre
paredness. interview with Telemundo
Televlllon early this month, Mr. Clln
ton took the opportunlty badmouth
the m1llta.r,ya treatment Vleques,
aaytng that would Work hard
get compromise through, but not
committing himself the Elsen
bowers exercises. After the raw exer
cise polltlcklng dlsplay the
FALN clemency gran Its hard
have any confidence.that when does
get around resolving the Vleques
matter, thil President will put the
tional Interest llrsl
(_)(._)
:.Theh:.atue l)f Vieques
,//
:::, /_/y --..-
/A) tJ...
r--r-
Clintons Puerto Rico Policy Bombs More Ways Than One JosE FUENTES
Clintons political aspirations, Vice
Many commentators have observed
President Gores conspicuous silence
the issue and the unanimous counsel
that deciding offer clemency consenior law-enforcement officials against
victed Puerto Rican terrorists, President
Clinton did not adequately consider the the release the terrorists. Largely
sent has been the voice the Puerto Rican
perspectives any the victims their
organization, the FALN Spanish
community.
acronym for Armed Forces National Lib fear President Clinton may only have
eration). But thats not all the president succeeded igniting resentment and sus
seems have overlooked. also failed to; picion against the Puerto Rican people--
c_onsider how .iJ.clipns might harm rela .!.u ling. ... 1assumption that all supi
...
:clemency clsion. Most
hons between _ttie people Puerto Ric lloW
ln_
:Arld .do_not want our fel Americans the mistaken impression
st?
that our sympathies lie with terrorism. Mr.
people Puerto Rico have not been
Clinton needs know that Puerto Rico
..me from the FALNs campaign ofterIn 1975 bomb detonated restau
stands with the U.S. against terrorismand emphatically reject any insinua
rant Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, killing
tlon the contrary.
six-year-bld child and wounding several
Generations goodwill between Puerto
other diners. And senior FBI official
lieves that the FALN may responsible
Ricans and Americans the mainland
may seriously harmed unless there
for more recent bombings Puerto Rico
change direction from the White House. well Chicago.
While the decades since World War have
Even more surprising was that
witnessed countless nations seeking selfthe FALN terrorists received clemency
determination, Puerto Rico stands group. full exoneration criminal.
table exception. repeated referendums
group-rather than just individuals-is,
over the years, Puerto Ricans have consis knowledge, unprecedented mod
tently rejected independence (an option
ern American history. fear that this
vored less than Puerto Ricans
may set troubling new standard. Other
the most recent vote, last year) and
terrorist organizations may view this
strongly favored maintaining our strong
clemency offer weakening Ameri
ties with the U.S. Although Puerto Ricans
can resolve. What appeared some
are divided almost equally between propo iict mercy might have the unin
effect actually increasing the
nents full statehood and advocates U.S. citizens.
maintaining our current status com
monwealth, overwhelming majority the recent discussion surroundagrees shunning independence.
fff the clemency decision has focused
the suspicious timing light Hillary
And not take our relationship with
Alnei:ica:n dtiz .ng
i..:
1dld]ot pardoning
ton may have given the
pression that most Puerto
Ricans support terrorism
and independence
dont.
-------
the U.S. took control Puerto Rico,
have grown from abject poverty robust
prosperity and now have one the very
highest levels per capita income Latin
America. short, consider the U.S. benevolent administrator rather than
overbearing parent.
Now Mr. Clinton the verge
raveling these strong bonds two fronts.
Besides his untimely clemency decision, continues avoid taking action
other matter deep concern Puerto
cans.
Puerto Ricos goodwill towards the
U.S. received jolt when Navy jets
practice bomb ina vertently killed civil-
santly flashing 12:00. Despite the proof
Fermats last theorem, complex pricing
schemes for derivatives and options, and
countless other mathematical advances,
there does not seem any decline
the sale plastic tipping cards informing
their,o
FALN
,......,....
ian island Vieques April. This
was tragedy waiting happen. Our vi-
brant relationship with the U.S. has been
strained recent years the Navys l:i.
ontin ue? ins!slence pr:acticing born m1ss10ns close prox1m1ty Amen-
can citizens living and working this
land-a practice that has clear military rationale.
