Pardon Parade: Anti-American Spies and Terrorists

There is so much outrage over President Obama’s commutation of the 35-year espionage sentence imposed on treasonous American soldier Bradley Manning (aka “Chelsea”), that his commutation last night of unrepentant terrorist Oscar Lopez-Rivera is just beginning to attract attention.

Lopez-Rivera is a FALN leader who was serving a combined 70 years in prison sentences for the Puerto Rican communist organization’s terrorist war against the United States and his multiple attempts to escape from custody.

The FALN carried out 130 attacks in the United States. Beyond the damage done, they resulted in six murders, including a lunch-hour bombing at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan in January 1975, as recounted by Joe Connor, whose father was one of four men killed in the attack.

As Joe related in a Townhall column last year:

Before his arrest in May 1981, Lopez had been personally involved in numerous bombing and incendiary attacks, was a prime recruiter for members of the FALN, and was a key trainer in bombing, sabotage and other techniques of guerrilla warfare. A cooperating witness testified at his trial that Lopez taught him how to make bomb detonation devices and gun silencers. After Lopez’s capture, in his residence the FBI found a large quantity of dynamite and blasting caps.

Lopez was convicted of numerous violent felonies, including possession of an unregistered firearm, conspiracy to transport explosives with the intent to kill and injure people and to destroy government buildings and property, and aiding and abetting travel in interstate commerce to carry out arson.

And imprisonment was not the end to Lopez’s criminal activity. While in Leavenworth Penitentiary, he masterminded two plots to break out of prison, the second of which involved forcing a helicopter pilot to land in the prison yard, with grenades, rifle fire, and explosives to be used to deter guards from taking action to prevent the escape.

Lopez further instructed his compatriots to murder the seller of the weapons and equipment if he didn’t give them a fair price.

Naturally, Lopez-Rivera, like the FALN in general, became a cause célèbre on the left.

As Ronald Kolb explains at National Review, then-deputy attorney general Eric Holder helped President Bill Clinton engineer pardons/commutations for several of the terrorists in 1999 in hope of bolstering Hillary Clinton’s bid for a Senate seat in New York, which has a large Puerto Rican population. Lopez-Rivera did not get the pardon back then -- not that Clinton didn’t try. He alone refused to sign a statement expressing remorse for his atrocities; plus, Lopez-Rivera balked at the suggestion that, even if given a pass on the remainder of his 55-year terrorism sentence, he should serve out more of his 15-year attempted escape sentence (for a plot which, of course, had contemplated murdering federal prison guards).