[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/15/art.holder.gi.jpg caption="Holder is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General designate Eric Holder said during his confirmation hearing Thursday that President Clinton's 1999 decision to grant clemency to 16 convicted FALN Puerto Rican prisoners who had committed acts of violence "was reasonable."
Holder noted that there were "a lot of people in support of that clemency request," including Nobel Peace Prize laureates Jimmy Carter and Coretta Scott King.
The prisoners were "bad people," said Holder, but clemency was warranted in part because none of their acts resulted in physical harm to anyone.
A number of Republicans - as well as some Democrats - have criticized Holder for his role in the decision to grant clemency to prisoners.
The FALN - or Armed Forces of National Liberation - is a Puerto Rican terrorist group responsible for multiple bombings of U.S. military installations.