This recent accidental death gave
Clinton opportunity reverse course:4L_.
anctend these unnecessary bombing praly, the Agriculture Department
eking money turn the Plum Animal Disease Center, one
off Long Island, into top secu
laboratory where some the dangerous diseases known beast can studied.
Agriculture Department operates here Plum Island,
across Gardiners Bay from the
ilthy
Hamptons, aboratory
2re such dreaded foreign animal
eases foot-and-mouth and Afri
swine fever are examined. But
department seeking $75 million year and $140 million over the two years upgrade the center
handle even more dangenius ani diseases that. can affect humans.
While there are four civilian and ary laboratories America
uipped such diseases
:hnically known Biosafety Level lities their work >:er that primarily affect
iur
terrorists the clandestine move
ment for Puerto Rican independ
ence.
The letter also said the clemency
would psychologically and opera
tionally enhance the militant organ
ization
F.A.L.N., which killed five
people and maimed the 1970s
and SOs.
Mr. Freehs letter came light Congressional hearing intended
Republicans portray the Presi
dents act reckless. Also today,
Mr. Clinton provided his first full
explanation his decision Jetter Congress. [Excerpts, Page A22.]
Mr. Freeh did not sign the F.B.I.
letter, which was addressed but nev sent Representative Henry
Hyde, the Illinois Republican who
chairman the House Judiciary
Committee. But Mr. Freeh read
before was forwarded Congress,
and senior law-enforcement officials
said tonight that accurately
flected his position. draft the letter was sent from
the F.B.I. the Justice Department
...
for review before Mr. Freehs signa
ture, law-enforcement officials said.
The letter was among the thousands
documents
sent
the
White
House Congress response
subpoenas for mat ion about the
Coni111ued Page A22
New York Divorces
---
!...
iili
(_;(
;ii! ...,
virecror
1posea Judicial Watch, Inc. Via FOIA
Clemency for Puerto Ricans
Continued From Page
Presidents clemency decision.
The letter said that Mr. Freeh had
objected clemency when the mat
ter was first raised 1994, and again recently June 28; even so, the
letter said, Mr. Freeh was unaware
that the President was actually con
templating any commutation when
the White House announced its offer Aug. 11.
While some officials have private acknowledged disapproval the
decision, the letter the first official
indication the fierce opposition
among aw-enforcement officials
the clemency offer for the terror
ists, most whom have accepted it.
Casting himself the tradition
previous Presidents who have grant clemency cases that were
popular, Mr. Clinton portrayed his
release the prisoners act
courage. cited Theodore Roose
velts amnesty for Filipinos who
fought United States control and
Jimmy Carters commutation the
sentences Puerto Rican national-
For some; prisoners
release threat
American security.
ists who had opened fire the House Representatives.
They exercised the power vested them the Constitution
what they believed was right, even
the face great controversy, Mr.
Clinton wrote. have done the
same.
The President did not deal with the
question whether the release the
prisoners might reignite the dor
mant terrorist movement. But Rep
resentative Vito Fossella Jr.,
publican Staten Island, asserted
that recent statements known
Puerto Rican militant and ally the
prisoners indicated that the release
was stirring old passions. quoted Filiberto Ojeda Rios,
the leader Los Macheteros, ter
rorist organization allied with the
F.A.L.N:, telling Puerto Rican
radio station that the United States
committed aggression against Puer Rico, his group would not remain
with their arms crossed, you can
sure that.
Republicans coaxed out other
law-enforcement.officials concern
that the former prisoners constituted threat American security. While
the officials were bound the Presi
dents claim executive privilege
not disclose internal deliberations
over the matter, they catalogued the
violent actions the F.A.L.N.,
which the prisoners belonged.
Neil Gallagher, assistant director national security for the .B.I.,
told the panel, These are criminals
and they are terrorists and they rep
resent threat the United States.
Congress has acknowledged that
has control over clemency mat
ters, which are the sole prerogative the President. But Mr. Clintons
explanation today appeared make
little difference those the hear
ing room. They saw the move
political disaster for the President
and for his wife, Hillary Rodham
Clinton, who likely seek the
Senate seat from New York and who
has run into political trouble for
first supporting, then denouncing,
her husbands decision.
Republicans have wanted draw
out the drama The panel, led
Representative Dan Burton, the Indi
ana Republican who chairman
the Government Reform Committee,
called several victims F.A.L.N.
attacks testify for the third time
less than two weeks. They included
Richard Pastorella, retired New
York City detective who was severe injured 1982 attack. lost his
sight both eyes.
