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    ...Bill Clinton's Clemency
    for Terrorists

"I don't know what Arkansan is for chutzpah,
but this is a gigantic case of it." These are the
words of presidential spokesman Tony Snow
at last Thursday's daily press briefing.

What Snow is referring to is the criticism
leveled at President Bush by both former
President Bill Clinton and his wife, Sen. Hillary
Rodham Clinton, over Bush's decision to
commute the prison sentence of former White
House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
Snow couldn't have said it any better.

Bill Clinton weighed in on the commutation of Libby's prison sentence as if he has no
history of controversy in these matters. "I think there are guidelines for what happens
when somebody is convicted. You've got to understand, this is consistent with their
philosophy; [the Bush administration] believes that they should be able to do what they
want to, and that the law is a minor obstacle."

The blatant hypocrisy of the man who would once again share the White House
is breathtaking.
No, I'm not alluding to the fact that Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998
over perjury allegations surrounding the Monica Lewinski affair. I'm not pointing to the
fact that he pardoned 140 people on Jan. 20, 2001, his last day in office. That list
included his half brother Roger, his former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros and of
course Marc Rich. No, I'm going back to what President Bill Clinton did in August of 1999.

    Against the advice of his Justice Department
    and against the advice of the FBI, Clinton
    offered conditional clemency to 16 jailed
    members of the FALN. In the 1970s and early
    1980s this Puerto Rican terrorist group set off
    more than 130 bombs in the U.S. and Puerto
    Rico. In January of 1975 they blew up Fraunces
    Tavern during lunchtime here in New York City.
    That blast killed four and injured 60 more.

    Why let these thugs out of prison after we had
    seen the first World Trade Center bombing, the U.
    S. Embassy bombings in Africa, and the bombing
    of the USS Cole under Bill Clinton's watch? He
    said at the time that the 16 in question were not
    actually involved in killing anyone.

    Yet they were all convicted on charges of
    conspiracy to commit robbery, bomb-making and
    sedition, as well as firearms and explosives

In fact a federal prosecutor was quoted back in November of 1999 as saying that the 16
FALN members were busted by the FBI while making bombs and planning to blow up
military offices and rob a Chicago Transit Authority fare collector.

Clinton also defended his actions by noting that to
accept clemency, each terrorist had to sign a form
denouncing terrorism and violence.

Some feel that Bill Clinton did this to help his wife
in her run for the U.S. Senate seat from New York
the following year. It was supposed to get her the
Hispanic vote, although I'm not sure how exactly.

The U.S. House and Senate were so enraged over what Clinton had done that they
condemned the move, 311-41 in the House and by a 95-2 margin in the Senate. The
final resolution said in part: ". . .Whereas the president's offer of clemency to the FALN
terrorists violates longstanding tenets of U.S. counterterrorism policy and whereas the
release of terrorists is an affront to the rule of law, the victims and their families and
every American who believes that violent acts must be punished to the fullest extent of
the law. The making of concessions to terrorists is deplorable and President Clinton
should not have granted clemency to the FALN terrorists."

Yes, Tony Snow is right on the money.
It's pure Arkansas chutzpah.
The Guest eColumn is
reprinted by
permission of
Steve Malzberg,
a radio talk-show host
heard nightly on WOR
Radio from 9 to 11 PM
Eastern Time in New
York City and around
the nation on the WOR
Radio Network. You
can hear him online at

Steve Malzberg has
fast become one of
America's most
recognizable faces
and voices on the
political talk scene. He
has been recognized
Talkers Magazine as
one of the nation's,
"Top 100 Talk Show
Hosts" several times.

Steve is a regular
panelist on CNN’s
Paula Zahn Now and
has appeared regularly
on the Fox News
Channel on shows like  
Your World with Neil
, Fox & Friends,
Heartland, and The
O'Reilly Factor,
has also filled in for
Joe Scarborough and
Monica Crowley on

Steve is married to
Marie and has one
son, Robert.