Skip to comments.You Must Buy: THE FINAL DAYS by Barbara Olson
Posted on 11/27/2001 5:56:40 PM PST by PackerBoy
This is an excerpt of the late (great) Barbara Olson's recently-released book, The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House.
I assure you that I have no personal or financial interest in the sale or promotion of this book. I just think that, like The Holocaust, the evil of the Clitnons should never be forgotten. And this book puts it all together in a compelling manner. R.I.P., Barbara Olson.
Clemency for Cop Killers (Chapter 2)
From the beginning, it had been clear that the Clinton presidency was unique in one key respect. It was Americas first joint presidency, a phenomenon foretold by candidate Clintons "two-for-one" campaign rhetoric and welcomed by feminists, the prestige press, the liberal punditry, and, of course, co-president Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Hillarys first act of her co-presidency was to set up an office in the West Wing of the White House, the first First Lady ever to do so. Hillary knew that her husband would never have been elected without her complicity in keeping a lid on some of his missteps, and she was resolute in her determination to share in the fruits of that victory Even to sympathetic journalists, her early moves revealed dearly her intention to exercise, and exercise aggressively, the power of the presidency.
Hillary was promptly placed in charge of the Clinton administrations most ambitious signature project, health care reform. She developed and championed a plan that would nationalize one-seventh of the national economy. As George Stephanopoulos described it, Hillary "had established a wholly owned subsidiary within the White House, with its own staff, its own schedule, and its own war room, called the Intensive Care Unit." [footnote omitted]
It was as though Ronald Reagan had in 1981 placed his wife Nancy in charge of reforming the Social Security system, or if our first President Bush had charged Barbara with oversight of military reforms. Such moves would have provoked shrieks of outrage. Indeed, in the past even a hint of first lady involvement in presidential policy, or even personnel, had been greeted with nearly unanimous hand-wringing and media angst. Yet Hillarys assumption of leadership over the restructuring of a major segment of the American economy was met with wide approval, particularly among liberal opinion-makers. Measures that would have affected everyone in America were developed in virtual secrecy, with Hillarys panel of nongovernmental, handpicked experts working behind closed doors, cloaked in anonymity. There were remarkably few protests.
Hillary was transformed into a luminous "Saint Hillary" with her own cult of adoring acolytes. She put out a book, It Takes a Village, to offer a twentieth-century socialized view as to how to raise children. But her true political profile remained largely hidden. Even those close to her never got very close.
Hillarys intensely aggressive nature is only vaguely sensed by those who know just her public personacarefully coiffed and robed in regal blue or feminine pink, or matronly pants suits, depending on the occasion. But some have been able to look beneath the surface. Biographer Roger Morris wrote in the bestselling 1996 book Partners in Power that Hillary and Bills "mutual strong point" was "a single-minded dedication to their own inextricable advance." His initial judgment had only been confirmed by 2001 when he wrote that Bills "indomitable wife ... will be a force on the American scene." [footnote omitted]
I discovered firsthand Hillarys fierce persona, as chief investigative counsel for the congressional committee that investigated Travelgate and Filegate, and later when I researched and wrote Hell to Pay, a book about Hillarys political life. Hillary is a cool, battle-hardened operator. It is more than a little ironic that Hillary was a staffer on the House Judiciary Committee that prepared articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon, because shes very much like the publics image of Nixon: ambitious, cold, ruthless, and willing to evade, stonewall, or even lie when it serves her purpose.
Indeed, Hillary is an accomplished expert on political search-and-destroy missions. "We have to destroy her," Hillary said in 1991 about Gennifer Flowers, her husbands longtime mistress. Flowers was thereafter savaged by a smear campaign that painted her as a tabloid hustler. The Arkansas state troopers who answered questions about the affair were themselves portrayed as sex-obsessed liars. [footnote omitted] Quite a stretch given that part of their job was helping to score women for Governor Clinton and to keep the little woman from finding our what was going on.
Roger Clinton, the presidents irrepressible half brother, was initially puzzled because Hillary was different from the dance-hall types that Bill usually found attractive. He was quick to learn that Hillary is "the kind of person you want working with you and not against you." [footnote omitted] Paula Jones also discovered firsthand that the Clinton smear ream, which also involved Hillary, played nasty when she found herself the target of a campaign portraying her as a practitioner of serial fellatio.
Hillary is a woman determined to gain the power necessary to bring her ideas to fruition. And those ideas, at their core, are old-line leftist notions that most Americans have long abandonedif they ever held them at all.