Who thinks us? Mr. Pastor
ella asked bitter voice. Certain not Mr. Clinton.
The victims and relatives those
who had been killed the attacks
said that contrary Federal
quirements, they had not been noti
fied the prisoners peqding
lease.
And Republicans took issue with
Mr. Clintons argument that just
cause the prisoners had not been
convicted doing bodily harm, they
deserved free. Republican after
Republican asserted that there was distinction between accessories
violent crimes and those who actual pulled the triggers.
The only reason some them
didnt commit murders bombings because they were arrested before
they got chance to, Mr. Burton
said.
Two Democrats, both African
Americans, offered minimal
fense the clemency. Representa
tive Danny Davis, Democrat
Illinois, said, Democracy can
fellowship well punishment.
Representative Edolphus Towns,
Democrat Brooklyn, urged Con
gress move issues that
have real effect the lives
average Americans. The commit
tees ranking Democrat, Represent
ative Henry Waxman Califor-
nia, said reluctantly that proba-
bly would not have granted the
clemency. his letter, the President dis
closed some the arguments that
Mr. Carter had used persuading
Mr. Clinton grant clemency this
case. said that Mr. Carter wrote him 1997 that releasing the
prisoners would significant
manitarian gesture.
Mr. Carter also said any concern
that clemency might viewed
leniency had been mitigated the
length time that the prisoners
served, Mr. Clinton wrote. Most
them had been prison least
years, period that Mr. Clinton said
was not commensurate with their
crimes, which included sedition, con
spiracy and armed robbery.
And for the first time since
made the offer, Mr. Clinton said that
the decision was difficult and that
had not minimized the concerns
law-enforcement personnel. did what believe equity and
fairness dictated, the President
wrote. certainly understand, how
ever, that other people could review
the same facts did and arrive
different decision.
Richard Pastorella, left, was comforted yesterday his ex-partner, Detective Anthony Senft, during House
testimony.
Mr.
Pastorella was blinded and had all the fingers his right hand blown off bomb
1982.
Excerpts From Letters Commutations The New York Times
WASHINGTON, Sept. Following are excerpts
from two letters about President Clintons commutation prison sentences Puerto Rican nationalists. The first draft letter that was not sent after being written aides for the director the Federal Bureau
Investigation, Louis Freeh, The second letter dated
today from Mr. Clinton Representative Henry
Waxman.
Mr. Freehs Letter
The request for commutation the sentences
these imprisoned Puerto Rican terrorists associated with
the F.A.L.N. was first made 1994. Since that time,
response requests for comments, the F.B.I.has consis
tently advised the Department Justice (D.0.J.),
writing, that the F.B.I. was opposed any such pardon
and/or commutation sentences for any these indi
Viduals. recently June 28, 1999, the F:.BJ. written
correspondence, adVised D.O.J. that the F.B.I. continued oppose the release these terrorists. Specifically, the
F.B.I. pointed out D.O.J. that active members
Puerto Rican terrorist groups, these individuals sanc
tioned, supported and/or directly indirectly participat activities resulting fewer than nine fatalities,
hundreds injuries, millions dollars property
damage and armed attacks U.S. Government facili
ties.
D.O.J. was also advised the F.B.I. had reason
expect the release these individuals would psycholog
ically and operationally enhance the ongoing violent
and criminal actiVities Puerto Rican terrorist groups.
The F.B.I. also pointed out that any such pardon the
currently incarcerated terrorists would likely return
committed, experienced, sophisticated and hardened ter
rorists the clandestine movement. ...
With respect the condition attached the commu
tation sentences the President, (i. that the terror
ists renounce violence form protest) the F.B.l.had
previously advised D.0.J.that few the current prison
ers have expressed remorse for their crimes for their
Victims; rather, most remained committed violence means achieve Puerto Rican independence.
