Politics
Puerto Rican protesters petition the Obama White House in 2011 for the release of FALN terrorist leader Oscar Lopez Rivera (photo: Hostosian National Independence Movement) Puerto Rican protesters petition the Obama White House in 2011 for the release of FALN terrorist leader Oscar Lopez Rivera (photo: Hostosian National Independence Movement)  

Activist worries Obama will pardon Marxist terror leader responsible for father’s murder

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Whether or not Barack Obama wins re-election in November, Joe Connor is afraid the president may release his father’s killer from prison.

Puerto Rican separatist leader Oscar Lopez Rivera’s group, the Armed Forces of  Puerto Rican National Liberation (FALN), killed Joe’s dad Frank Connor 37 years ago during a deadly bombing spree that stretched from the 1970s to the early ’80s. The terrorist group bombed New York City’s historic Fraunces Tavern on Jan. 25, 1975, killing 33-year-old Frank Connor.

Connor, the co-author of “The New Founders: What Would George Washington Think of The United States of America if He Were Alive Today?” told The Daily Caller he suspects Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder will try to release Lopez Rivera from prison long before his 70-year sentence is up. He has heard form “some FBI agents,” he said, that Obama had a relationship with the convict’s brother, Chicago-based community organizer José Lopez.

Holder, he added, “was the mastermind behind the release of the 16 back in 1999,” when President Bill Clinton commuted the sentence of 16 FALN convicts. Both houses of Congress issues stinging resolutions condemning the action. The House vote was 311-41, and the Senate vote was 95-2.

When attorney general nominee Holder faced a 2009 confirmation fight in Congress, the Los Angeles Times reported that he had “instructed his staff at Justice’s Office of the Pardon Attorney to effectively replace the department’s original report recommending against any commutations, which had been sent to the White House in 1996, with one that favored clemency for at least half the prisoners.”

Ultimately, 14 of the 16 offered clemency accepted the offer. One of the two who didn’t was Lopez Rivera. The other was already on his way to parole.

Lopez Rivera’s sister Zenaida Lopez said at the time that her brother rejected Clinton’s clemency offer because he thought he would be in “prison outside prison.”

Connor believes Obama will release him on his last day in office if Romney wins next month’s election. He points to blog posts detailing a recent upswing in liberals’ push for Obama to release the FALN leader, including one from a pardon expert noting that “a month of ‘activities’ are scheduled ‘around the country’ to build support for a presidential pardon.”

Neither DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler nor would White House spokesman Eric Schultz would comment on Connor’s suspicion.

The Times reported that Holder drafted an “options memo”  in 1999 that allowed Clinton to commute the FALN terrorists’ sentences when several high-ranking  Justice officials opposed granting them clemency. That memo provided the president with an option to free the prisoners without appearing to be in conflict with his own justice department.