While many members of Hillarys generation have had second thoughts about their left-wing radicalism, Hillary moved the other way, from a middle-class brand of Republicanism steadily leftward. As I explained in my political biography of Hillary, Hell to Pay, she was shaped by liberation theology, a Marxist variation of the Christian faith, radical feminism, and the outer reaches of the political Left. In 1972, she interned for former Communist Party lawyer Robert Treuhaft, husband of prominent communist writer Jessica Mitford. Both were Stalinists and rigidly pro-Soviet, and as such shunned by the leadership of the New Left and regarded with suspicion even by supporters of the Black Panther movement.
Hillary Clinton has never repudiated her involvement with these extremists or explained her opinion of their beliefs. She hasnt had to. Few journalists seemed motivated to ask the questions. These days, Republicans have to justify their membership in a benign debating group such as the Federalist Society. But Hillary has never had to answer even soft questions about her lengthy flirtation with leftist radicals.
In our political culture, the incantation of "McCarthyism" serves as a kind of permanent restraining order on legitimate inquiries about the political past of people on the Left. Bill Clinton actually got away with calling President George H. W. Bush a McCarthyite when Bush raised questions about Bill Clintons political past. [footnote omitted] For Hillary, any such question is simply characterized by her as confirmation of the vast right-wing conspiracy she sees on every street corner.
So Hillary has been relatively free to operate. My research found Hillary involved, in one form or another, in virtually every White House scandaleven if just masterminding the defense and counterattacks as in the Lewinsky affair. In fact, Hillary was the consistent, stable, and reliable guiding organizational hand for the entire Clinton presidency.
As early as 1992, signs were announcing: "Hillary, Mrs. President. During the following eight years, the long-term question was whether "Mrs. President" would actually someday take the oath of office entitling her under the Constitution actually to hold that title. Many of those who studied her career, as I did, concluded that that was precisely where her ambition was planning to take her as early as the 1992 presidential campaign. The only questions were how she would use her husbands presidency to realize that goal and how he would help her get there. The answer, surprisingly enough, was to come from the State of New York.
Pardons for Terrorists Send a Signal
The venerable Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New Yorks senior senator, a national Democratic icon, was drifting toward his emeritus years. In our political culture, seats long occupied by a member of one political party tend to become regarded as the private property of that party. Hillary Clinton set her sights on the Moynihan Senate seat. Never mind that Hillary grew up in Illinois, attended law school in Connecticut, and had lived for years in Arkansas and in a government home in Washington, D.C. Never mind that she had the same degree of political affiliation with New York as Minnesota governor Jesse Venturathat is to say, none.
The relevant facts as far as Hillary was concerned were that New York was a big and powerful stare which traditionally voted overwhelmingly Democratic; it was a vital international, financial, and media center. And it had an upcoming open Democratic Senate seat in 2000just what Hillary needed and felt that she deserved.
Hillary had done a lot of heavy lifting for her husband, much of it, such as the various bimbo eruptions, that required her to hold her nose. Shed sustained repeated public mortification and personal humiliation. Shed had to cover for her husband and lie. As Bills second term played out, it was sauce for the gander time, time for him to play a supporting role.
His first return on her investment would be curiously predictive of the future. There are more than two million Puerto Ricans in the United States, many in New York. As a group, Puerto Ricans tend to vote Democratic. Puerto Ricos links with the United States date from the Spanish-American War, but Puerto Rico has repeatedly voted to maintain its commonwealth status with the United States, from which its people derive enormous benefits. Duringand afterthe Clinton administration, Puerto Ricans protested U.S. navy bombing on the nearby island of Vieques, but most Puerto Ricans still wanted to maintain their American connections. Most, but not all.
Some want to sever those connections by evolution and ballots. Others prefer to do so by revolution and bulletsand also by bombs. These were the people Bill Clinton chose to help in order to boost his wiles Senate campaign. The evidence that his actions were political was overwhelming and clear from the start.
In August of 1999, Bill Clinton exercised his presidential clemency power in favor of a group of Puerto Rican terrorists euphemistically referred to as "separatists," in the same sense that Timothy McVeigh is a "separatist." The action caught nearly everyone by surprisethere seemed little legitimate reason for his action, and the terrorists had not even formally petitioned to have their sentences commuted.