Mr. Clintons Letter
The question clemency for these prisoners was
very difficult one. did what believe equity and fairness
dictated. certainly understand, however, that other
people could review the same facts did and arrive
different decision. making decision, did not minimize the
serious criminal conduct which these men and women
engaged. recognize and appreciate that there are
Victims F.A.L.N.-related Violence who feel strongly
that these individuals, although not directly convicted
crimes involving bodily harm anyone, should serve the
full sentences imposed. Before making decision,
sought and considered the views the Department
Justice. Press reports note that certain Federal Bureau Investigation and Justice Department officials, includ
ing the U.S. Attorneys Chicago and Connecticut, were
opposed clemency. did not dismiss those concerns
some have implied. Rather, carefully weighed them
malting this difficult decision ....
Many those who supported unconditional clemen tor the prisoners argued that they were political
prisoners who acted out sincere political beliefs.
rejected this argument. form violence ever justified means
political expression democratic society based the
rule law. Our society believes, however, that punish
ment should fit the crime. Whatever the conduct other
F.A.L.N. members may have been, these petitioners
while convicted serious crimes were not convicted crimes involving the killing maiming any individ
uals. For me, the question, therefore, was whether the
prisoners sentences were unduly severe and whether
their continuing incarceration served any meaningful
purpose ....
The timing decision was dictated the fact
that former counse Charles Ruff, committed
many those interested this issue that would
consult with the Department Justice and make
recommendation before left the counsel posi
tion. Pursuant this commitment, received his recom
mendation early August. recently indicated
The New York Times, his recommendation and
decision were based our view the merits the
requests political considerations played role the
process. you know, last week asserted executive priVi
lege the face Chairman Burtons subpoena seeking
memoranda and testimony concerning the decision pro
cess. did so, after receiving the opinion the Attorney
General that such assertion was proper....
Grants clemency generate passionate views.
vesting the pardon power the President alone, the
framers our Constitution insured that clemency could given even cases that might unpopular and
controversial. The history our country full exam
ples clemency with which many disagreed, sometimes
fervently. When Theodore Roosevelt granted amnesty
Filipino nationals who attempted overthrow U.S. con
trol the Philippines, when Harry Truman commuted
the death sentence Oscar Collazo, and when Jimmy
Carter commuted the sentence Collazo and other
Puerto Rican nationalists who had fired upon the House Representatives, they exercised the power vested
them the Constitution what they believed was
right, even the face great controversy. have done
the same.
LEXJS -NEXIS View Printa
age
LEXIS -NEXIS(!) niverse
Copynght 999 Associated Press Online
September 22, 999; Wednesday 06:00 Eastern Time
SECTION:
LENGTH:
Washington- general news
648 words
HEADLINE:
BYLINE:
FBI Decries Freed FALN Members
SHANNON McCAFFREY
DATELINE:
WASHINGTON
BODY: top FBI official told Con gress regards Puerto Rican militants freed grant clemency
President Clinton terrorists who continue represent threat the United States.
The description Neil Gallagher, the FBIs assistant director for national security, came Tuesday
President Clinton tried again explain why granted clemency, this time five-page letter
Democratic congressman.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported todays editions that unsigned letter prepared for
FBI Director Louis Freeh stating the FBI was unequivocally opposed the clemency offer was
among thousands documents sent Congress.
The Times quoted senior law-enforcement officials saying Freeh read the letter before was
forward Congress with other background documents and that the letter accurately reflected his
position.
Clintons own letter said the offer was motivated not politics, critics have charged, but out
concern for the extremely lengthy sentences the separatists were serving. form violence ever ustified means political expression democratic society based the rule law, 
planning escape. got additional prison sentence because it. And was advocating ...
HANNITY: Its unbelievable.
BURTON acts terrorism when got out then.
HANNITY: Well, now know the president based past experience that when exercised
evokes executive privilege, can pretty much determine that theres cover-up some kind. Now sure they didnt anticipate that FOX NEWS would get hold the FBI surveillance video that have been showing.
But had been told from the beginning, said, that these guys were not involved any way.
true that the Justice Department, that the FBI, that the people that prosecuted these terrorists, they all
told the president not release them? Have determined that? that percent fact now?
BURTON: Oh, yes. Every law enforcement the country, probably every law enforcement officer
down the last person, thinks those people should still behind bars. The fact the matter they
were involved terrorist activities.
Making those bombs not childs play. mean, anybody whos watching that tape knows what they
were doing.
COLMES Congressman Burton, its Alan Colmes. Welcome back the program.
BURTON: Hey, Alan. How are you?
