As Congress warms up the hot seat for Ms. Reno, I thought a quick look at her political past might serve to illustrate the kind of person she really is, and by extension, the kind of Person Bill Clinton likes to keep around.
Janet Reno first came to national prominence during her 1984 campaign to be re-elected Prosecutor of Dade County, Florida. This was at the height of the "Satanic Ritual Abuse" craze that swept the nation, generating tons of daytime TV talk show guests, lots of book sales and speaking tours, but according to the FBI's special SRA task force, not a single allegation that didn't turn out to be a hoax by some attention seeking people.
Despite the dismal reality of the Satanic Ritual Abuse issue, a popular cause is a popular cause and Janet used it well.
Following the McMartin case in Los Angeles, a Miami day care center operated by Frank and Ileana Fuster came under suspicion. That there was no actual evidence of any wrongdoing did not prove a major impediment to Janet Reno. Ileana, a young Honduren woman, was separated from her husband. What followed is probably best described as outright brainwashing. Indeed, the two psychiatrists hired by Janet Reno operated under the trade name, "Behavior Changers", and eventually sat with her in the court, coaching her statements in front of the judge, while Janet Reno held her hand! Among the other claims that Ileana made under such prodding was that her husband had put snakes inside her genitals while the children watched.
Frank was convicted and sent to jail. Janet, riding high on the publicity of the trial won her re-election. Ileana returned to Honduras and from there issued a 61 page statement describing her year of solitary confinement and coercion by "Behavior Changers".
In 1989, Reno again used psychological manipulations to extort a confession from a 14 year old boy. Bobby Fijnje was accused of sadistically assaulting other children by the same group of people who had accused Frank and Ileana Fuster. Bobby was a diabetic, and Reno had him held in jail without food, which put him into insulin shock. When Bobby finally confessed, he was fed. When he came out of the insulin shock, he recanted. He was then starved again triggering another insulin shock episode. While this was going on, Janet Reno refused to allow Bobby's parents to see him, claiming that they were Satanist Pornographers, and likely to try to prevent the boy from confessing his crime. Bobby spent an entire year in prison, isolated from his parents, then was acquitted.
It is a shocking indictment that in the haste to confirm the first woman Attorney General, neither of these two events were ever brought up during her confirmation hearings.
It is shocking because no sooner had Janet Reno taken over the control of the Department of Justice than she resorted to her old behavior patterns. Seizing on unfounded rumors that the children in the Waco compound were being abused, Reno ordered in the tanks and the gassing of those same children with CS gas, a gas that's illegal to use on enemy troops. The autopsy on the remains of the bodies showed no sign of smoke inhalation in their lungs, proof that the intense concentrations of gas had been the cause of death.
During the hearings into the largest Federal armed entry ever conducted against as American home, Janet Reno again fell back on her old tactics, producing a single witness named Kiri Jewell who poured forth with unsubstantiated claims of Koresch as sexual deviate. Less than two weeks following the hearings, it became publicly known that Jewell had not been at the Waco compound during the time she claimed the molestations took place, but had been with her father in California, the result of a successful ploy by the father to use allegations of sexual abuse to gain custody of Kiri from her Branch Davidian mother.
Despite the discrediting of Kiri's testimony, her statements became the mandatory screenplay for several movies about Waco, all designed to demonize Koresch and his followers and to justify the gassing of the compound.
As David Kopel of the Denver Independence Institute noted, "Not since the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 had so many Americans been killed as a result of a conflict with the Federal Government. And the initial government response indicated almost equivalent lack of remorse."
In yet another example, Janet Reno is still pursuing the "LA 8" case, the forced deportation of 7 Palestinian men and 1 Palestinian woman, even though former FBI Director William Sessions told the Congress that the eight had "not been found to engage themselves in terrorist activity". But as the case of Bobby Fijnje showed, innocence is simply not a factor in Ms. Reno's decisions. Ms. Reno still persists in trying to deport the 8 Palestinians, despite a stern rebuff from the 9th Circuit Court.
Janet Reno and Bill Clinton share a lot in common. Janet backed Bill Clinton in the Comprehensive Anti-Terrorist Act and in refusing to alter the penalty imbalance between crack cocaine and powder cocaine, a disparity that tends to imprison blacks far longer than whites for the same amount of the drug.
Perhaps the most telling sign of Janet Reno's value system can be found in the words on a plaque in her office at the Department Of Justice.
"All furniture in this office was built by Federal Prison inmates."
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