Most of the Puerto Rican recipients of die presidents unexpected grace were members of the FALN, the Fueuzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacianal (Armed Forces of National Liberation), a Marxist group responsible for a reign of terror that included 130 bombing attacks in the United States from 1974 to 1983. Chicago, New York, and Washington were prime FAIN targets, with attacks against the New York office of the FBI, military recruiting centers, and the Chicago campaign headquarters of Jimmy Carter. All told, the terrorism racked up six deaths and scores of wounded. The victims included the husband of Diana Berger of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, six months pregnant with her first child when her husband fell victim to an FALN bomb, Joseph and Thomas Connor, nine and eleven, lost their father in the same bomb attack Other attacks left police officers maimed and blind.
In one of the cases, U.S. attorney Jeremy D. Margolis urged the maximum sentence because the motive was "purely one of terror." The defendants threatened the lives of federal judge Thomas R. McMillen and other courtroom officials. The judge said he would have imposed the death penalty had the law allowed it. [footnote omitted]
Naturally, these killers had their supporters. A lawyer for the FALN compared them to anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Jose Serrano, a Democratic New York congressman of Puerto Rican background, actually characterized them as political prisoners. Serrano was one of those who signed a December 9, 1994, open letter to President Clinton in the New York Times demanding the release of fifteen Puerto Rican prisoners. But the facts were hard to conceal: Carlos Romero-Barcelo, Puerto Ricos nonvoting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives and a former governor of the island, wrote to Clinton asking the president to keep the FALN members behind bars.
"These are people who acted in cold blood with the purpose of imposing their will," Romero-Barcelo said. "These are the worst times in a democracy. If they said they are sorry for what theyve done, if they accepted their guilt, then maybe my thoughts would be different. But they refuse to say that. How can we responsibly set them free? What if they kill somebody else? What do we say, Too bad?" [footnote omitted]
Prudence, morality, common sense, and custom suggest that executive clemency should be reserved for the repentant and reformed. The FALNs Adolfo Matos made it clear that he and his colleagues were not ashamed of what they had done, saw no need to ask forgiveness, and fully intended to continue their personal war against the United States and innocent bystanders.
The Justice Department, FBI Director Louis Freeh, and the U.S. attorneys offices in Illinois and Connecticut all opposed the release of the FALN terrorists. The Justice Department explicitly made its opposition known in a 1996 recommendation to the White House. This was weighty opposition indeed, on issues related to national security, to which any president would normally have given great deference. The Justice Department, said former U.S. attorney Joseph DiGenova, "strikingly disapproved of [the presidents actions], adamantly disapproved of them, insistently disapproved of them." The FBIs assistant director of national security, Neil Gallagher, said that the people turned loose by Clinton "are criminals, and they are terrorists, and they represent a threat to the United States." [footnote omitted]
But the combined and fierce opposition of law enforcement and national security officials carried no weight at all with the one person who mattered, Bill Clinton, president of the United States. In September of 1999, fourteen of the sixteen FALN members accepted Clintons clemency offer. Eleven of those were released from prison, two had fines wiped out, and one had his sentence reduced to five years.
President Clinton had nor bothered to consult with relatives of the victims of FALN terrorism. In fact, the survivors of those murdered and those whose lives had otherwise been destroyed by the terrorists were not even informed that their attackers were being released. Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, who would be a key factor in the subsequent pardons, conceded that the nation owed much greater consideration to the victims. And Holders boss, Janet Reno, explicitly acknowledged that groups aligned with the FALN still posed a threat to national security.
Indeed, the president himself could easily have been one of their targets. In 1950, Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party attempted to gun down President Harry Truman when he was living in the Blair House across Pennsylvania Avenue while the White House was being repaired. Torresola and a guard were killed in the attack. Collazo was sentenced to death bar Truman, not wanting to create a martyr, commuted the sentence to life.
White House spokesman Jim Kennedy said that President Clinton made his decision to release the FAIN terrorists after careful consideration of all the facts. The White House tried to claim that the late John Cardinal OConnor backed clemency for the FALN terrorists, an assertion subsequently denied by the archbishop of New York.
One fact that Clinton surely had considered was the by-then emerging senatorial campaign of his wife. The lively New York Post quipped that it knew the president had granted the pardon to help his wife because he said he hadnt.
Frank Pastorella, who had been blinded by an FALN bomb, said, "This is really, truly pandering to the Hispanic community." [footnote omitted]
Former U.S. attorney DiGenova remarked, "Let me just say, categorically, the Puerto Rican terrorists were pardoned because they were a political benefit to the presidents wife. Make no mistake about it. There is no justification for those pardons." [footnote omitted]
Hillarys first response to her husbands extraordinary actions was to plead complete innocence. She proclaimed to an incredulous public that she was nor sufficiently familiar with the FALN to offer an opinion on whether clemency should have been granted and claimed no advance knowledge of the presidents intentions. But she indicated that, in retrospect, she supported what her husband had done. Hillary quickly learned how far her instincts had drifted from mainstream American opinion.