COLMES Good see you again, sir. The White House said that you had issued something like 700
subpoenas over the course your chairmanship.
And yesterday Meet the Press, heres what you had say. going show little clip
Tim Russert about that charge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURTON: have only sent three subpoenas the White House this year and only after the Waco
incident. And overall, the past three- and-a-half years since Ive been chairman, weve sent 26.
dont know where Mr. Lockhart getting this 700 figure. But its totally, totally out line.
COLMES Chairman Burton, today Joe Lockhart responded. sent you letter. dont know
youve seen not. But have copy it.
And heres, among the things that Joe Lockhart said you today, Joe Lockhart said, writing
tell you the source information. comes from the sixth report the House Government
Reform and Oversight Committee, November 998, which states that 997 and alone, you
issued 758 subpoenas connection with your various investigations the president and the
Democratic Party.
BURTON: Thats true...
COLME Which the truth?
BURTON: Well, that true. sent 700-and-some subpoenas out telephone companies, banks, credit card companies, trying get records people that were giving illegal campaign
contributions tpe,presidents reelection committee and the Democratic Party.
But never sent all those the White House. only sent...
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COLMES: says there were 643 the White House proper.
BURTON: ... That is...
COLMES: ... between October and March connection with the campaign finance
reform investigation.
BURTON: Well, Mr. Lockhart error. Hes not telling you the truth because staff went
through and checked that very thoroughly. get information about the illegal campaign contributions
coming from all over the world. But only sent the White House ...
COLMES: Joe Lockhart...
BURTON: And some those were duplications because they werent responding.
COLMES: Joe Lockhart lying?
BURTON: Well, hes misinformed hes not lying, because had the facts before him, hed know
thats not true.
COLMES: also says youve done so, youve done this without seeking the approval the
committees minority members. And says that Democratic chairman committee ever issued subpoena unilaterally without ever getting minority consent committee vote since McCarthy
hearings back the 1950s.
BURTON: Well, thats ust not so. Lee Hamilton when was charge the Iran Contra hearings, was able issue subpoenas unilaterally. did inform the minority about them. well.
But can issue them myself. And do.
COLMES Are you saying thats par for the course, thats whats usually done? more unusual
that you would unilaterally without seeking the concurrence the minority member?
BURTON: Any committee chairman thats involved investigation going back Lee Hamilton
when was charge lran Contra has the ability, and had the ability, issue subpoenas
unilaterally.
HANNITY: All right.
BURTON: Now they usually what and that give the minority hours notice.
HANNITY: Congressman Burton, stay right there. Well have more this breaking news the ALN terrorism controversy. Then
Please stay tuned HANNITY COLMES continues. :27>
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COLMES: Welcome back HANNITY COLMES. Alan Colmes.
Coming up, should students able refuse instruction the theory evolution because their
religious beliefs? well ask
But first, continue with the controversy over the presidents decision grant clemency
Puerto Rican terrorists.
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Joining us, Indi Republican Congressman Dan Burton, chairman the Committee
Government Ref
orm.
Joe Lockhart, the presidential spokesman, wrote you?
BURTON: Yes, glad were still that subject, Alan, because let just say that raising the issue how many subpoenas Ive sent the White House attempt divert attention away from the
real issue.
The issue is, why did the president pardon terrorists, terrorists? Why that doesnt want
the American people know why pardoned them? Why the Justice Department not allowing
the FBI give statement about why these people were what they did and why they were
pardoned? Why the Bureau Prisons being stymied?
These are the things the White House doesnt want the American people talk about, theyre
attacking because Ive sent out subpoenas. The fact the matter is, 122 people have taken the
Fifth the Justice Department, like now, and the Whi House, like now, blocking every attempt
can get the truth.
They dont want the American people know the facts. And will not deterred.
COLMES: the way, campaign finance reform very much issue the upcoming presidential
campaign. you support any the bills currently before Congress change the system? Would
you support McCain-Feingold Shays-Mia (ph)?
BURTON: The fact the atter is, Alan, that existing campaign laws were broken. efore you start
passing whole bunch new laws, you need make sure the laws that you have effect are
enforced. This White House and this Democrat National Committee broke whole host laws, and
nobody talks about the laws that they broke that have not been enforced the Justice Department.
And before start passing bunch new laws, which facade, need enforce the laws have. think McCain-Feingold and the others too far. think that ought report
everything get from everybody, the American people know where the moneys coming from.
