Peltier foe announces resignation from FBI
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MAY 2, 2001

Louis J. Freeh, one of imprisoned activist Leonard Peltier's biggest foes, on Tuesday announced he will his job as Director of the FBI in June.

Freeh, 51, gave no reason for his departure. Appointed to a ten-year term by President Clinton in 1993, he was asked by the Bush administration to finish his tenure.

In a written statement, Freeh twice thanked his wife, Marilyn, and his six sons for their support. His sons range in age from 3 to 16.

He also stated he has made not engaged in any negotiations to find private employment nor has he asked others to do so for him during his time at the FBI.

Freeh has been of the most outspoken critics of Peltier. He became an agent in 1975, the same year of shootout on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota that left Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams dead.

Peltier was one of three American Indian Movement members prosecuted for the crime. The Ojibwe / Sioux man was the only one convicted and in 1976, he began serving two life sentences in federal prison.

He remains there today, in poor health and, as of January, in dejected spirits upon learning President Clinton declined to grant him clemency. A little over a week after the end of Clinton's term, Peltier lashed out at the former Arkansas Governor, accusing him of pardoning those who contributed heavily to himself, his wife, and Democratic interests.

"We can see who was granted clemency and why," said Peltier from his Leavenworth, Kansas, jail cell. "The big donors to the President's campaign were able to buy justice, something we just couldn't afford."

"Meanwhile, many political prisoners continue to languish unjustly, proof that this nation's talk about reconciliation is nothing but empty rhetoric," he continued.

With Freeh out of the picture, FBI opposition to Peltier isn't likely to end. In an unprecedented showing, a couple hundred agents in December marched to the White House, hoping to send a message to Clinton against Peltier.

Freeh's sway with Clinton, however, was often questioned. The two engaged in a number of battles, from Peltier to an independent investigation over the Whitewater real estate scandal. Clinton was said to discount Freeh's opposition to Peltier, instead relying on South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow and Senator Tim Daschle (D-S.D.).

Speculation on replacements for Freeh include Oklahoma Governor Frank A. Keating. Former Montana Governor Marc Racicot has also been suggested; he is currently of counsel at a Washington, DC, law firm.

President Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Senator Patrick Leahy (Vt.), ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee who collaborated with Freeh to publish his anti-Peltier letters, praised Freeh's work at the Bureau.

Statements on Resignation:
Statement of Louis J Freeh (FBI 5/1)
Statement of President Bush (The White House 5/1)
Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (5/1)
Statement of Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (5/1)

Relevant Links:
Free Leonard Peltier -
The Leonard Peltier File, FBI -
The Peltier Trial Transcripts -
The No Parole Peltier Association -

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