Her stance drew fire from police groups and local politicians who were mindful of the Oklahoma City bombing, the attacks on American embassies it Africa, and new threats from the Macheteros, another Puerto Rican terrorist group, over U.S. navy activity on the island of Vieques. Hillary quickly reversed course and stated her opposition to the pardons, trying to recover ground by seeming to be independent from her husband. This was classic Clinton. The Puerto Ricans knew that they had been the beneficiaries of Hillarys political ambitions. But Hillary was able to claim to opponents of the clemency that she not only had not been responsible but that she would have opposed the actions.
The presidents use of his constitutional power to free the FALN terrorists apparently showed him that he could use the pardon power for personal and political ends, ignore the Department of Justice, and get away with it. All he had to do was to say that a pardon had nothing to do with politics, that his actions were based strictly on the facts and merits of the case, and claim that the sentence commutation served the interests of justice. Indeed, in the FALN case the president actually told the American people that the terrorists "were not convicted of crimes involving the killing or maiming of any individual." The audacity of the presidents lie was matched only by the staggering ease with which he got away with it.
In the mind of Bill Clinton, political considerations outweigh even life-and-death matters of great concern to his own law-enforcement officials, not to mention the nation. As many in his own cabinet had repeatedly stated, terrorism, both foreign and domestic, was the nations primary security anxiety. Since the end of the Cold War, Soviet aggression had been replaced by a number of particularly venomous threats, from Timothy McVeigh to Osama Bin Laden.
Margaret Love, a former pardon attorney with the Justice Department, said the number of situations in recent decades in which a pardon was granted without a prior Justice Department investigation and recommendation from the attorney general "could be counted on the fingers of one hand." Love saw in the FALN clemency the presidents willingness to let White House staff usurp the role of the Justice Department.
"The thing that seems to me personally the most significant about those cases, particularly in retrospect," Love said, "was that he [Clinton] did not rely on the Justice Department. He did his own investigation in the White House. That was a foreshadowing of what happened later. I think it was a big mistake not to rely on the Department of Justice." [footnote omitted]
"We should have seen a big red flashing light because of the FALN cases," Love said. [footnote omitted]
The FALN incident was the first time the president used his pardon power to grant clemency to terrorists. He would return to this theme again at the end of his presidency.
Clemency for Communist Bomb Throwers
Susan Rosenberg was a member of the Weather Underground, one of the most violent of the left-wing militias that disrupted the nation from the 1960s through the 1980s. The Weather Underground was part of an interlocking directorate that included the May 19th Communist Organization (May 19 is the birthday of both Ho Chi Minh and Malcolm X), the Black Liberation Army, the Red Guerrilla Resistance, and others, together known as "The Family." One of their objectives was to establish the "Republic of New Afrika" in the American South, a vision that was part of the Communist Party policy that did not view blacks or Jews as genuine Americans.
Rosenberg was born on Manhattans upper west side. Emanuel Rosenberg, her dentist father, was sufficiently wealthy to send her to the Walden School and Barnard College. After college she worked in a drug counseling program run by the Black Panthers and the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican revolutionary gang. (Note the coincidence, not only with young Hillarys work for the Black Panthers and similar groups, but her education at exclusive enclaves like Wellesley and Yale.) Rosenberg received further political education is a member of a youth work brigade in Cuba but did most of her serious political work stateside, where The Family launched a string of robberies and bombings in Bonnie-and-Clyde style.
"I rob banks with black people," said Rosenberg, alias "Elizabeth" and "Barbara Grodin." [footnote omitted]
In October of 1981, Rosenbergs gang held up a Brinks truck in Nanuet, New York, killing guard Peter Paige and two police officers, Edward OGrady and Waverly Brown, the first black officer on the local force. Rosenberg drove the getaway car and managed to escape.
The Family also bombed the United States Capitol. The November 7, 1983, blast ripped through a conference room near the Senate chamber and the offices of then-minority leader Robert C. Byrd. The bombers said in a communiqué that "we purposely aimed our attack at the institutions of imperialist rule rather than at individual members of the ruling class and government. We did not choose to kill any of them this time. But their lives are not sacred." [footnote omitted]
The Familys other targets included the Naval War College at Fort McNair, the Washington Navy Yards computer center and its officers club, the FBI office in Staten Island, New York, the Israeli Aircraft Industries Building in New York, the South African consulate in New York, and the Patrolmens Benevolent Association in New York. Rosenberg was also involved in the escape from prison of Joanne Chesimard, sentenced to life for killing a New Jersey trooper. In 1984, police caught Rosenberg at a warehouse in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where she was unloading 640 pounds of explosiveswhat she called "combat materiel." That amount of explosive is literally a weapon of mass destruction, enough to create a holocaust of Oklahoma City proportions. She also possessed fourteen firearms, including an Uzi submachine gun, and fake identification.