Put some limitations it. But you let the American people know the facts, youre not going fool
them.
COLMES: the way, want get back that film weve been showing, which weve had
exclusive here FOX NEWS, the film from March 1983. did some checking. You know, the
bombs that the FALN accused setting off happened prior this date. Theres evidence that
whatever they were doing this video resulted bombs later being set off.
this video.
BURTON: Alan, they were making bombs used terrorist activities. dont know those people that were jail some are still jail, but most are out there had been (ph)
pardoned don know they were involved terrorist activities before that. dont know
they placed any those other bombs.
And the fact the matter is, whether they were the bombs exploded before, during, after, the
fact is, they were involved terrorist activities and should still incarcerated.
HANNITY: Congressman urton, amazing, anybody who dares raise question about this White
House, theres almost instantaneous, knee-jerk reaction attack the person whos raising uestions. You pointed out eloquently, this issue about terrorists, convicted terrorists that were
released the president, and now wont let the American people know why came that
decision.
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BURTON: Yes, and hope the American people who are watching FOX tonight will realize that
everybody whos investigated the presidents been attacked. Henry Hyde, Tom DeLay, myself, all
those women who made accusations against the president, every single person whos said anything,
Mr. Aldridge (ph), who was over the who worked the with the FBI over the White House,
everybodys been denigrated and attacked, and they try destroy them because theyre trying
their job.
And Ill tell you, were not going deterred (INAUDIBLE).
HANNITY: Well, amazing, its like knee-jerk reaction the Clinton supporters. They just
want out there and put you issue were dealing with here tonight the release convicted
terrorists who were sentenced between and 90-plus years jail, some whom were found
with bombs.
Now, lets clear about the people see this video, Alejandrina Torres and Edwin Cortes. These
are two men video making bombs. These people were convicted conspiring blow
buildings this country.
BURTON: And kill people.
HANNITY: Weve heard and, you know, this the president and the vice president have lectured number occasions how need protect the poor little children America from gun
violence. And yet see them here, they had opportunity, they got the conviction, and they set
them free.
And then top that, could bring the whole China issue, which you know, the transfer nuclear secrets
BURTON: Sure, but the thing is, had Oklahoma City, all those people were killed. had the
World Trade Center, those people killed and maimed, and all that property damage. And they talk
about how horrible that is. And yet when they start...
HANNITY: Let me...
BURTON: ... releasing terrorists, theyre putting the same kind vermin back the streets.
HANNITY: Congressman, got ask you this. Based what know now first, there were two
conditions for the release these guys. They had renounce terrorism, and they and violence, and
they were reluctant that, which tells lot about these guys. And secondly, they werent
supposed able associate with each other. Its clear now that back Puerto Rico, and thats
what theyre going doing.
Are you concerned you have any evidence, there any investigation going whether not have watch these people closely? Are they likely involved terrorism again, your
view?
BURTON: Well, would hope that Louis Freeh and the FBI are keeping eye these people, and presume they are. think hes tries pretty good job over there. And but nevertheless,
theyre people who are prone that sort thing, and may have stimulated them for more
activity. dont know, but they certainly shouldnt out there even risk.
COLMES: Congressman Burton, thank you for your time tonight.
BURTON Thank you,
COLMES: Happy see you again.
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Coming next, some kids are skipping questions about the theory evolution school because
their religious beliefs. What should our kids learning, creationism, evolution, neither? Thats
coming next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LANGUAGE:
LOAD-DATE:
ENGLISH
SEPTEMBER 999
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Copyright
1999 Federal Information Systems
Federal News Service
Corporation
View Related Topics
SEPTEMBER 1999, THURSDAY
SECTION: THE NEWS
LENGTH: words
HEADLINE PREPARED TESTIMONY
CONGRE MAN DAN BURTON
CHAIRMAN
BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE GOVERNMENT REFORM
SUBJECT CLEMENCY FOR THE FALN FLAWED DECISION? SUBMITTED
SEPTEMBER 999
BODY:
Good morning. Today, were going focus the Presidents decision offer clemency members Puerto Rican terrorist group the ALN.
Our system based checks and balances. The Congress can pass legislation, but the President can
veto it. The President the Commander Chief, but only Congress can declare war.
