Shortly after Clinton granted the terrorists clemency, then-House oversight committee Chairman Dan Burton, who remains a member of the committee, launched an investigation. Holder’s “options memo” was never made public, and Clinton asserted executive privilege over the memo and much of the related materials.
Clinton dropped that claim of privilege when he left office. Yet Holder testified in his 2009 confirmation hearing that it was protected. That seeming contradiction has led some, including Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, to suggest that President Obama re-asserted privilege over the memo at the beginning of his administration.
Obama has said his first claim of executive privilege came in 2012 and concerned documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious.
Connor told The Daily Caller that Lopez Rivera’s rejection of Clinton’s clemency offer never made sense until 2011.
“I mean, he turned down the clemency offer from Clinton in 1999, and he always turned down his parole hearings,” Connor said in a phone interview. “Oscar Lopez was the FALN leader and he turned it down — we didn’t know why he turned it down. We assumed he turned it down because he didn’t repent and he never thought the U.S. had jurisdiction over him.”
But he did appear for a January 2011 parole hearing. Connor was there too. He said he finally got his answer during that hearing.
“Oscar said he turned it down because not all the FALN members had been released,” Connor explained.
“Carlos Torres had not been granted clemency by Clinton and Oscar stayed in prison because not all his comrades had been released. It was the classic ‘captain going down with the ship’ and he was proud of it. You can see it in his eyes.”
“Torres was released in summer of 2010 and we didn’t even know about it,” Connor continued. “They tried to use that in 2011 when we went to Lopez’s parole hearing — they tried to use Torres’ release as the precedent for Oscar’s but the fact is we didn’t know about Torres’ release. If we had, we would have gone to the prison out there and told the same story about what Torres is, and how unrepentant he is, and maybe he wouldn’t have been released had the whole story been told.”
“What was shocking to the terrorist supporters was that we knew about this parole hearing and we made our way out to the middle of the country in the dead of winter and sat across from this terrorist in a room in the prison,” Connor added about Lopez’s hearing. “They didn’t expect that.”
Meanwhile, he said, Lopez Rivera “has got a long time left” on his sentence and will not be eligible again for parole until 2021. “This guy was sentenced to long prison terms because he deserved it. The judge at their trial — they were all tried together — the judge said to some of them that if he could have, he would have sentenced them to death.”
Even though the has not pursued opportunities to legally leave custody until all his comrades were released from prison, Connor said he’s tried to escape illegally on two occasions.
“He tried to escape from prison twice,” Connor said. “There were two escape plans. Because of one of them, he was sentenced to an additional fifteen years in prison. One of the plans involved frontal assault on the guards with machine guns from other FALN members who were still out. One involved a helicopter.”
“I mean, this guy was serious.”