During her trial, Rosenberg wore a shirt reading "Support New African Freedom Fighters," and "What Is a Nation Without an Army?" She claimed she was not a criminal but a revolutionary guerilla and repeatedly harangued the court about Central America and the Middle East. She was sentenced to fifty-eight years, the maximum. In light of that sentence, prosecutors decided not to pursue murder charges stemming from the Brinks attack.
Following her sentencing she proclaimed, "Long live armed struggle. By taking up armed action to attack South Africa, the United States military, the war profiteers, and the police, we begin to enact proletarian internationalism." She continued to sign her letters "Venceremos." Legal appeals for reduction of her sentence were rejected.
Rosenberg became a celebrity of the far Left, with prominent leftists such as Noam Chomsky and William Kunstler lobbying for her release. When she became eligible for parole, Clintons appointee as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mary Jo White, warned the parole board that the damage Rosenberg had caused outweighed any ambiguously phrased change of heart about violence. But Rosenberg managed to get the usual favorable leftist publicity, including what amounted to a puff piece on 60 Minutes and support from Jerrold Nadler, a New York congressman and ardent Clinton defender. Rosenberg petitioned for clemency. She finally got it, from Bill Clinton, on his last day in office.
The outgoing president went the second mile and also commuted the sentence of Rosenbergs comrade Linda Sue Evans. She had been convicted in the plot to bomb the United States Capitol in 1983. Evans also served a five-year sentence for two other federal convictions.
Those outraged by the presidents commutations included Charles Schumer, senator from New York and a gun-control advocate, and New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who had prosecuted the Brinks attack as an assistant U.S. attorney. Relatives of the victims were also outraged but lacked any recourse. The Weather comrades, including the more famous Bernadine Dohrn and Kathy Boudin, were already the beneficiaries of an ongoing campaign of historical revisionism that painted them as, at worst, misguided idealists. Now they were enjoying freedom, courtesy of President Clinton.
Clintons actions left many wondering just what merits he had seen in these last terrorist pardons. The answer perhaps lies in the degree to which Bill Clinton was shaped by the events of the l960s. His first political crisis, in fact, was how to avoid the draft, to avoid service in Vietnam. More than thirty years later, as his second term wound down, Bill Clinton would finally make it to Vietnam.
I was a little disappointed in the book for what it didn't cover. Mostly it's about The SCUMBAG's pardons and how The Hildebeaste benefited. But there's nothing about Furnituregate, the supposed stripping of the Air Force plane, the vandalism of the White House, etc.
It's like the book ends and you're saying, "But what about all the other stuff?"
A great book and very readable. I highly recommend it.
Well put, Packer boy. I am with you a 100%. Thank you for the post.
How people in the media were able to stomach their corruption, and criminal and unethical conduct and then go to defend them constantly made me even more disgusted. That Monica Mess (Not just the blue dress !) and the propaganda, lying and perjury brought the presidency to its lowest point in history.
May Bubbaa and Hildabeast rot forever in their own private hells as co-presidents of the 'Most Corrupt Administration in History.'
Yes, Hillary is one sad socialist. And, to boot, she and her cheating husband are no longer relevant.
I will be buying Barbara Olsen's book this week. I have been putting it off because it has been such a pleasure NOT to think about the Clintons this year and I know that once I start reading that book my blood pressure will rise to the level that it was during the 8 years of the Clinton takeover. But, read it I must!
I had the same problem. I could read about 5-10 pages max. and that was it for a few days. But it's a fantastic book.
Hillary Clinton is one of the biggest dangers to our Republic in the world, and if she is not exposed for the absolute Socialist tyrant she is, she will be on the ticket for the Democrats in 2004.
This woman should be indicted, but since that appears unlikely, we need to make sure she is never elected to another office again. The only way to do this is to bypass the regular media, and make sure the public sees the truth about her.
May I suggest Barbara's book as Christmas gifts to friends, family, and co workers? You can buy used copies on Amazon cheaper than the published price.
It's very good, but if you are a "Packer fan", you must repent:)
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