Joseph Connor, an author and anti-terrorism advocate, spoke to The Daily Wire about how his father was murdered by a Puerto Rican terrorist group, and how former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was directly involved in pardoning them.
On January 24, 1975, Connor and his family were eagerly awaiting for his father, Frank Connor, to arrive home from work to celebrate Joseph Connor's ninth birthday and his brother's 11th birthday. Connor's mother had prepared a special meal for the evening for the family to celebrate. Sadly, his father never came home, as a bomb detonated at Fraunces Tavern in New York, where he was meeting a client for lunch, and stole his life from the Connor family.
"I remember my dad always being there for us, taking us to Met games, playing with us, playing basketball with us, playing..kicking around a soccer ball, doing, you know, just always being there," Connor told The Daily Wire. "He was a young guy, he was only 33. And he loved us, and he gave us a great childhood until that day."
The bomb was planted by the Puerto Rican Armed Forces for National Liberation (FALN) terrorist organization, which was responsible for 138 bombings between 1974 and 1983.
"Their stated purpose was to free Puerto Rico from U.S. imperialism, but of course that wasn't true," Connor said. "They were a Marxist group, and they were really looking to enslave Puerto Rican people under another Cuba-type Marxist country."
In fact, the FALN were trained by Cuban intelligence and were deadly at their craft–the FBI didn't know about them for years.
The FALN had targeted the Fraunces Tavern because it is a historic landmark where George Washington gave a farewell to his Revolutionary War officers and was also a hangout for Sons of the American Revolution. It is still a place where people on Wall Street hang out.
"Not only could they attack the seeds of the American Revolution, but also the reactionary corporate executives they so wanted to kill," Connor said.
The FALN were truly ruthless and vicious, as Ron Kolb in RealClearPolitics highlights their courtroom behavior when they were eventually sentenced for their bombings:
FALN member Carmen Valentine taunted the judge: "You are lucky we that we cannot take you right now". She then called the judge a terrorist, and said that her shackles kept her from killing him.
FALN member Dylcia Pagan addressed the court: "All of you, I would advise you to watch your backs". FALN member Ricardo Jimenez told the Judge, "You can give me the death penalty, you can kill me now."
"You say we have no remorse. You're right," FALN member Ida Rodriguez told the judge. "Your jails and your long sentences will not frighten us."
Judge McMillen agreed that the defendants showed no remorse. "I'm convinced you're going to continue (terrorism) as long as you live. If there was a death penalty, I'd impose the penalty on you without hesitation."
The terrorists were never tried for the Fraunces Tavern bombing, but that was only because the FBI didn't want to charge them in New York when they were already sentenced for life for their bombings in Chicago. Only William Morales, the FALN's chief bombmaker, escaped the law by fleeing to Cuba and living as a guest under the Castro regime. Connor thought that he and his family would never have to deal with the FALN again.
But that all changed when the Clintons put politics above justice in 1999.
"When Hillary Clinton was looking to run for senator of New York, she had no connection to New York at all. She was from Chicago to Arkansas," Connor said. "And she got approached by various pro-terrorist politicians."
These included Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), and New York city councilman Jose Rivera, who according to Kolb, gave Clinton "a packet on clemency" and requested that she "speak to the president and ask him to consider executive clemency" for the FALN. A couple of weeks later, clemency was granted to the terrorists and Clinton's Senate campaign expressed support for the move so long as the terrorists renounced violence.
"She was up to her ears in this," Connor said.
The terrorists didn't immediately accept the clemencies because they were hesitant to renounce violence, and then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder allowed the terrorists to have conference calls with each other–which isn't typically done in clemency cases–and ignored input from the FBI and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Three weeks into the terrorists' refusal to renounce violence, Clinton flipped and opposed her husband's decision to grant clemency due to the public backlash against it, only to flip yet again in favor of the clemencies when 14 out of the 16 terrorists agreed to renounce violence.
"It's so typical," Connor said. "The political winds shifted whichever way, and she went with it."
Congress attempted to investigate the pardons further, but the president claimed executive privilege, effectively stonewalling the investigation.
There is a growing movement for a second clemency to be granted to Oscar López Rivera, who is one of the FALN founders and didn't accept clemency because clemency wasn't offered to one of the terrorists in prison.
Connor attended López Rivera's parole hearing and was hoping to hear a contrite, sincere apology from López Rivera about his role in the bombings and his father's murder. Instead, all López Rivera gave was "lies" and "obfuscations" and refused to acknowledge the evil acts of violence he committed.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has called for President Barack Obama to pardon López Rivera because he is "a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded a Bronze Star" and has served in prison longer than Nelson Mandela, conveniently ignoring López Rivera's involvement in terror attacks after Vietnam.
It particularly irks Connor when López Rivera's sympathizers clamor for his release just because he hasn't been able to watch his children and grandchildren grow up.
"I didn't get to spend time with my father. My father didn't get to meet his grandkids, and whose fault is that?" Connor said.
Connor hopes to see Clinton grilled at some point in the campaign on if she'll grant a second clemency to López Rivera, given her role in the FALN's clemencies in 1999. He would love to see those clemencies become a campaign issue, because the most important thing is justice, which to him would involve not only bringing Morales and cop-killer Assata Shakur, originally known as Joanne Chesimard, back to the U.S. to serve out their sentences, but also an acknowledgement from the Clintons and Holder that granting clemency to the terrorists that murdered his father was wrong and done for political purposes.
But in all likelihood, Clinton will simply say in response, "What difference does it make?"
"They let these guys go and all for politics, and it hurts," Connor said.