The New York Post
August 26, 1999

                 The Clinton White House, which piously insists
                 that the president's clemency offer to 16 terrorists
                 advocating Puerto Rican independence is in no
                 way connected to the first lady's political hopes,
                 has lashed out at Mayor Giuliani's altogether
                 justified criticism of this barbaric business.

                 The mayor said that those being released from
                 prison have thus far refused to accept the
                 president's insistence that they renounce violence,
                 and thus do not deserve clemency. Presidential
                 spokesman Joe Lockhart says Giuliani should
                 have waited for the imprisoned terrorists' formal
                 response to the clemency offer, saying that "there
                 is a process here that is ongoing."

                 That's arrant, offensive nonsense. Pardoning
                 terrorists is a bad idea to begin with, but if you're
                 going to do it, the renunciation of violence must be
                 part of any deal. What Clinton has done is to first
                 promise clemency and only then start negotiating
                 the terms.

                 Which means that the president can't back down
                 without causing his wife political damage. The
                 FALN terrorists and theirsupporters, including
                 such short-sighted members of Congress as Jose
                 Serrano and Nydia Velazquez, realize this all too
                 clearly - which is why they're demanding an
                 "unconditional pardon" for these "political

                 Mrs. Clinton's Senate hopes are based in part on
                 the notion that she needs a large minority turnout.
                 Hence the all-too-plausible speculation that the
                 clemency offer has been made to encourage
                 Puerto Rican support for the first lady.

                 So now Clinton is the one who's under pressure
                 to back down and make his clemency offer
                 unconditional. Considering the president's political
                 debt to his stand-by-me wife, it's by no means out
                 of the question.

                 The president says he thinks the FALN terrorists
                 should be freed because, having served 20 years
                 in prison, they've been sufficiently punished. But
                 as Richard Pastorella - who was blinded and
                 permanently maimed by the FALN - notes,
                 "We're the ones with life sentences."

                 Is there no issue these Clintons will not play cheap
                 political games with?