The Los Angeles Times
September 2, 1999
Clemency Offer Draws House Panel Inquiry

              From Associated Press

                      WASHINGTON--A House committee subpoenaed all
                      administration records Wednesday related to President
                      Clinton's decision to offer clemency to 16 Puerto Rican militants.
                      Subpoenas issued by Rep. Dan Burton's Committee on
                      Government Reform and Oversight, which were obtained by the
                      Associated Press, seek records from the White House, the Justice
                      Department and the Bureau of Prisons.
                      Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
                      also requested information from the Justice Department in
                      anticipation of expected congressional hearings on the matter.
                      In a letter to Atty. Gen. Janet Reno, Hatch (R-Utah) said he was
                      troubled by published reports indicating the Justice Department had
                      not made a formal recommendation to the White House on
                      clemency, despite law enforcement officials' vigorous objections.
                      He also said he was bothered by reports that there were Bureau of
                      Prison recordings of the inmates in which they plotted to use
                      violence again.
                      "I would hope that, on a matter of such importance, the Department
                      of Justice--and the attorney general in particular--would make its
                      views known to the White House," Hatch wrote.
                      The Bureau of Prisons has declined to confirm or deny existence of
                      the audiotapes, but a spokesman did say that inmates' social calls
                      are monitored routinely by officials.
                      Clinton announced last month that he would commute the sentences
                      of the 16 Puerto Rican nationalists if they disavowed the use of
                      Most of the 16 are members of the FALN--the Spanish initials for
                      Armed Forces of National Liberation--which carried out about 130
                      bomb attacks on political and military targets in the United States
                      from 1974 to 1983. The attacks killed six people.
                      Human rights officials argued that the sentences, ranging from 15
                      years to 90 years in prison, were too harsh because none of the 16
                      was convicted of involvement in any deaths.

                      Copyright 1999 Los Angeles Times.