But there one area where the Presidents power absolute the power grant clemency. Theres
nothing the Congress can about it. Theres nothing the courts can about it. Article II, Section the Constitution states: shall have power grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the
United States except cases impeachment.
This important responsibility. Its power that the President has exercise with great deal
caution. Before the FALN, President Clinton had received more than 3,000 petitions for clemency
and had granted only three them.
Then, August the President offered clemency members the FALN terrorist group
seeking independence for Puerto Rico. Almost month later, the people accepted the
Presidents offer and were released from prison.
This whole issue has ignited firestorm controversy. The FALN was involved bombings.
Five people died. were inj ured. What want know is, why did the President make this
decision? What the public benefit? Who advised him this issue? Was the FBI consulted? The
Bureau Prisons? Thats why were holding this hearing.
First, were going to.examine what the FALN is. One the arguments for granting clemency that
these people were not directly involved any acts violence. Well, want briefly review
what they were convicted of.
Most these people were convicted things like seditious conspiracy and conspiracy obstruct
interstate commerce. Lets take look exactly what that means.
Eight these people were arrested together Chicago. They were caught stolen van, carrying
illegal weap ons. They were parked near the home wealthy businessman named Henry Crown. Its
believed that they were going kidnap him.
The only thing that stopped them was their arrest.
They were convicted Federal court. they were being sentenced, they shouted threats the
judge. Heres what they said, according the court transcript:
You are lucky that cannot take you right now. Our people will continue use righteous
violence. Revolutionary ustice can fierce, mark words.
Were going fight .Revolutionary justice will take care you and everybody else.
These are the people who were just granted clemency.
Three other FALN members were planning break one their leaders out Leavenworth prison.
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They had two safe houses Chicago, where they had thousands rounds ammunition, blasting
caps, detonating cord, dynamite, and numerous weapons. They had schematic diagram the prison
hidden under the floor boards their kitchen.
The only thing that stopped them was their arrest.
The FBI has videotape two these people one their safe houses actually making bomb. oing show just brief segment that tape right now.
(Show Tape)
These are the people who were just granted clemency.
Four the people who were granted clemency were arrested for their involvement the armed
robbery armored car Connecticut. Theyre part splinter group called Spanish the
Machete Wielders. This group has claimed responsibility for: the murder San Juan police officer; ambushing Navy school bus and killing two sailors; and shooting army officer Fort Buchanan Puerto Rico.
These are the people the President has offered clemency and released from prison.
The saddest part that the Puerto Rican people dont even want what these people are fighting for. know little about this issue. Ive been strong supporter self-determination for Puerto Rico. original sponsor legislation give them free and fair plebiscite decide their fate. Ive
spoken Puerto Rico about the issue. The vast, vast majority Puerto Ricans dont want
independence. the last plebiscite, only about two and half percent the people voted for
independence.
Congressman Romero-Barcelo Puerto Rico here today. and have worked together this
issue. hope hell tell little about the level support for independence Puerto Rico. hope wont have lot talk today about how these people were convicted non-violent
Tiit murders bombings because they were
crimes The only reason some them didnt com..
arrested before they got chance to. Many the murders remain unsolved this day. dont
know who committed them may have been those the President released. need know what was behind this decision offer these people clemency. think the American
people deserve know. Was the President aware the extent their crimes? Did the President seek the opinion the
Justice Department the FBI? Did seek advice from other law enforcement groups? What
were the arguments for releasing these people? sent subpoena the White House. asked for all the memos that had been prepared for the
President made this decision. sent subpoena the Justice Department asking them for all the material they sent the White
House this case.
Instead complying with the subpoena, the President made sweeping claim executive privilege. documents bearing his decision can turned over. Nobody who advised him can testify.
Well, the President has right that. Theres disputing that. But think its very unfortunate.
What the President basically saying that its his decision, and far the Congress and the
American people are concerned, its none our business.
The President has taken members terrorist organization, who committed very serious crimes, and
set them free. thinK has moral obligation explain the American people why did this.
think has moral obligation explain the American people why putting these people back
the streets isnt danger them and their families. the President made good decision, then release the documents and the briefing papers and let
them reflect that. made good decision, let his aides come and testify. Dont hide behind
executive privilege. the very least, the President should before the American people and give
them forceful explanation why these people deserve released from prison.Unfortunately,
none thats going happen today. arent going hear from anyone who can explain why
the President did what did. are going hear from some people who know little bit about the FALN.
