Clinton: I'll decide on Peltier
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NOVEMBER 9, 2000

On Tuesday, President Bill Clinton told listeners of the Pacifica Radio program Democracy Now that he will decide if imprisoned activist Leonard Peltier should receive clemency before he leaves office.

Clinton called the radio program on Election Day to urge listeners to vote for the Democratic ticket of Vice President Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. Among various issues, he was asked if he would consider Peltier's clemency application.

"I know it is very important to a lot of people, maybe on both sides of the issue, and I think I owe it to them to give it an honest look see," said Clinton. "I'll decide, one way or the other."

In failing health, Peltier has spent almost 25 years in prison for the 1976 murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He was up for parole this past June, but was denied.

So in recent months, the campaign to seek clemency for Peltier has gained momentum. Some feel the election of Texas Governor George W. Bush to office will hurt those chances and have instead hoped Clinton would consider Peltier's application before the inauguration.

Among many who have urged Clinton to make a decision soon is Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo). In July, the month of the 25th anniversary of the shootout at Pine Ridge, he wrote Clinton, noting that Peltier's first application for clemency was filed seven years ago.

Still, there is plenty of opposition to Peltier's release. Most comes from the law enforcement community and includes FBI Director Louis Freeh.

"The FBI cannot forget this cold blooded crime, nor should the American people," said Freeh on the anniversary of the shootout.

The rest of the Clinton interview was terse and direct. At one point, he criticized one of the show's hosts questions as "hostile."

Read Clinton's Remarks:
Text of Clinton's remaks on Peltier (The Talking Circle 11/9)

Listen to the Program:
Democracy Now! Interview with President Bill Clinton (Pacifica News 11/8)

Related Stories:
In Television: Peltier subject of documentary (Arts and Entertainment 10/16)
FBI recalls Oglala shootout (The Talking Circle 06/26)
FBI: 'Brutal slaying' at Oglala (The Talking Circle 06/26)
Group seeks Peltier clemency (The Talking Circle 05/17)
FBI Promises to Prevent Peltier Pardon (The Talking Circle 04/21)
Peltier supporters respond (The Talking Circle 04/21)

Relevant Links:
Pacifica Radio -
Free Leonard Peltier -
The Leonard Peltier File, FBI -
The No Parole Peltier Association -