As you may recall, Barack Obama in the infamous ABC debate last week, responded to probing of his Bill Ayers connection by mentioning that Hillary Clinton's husband had pardoned two former Ayers-related radicals also associated with the Weathermen. It got new attention today from Newsday but I have a connection myself: The murders linked to the two pardoned prisoners took place about a mile from my home near Nyack, N.Y.
Every few days I drive past the spot, which holds a marker in tribute to the two law enforcement officers -- Waverly Brown and Edward O'Grady -- who died in 1981 in what is known here as "The Brinks Crime" or "Brinks Murders." And believe me, the Clinton clemency is still a tremendously sensitive subject in this part of the state, and among all police and other law officers, peaking in the years 2000 and 2001, but still hot today whenever it is mentioned. The Nyack post office is named after the officers killed that day.
So it is preposterous for Clinton to claim that she had never really heard about the case -- if you recall, she was running for senator from New York in 2000.
In an interview yesterday, Hillary Clinton told Inside Edition that she "didn't know anything about" the 2001 clemency case.
"If it's true," Newsday observes, "it means that she got the worst briefings in the world when she was running for Senate in 2000 and the clemency issue was hot in Rockland County, and it means that Chuck Schumer didn't even bother to mention the issue to his fellow NY senator-elect/ First Lady after promising the widows of two dead cops to fight against one of the clemencies."
Here's the chronology laid out by Newsday:
On October 19, 2000, as Hillary was hunting for Senate votes throughout New York, Rockland County's biggest paper, the Journal News, ran a front page story reporting that imprisoned radical Susan Rosenberg -- linked to the 1981 Weather Underground Brinks robbery that left two Nyack cops dead -- was seeking clemency from Bill Clinton.
The next day, the widows and fellow state and local police attended a memorial service for the two dead cops at the site of the killings. Also in attendance: Sen. Chuck Schumer, who in that fall was frequently campaigning with Hillary. According to another front page story, on Oct. 21, he made a pledge to the widows to fight the clemency: "I intend to take our opposition as high as I can in government."
On December 16, 2000, after Hillary became New York's Senator-elect, the paper did another Page 1 story about an upcoming 60 Minutes episode on Rosenberg's clemency application. It included a quote from one of her new constituents, Diane O'Grady, wife of one of the dead cops: "This is a woman who has taken lives." On December 17, 2000, the 60 Minutes piece on Rosenberg's case and clemency request ran.
So, Clinton -- in her effort to avoid being connected in any way to the case -- now says she knew nothing about it. Nobody briefed her, either while she was running or after she was elected, on an emotional hot-button issue that intersected her husband with her constituents....
We asked Schumer spokesman Josh Vlasto whether his boss ever spoke to Hillary: "Chuck was the leading advocate against the pardons. He made his arguments to the Justice Department....He talked to the people who could effectuate the decision." We asked for a more direct and responsive answer on whether he ever mentioned it to Hillary, and couldn't get one. In her assiduous efforts to have nothing to do with the Rosenberg case, Clinton's spokesman has previously said she had no opinion about it except to think that a presidential pardon is a presidential pardon.
Here is the Newsday link.
Greg Mitchell's new book is So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits -- and the President -- Failed on Iraq. It has been hailed by Glenn Greenwald, Bill Moyers, Arianna Huffington and others.