Were going hear from two New York City police officers. They were working the bomb squad New Years eve 982. One the FALNs bombs went off their faces while they tried
defuse it. Detective Sempf and Detective Pascoretti were permanently crippled.
They wil introduced Congressman Vito Fossella. glad could with today.
Were also going hear from Thomas Connor New York today. Mr. Connors father was killed FALN bomb. was set off the historic Fraunces (Frawn-Sess) Tavern New York
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was years old the day his father died. also have Diana Berger Ettenson here today. Her
husband was sitt the same table Thomas Connors father. She was months pregnant the day
her husband died. want thank all you for being here. sorry for the losses youve suffered. know lot time
has passed, but time doesnt heal all wounds. was watching couple weeks ago, and saw Tim Russert interview one these FALN
members who was released from prison Ricardo Jiminez. think what upset the most was that tried blame the restaurant owners for the deaths. going read what said: think all precautions were taken you know make sure that all human life was preserved. .the
measures were not taken that were necessary the people who owned those establishments. blamed the restaurant!
Mr. Russert asked him again and again felt remorse for what they had done. just danced
around and around the issue, and became clear me: these people dont regret what they did.
Theyre defi ant. fact, two the people the President offered clemency refused accept it. Oscar Lopez one them. decided would rath.er sit Prison than renounce violence. 86, masterminded violent plan break out prison. was convicted and received new 5-year sentence. Did the
President know about this man before offered let him out prison?! want read you what his
pre- sentencing report said 986: was Lopez who offered obtain false identification, weapons and explosives. was Lopez who
sent Jaime Delgado Dallas negotiate the purchase the weapons and explosives. was Lopez,
moreover, who gave approval for Cobbs return visit Leavenworth and for the murder
Michael Neece. Even behind the bars federal penitentiary, Oscar Lopez continued lead his
Chicago supporters violent plans. ordered murder from behind bars. Fortunately, the FBI prevented from happening.
What was about Oscar Lopez that moved the President offer him clemency? The President had
received more than 3,000 petitions for clemency. Was Oscar Lopez the most compelling case out ,000? dont understand that especially view the fact that the President only granted three
before that. read article the New York Times where Mr. Ruff stated that they didnt make this decision for
political reasons. But where the article did Mr. Ruff explain why the President did make this
decision. the President going something this unprecedented, theres got good reason
for it. dont understand why the President wont level with the American people. have three witnesses from the Justice Department here today. dont know theyre going say
anything not. asked Mr. Gallagher from the FBI testify about their threat assessment the
FALN. asked him testify about the crimes committed these individuals. has had
opening statement prepared for over week. was informed last night that the Attorney General will
not allow him read his opening statement. cant read it. cant submit it. have run out words describe frustrations with the political games played Janet Reno and
this Justice Department. ust dont know what say anymore. guess what will issue
subpoena for his opening statement. cant believe its come this.
This has important foreign policy ramifications. have serious terrorism problem around the
world. Think about the World Trade Center bombing. Think about the tragedy Oklahoma City.
watched the President this morning making speech the .N. was saying that have deal
strongly and severely with terrorism around the world. What kind message does send other
countries when let known terrorists out prison?
The President also told the U.N. that have more fight nuclear proliferation. reminded hearing had couple months ago. policy expert named Jonathon Fox drafted report the Defense Department stating that China was nuclear arms proliferator.Someone higher the
food chain made him change his opinion degrees. They told him they would fire him didnt
because this was right before Jiang Zemin was coming Washington. are going fight
nuclear proliferation, wed better start here home.
Let conclude saying this: Mr. President, dont leave sitting here reading the tea leaves trying figure this ouc Send the documents weve asked for. Let your aides come and testify.
nothing else, and tell the American people why this their benefit. But dont tell the
American people this none their business. want again thank all our witnesses for being here. sorry had reschedule from last
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week, but theres nothing can about hurricanes. For those you who are allowed speak,
look forward your testimony. now yield the gentleman from California for his opening statement.
END
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
LOAD-DATE: September 22, 999
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9122199
Memorandum
Date ime
From
Subject
06/28 /1999
Rob Burnham
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