Like the current administration’s untruthful response to the Benghazi attack, the reasons for these Clinton-era clemencies were purely political and an obvious attempt to further Hillary Clinton’s political career. In 1999, Hillary was planning for her 2000 U.S. Senate run. Offering clemency to these individuals was designed to help her gain footing with New York’s Puerto Rican population of 3.5 million people.
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 and a firestorm erupted. The terrorists were allowed an astonishing 30 days to consider their release, as the FBI, Bureau of Prisons, and various law enforcement organizations condemned the offers. Forgotten victims and families like mine publicly demanded answers from the Clintons. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution of condemnation by a 95 -2 vote as media outlets hammered the administration.
Many of the same political figures you are hearing about in the scandals of today were involved back then; Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, who, in 1999, wrote to congressional investigators to inform them that President Clinton would be asserting executive privilege in the inquiry into the FALN. Because of this executive privilege claim, none of the Justice Department or FBI officials testified at the congressional hearing at which we warned that releasing these terrorists would set a horrible precedent.
The questions from 1999 and 2013 are eerily similar: why did the executive branch obfuscate and refuse to explain the truth to the American people? In 1999, why did they misrepresent the facts regarding convicted terrorists whose organization killed five innocent Americans and maimed scores of others? In 2013, why did the administration misrepresent facts regarding terrorists who attacked an American consulate and killed four heroes?
It’s time America understands who Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, and Cheryl Mills really are: ruthless, unscrupulous political opportunists. 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.” I regrettably expect the families of the Benghazi victims are feeling a similar pain now.