New York Post
September 21, 1999

GOP Rips Feds in FALN Probe

                  By MARILYN RAUBER

                 WASHINGTON - House GOP investigators
                 yesterday accused the Justice Department of
                 trying to gag an FBI official set to testify today
                 about President Clinton's clemency for FALN

                 House Government Reform Committee staff
                 director Kevin Binger said Justice pulled the plug
                 on the official's written testimony just before it was
                 to be submitted in advance to the panel.

                 It was unclear why the text was pulled, or if the
                 Justice Department will allow FBI terrorism
                 assistant director Neil Gallagher to address that
                 testimony when he appears today.

                 Last week, Justice nixed Gallagher's appearance
                 before a Senate hearing on Clinton's controversial
                 decision to offer clemency to 16 members of the
                 FALN terrorist group.

                 Justice spokeswoman Gina Talamona denied the
                 department was trying to gag anyone.

                 "You just want to make sure it's accurate
                 testimony," she said.

                 Gallagher, along with a top aide to Attorney
                 General Janet Reno and a Bureau of Prisons
                 official, have been subpoenaed to appear before
                 the panel today.

                 "They're all going to be there," said Talamona.

                 The GOP-led panel plans to grill them on the
                 behavior of the FALN inmates while in prison,
                 and any threat they pose now, including reports of
                 secret federal prison tapes on which some of the
                 prisoners reportedly discuss returning to violence
                 once they are free.

                 But the White House has claimed executive
                 privilege on any information about Clinton's
                 decision-making. Talamona said the trio will be
                 "testifying about matters that aren't covered" by
                 the executive-privilege claim.

                 The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to
                 subpoena top Justice Department officials this
                 week, perhaps including Reno.

                 Meanwhile, one of the freed inmates - once
                 videotaped by the FBI making bombs - is vowing
                 to keep fighting for Puerto Rican independence,
                 but in "the most humane way" possible.

                 Alejandra Torres, 60, who served 17 years of a
                 35-year jail term for seditious conspiracy and
                 explosives violations, told a Chicago church
                 congregation on Sunday that her "journey has
                 been a long and painful one."

                 The FALN was tied to 130 bombings in the
                 mid-1970s and 1980s, and an FBI videotape
                 released last week shows Torres and fellow
                 FALN member Edwin Cortes making letter
                 bombs back then.