January 16th, 2009
10:30 AM ET
12 years ago

Former FBI director: Holder was 'used' in Rich pardon

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/16/art.freeh.gi.jpg caption="Freeh is testifying at Holder’s confirmation hearing."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former FBI Director Louis Freeh said Friday that Attorney General-designate Eric Holder allowed himself "to be used" by the Clinton White House in the pardon process for then-fugitive financier Marc Rich in January 2001, but that Holder was nevertheless a man of "tremendous integrity" who "will never allow himself again to be put in that position."

"The pardon of Marc Rich was a corrupt act," Freeh said, but was not Holder's responsibility. Freeh asserted that President Clinton's White staff kept the FBI and Justice Department "in the dark" and "actively conspired" to ensure that nobody knew what pardons were being considered shortly before Clinton left office.

Holder, Freeh said, had a proven track record of "political independence" and an ability "to say no" to the White House when necessary.

Freeh was the opening witness in the second day of Holder's confirmation hearing.

Filed under: Eric Holder
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. the idiot

    I watched Holder and Leahy playing BDS footsie yesterday and will be looking forward to shoving some of those nasty comments about Bush back in their faces.

    January 16, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. TCM

    He's a Clinton Retread that wants to screw with gun laws...essentially misinterpreting the 2nd to allow the confiscation of fire arms from law-abiding citizens....gee, if we did that, who'd be left with guns? The criminals ! Doesn't take a law school degree to figure that one out. This guy's not independent, he's a puppet for oBama, who's a puppet for Pelosi...all those strings getting tugged!

    January 16, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. Florida John

    Freeh is a Joke. Holder rec Rich pardon. This NEW Gov/ CHANGE is becoming a joke for the NOBAMAS

    January 16, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. EC

    Dah.... no kidding. Even Stevie Wonder could have figured this one out.

    January 16, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. Indy

    So whether or not you believe in abortion, the question is this:

    Now it doesn't matter what your moral and religious beliefs are, the state supersedes them? Isn't that communism?

    January 16, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. vic

    Holder will be good for the country – seat him and be done with it.

    January 16, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. RealityKing

    This is the Change your were foolishly led into believing in..??

    January 16, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. sg

    He was stupid enough to be used by the Clinton's but now he's smart enough to be the AG??

    January 16, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. demwit

    Janet Reno Jr..

    January 16, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Clifford Vegas

    Holder is a better AG candidate than the last four. Moreover, he won't have Dick Cheney nipping at his heels at every turn.

    January 16, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. todd

    Louis Freeh is a hack and an a partisan incompetent who allowed the FBI to chase stained dresses while all during that time AlQueda operatives were here in plain sight learning to fly planes into buildings here in the US. I would not give ten cents for his opinion.

    January 16, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. james

    How many times recently have politicians said, " If you just give me one more chance, I won`t do it again." I`m certain Madoff, Bush, Saddam, and most of the Republicans that lost their seats in Congress all say the same thing. ---- Just like jumping off a cliff, - some things you just don`t get a redo ----

    January 16, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. DBO

    Freeh was the worst FBI Director the USA has had. His comments should be completely ignored.

    January 16, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. Anonymous


    You're in the wrong blog. You want the next one up. I don't believe I read anything in this story that relates to abortion.

    January 16, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. Dave

    I said the same thing about Holder yesterday. He was used by the real power running the country and he will be again. Just how it is.

    January 16, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Thomas

    Isn't this issue of questioning more of the caricature of President Clinton's judgment of pardon. An attorney represents his client, doing his best to represent his client .

    FBI Director Freeh should be answering questions about the competence of Albert Gonzales !

    Holder is a slick attorney , he will be a good AG.

    January 16, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. LaQuisha

    Oh please.....stop the LIES!

    Eric Holder knew exactly what he was doing and the fact that my party would go this far to cover his part in the pardon is outrageous!

    He was an attorney he knew better.

    So stop the lies.....

    January 16, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. KenM

    @TCM: dude, we've listened to your hyper-partisan drivel on these CNN blogs for some time now. You have added not one thing of significance to any of the Ticker discussions. Much like your remnant compatriots in Congress who are all of a sudden so interested in careful oversight and a balance of power, you are a hyper-hypocritical empty wagon. When they branded the word s-t-u-p-i-d on your forehead, they must have breeched the skull.

    January 16, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. S. Callahan

    Now this is pretty telling, to hear it from those in the 'know'.......

    January 16, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |