Janet Reno Gone

Janet Reno, one of the longest serving Attorneys General in American history, has died.

Janet Reno, who rose from a rustic life on the edge of the Everglades to become attorney general of the United States — the first woman to hold the job — and whose eight years in that office placed her in the middle of some of the most divisive episodes of the Clinton presidency, died on Monday at age 78.

She died at her home in Miami-Dade County, Fla., from complications of Parkinson’s disease, according to her sister, Margaret Hurchalla. The disease was diagnosed in November 1995, while she was still in office.

Ms. Reno’s tenure as attorney general was bracketed by two explosive events: a deadly federal raid on the compound of a religious cult in Waco, Tex., in 1993, and the seizing in 2000 by federal agents of Elián González, a young Cuban refugee who was at the center of an international custody battle and a political tug of war.

In those moments, and others in between, Ms. Reno was applauded for a straightforward integrity and a willingness to accept responsibility, but she was also fiercely criticized. Republicans accused her of protecting President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore when, in 1997, she refused to allow an independent counsel to investigate allegations of fund-raising improprieties in the White House.

My opinion on Reno’s tenure is definitely mixed. On the one hand, she presided over the prosecutions of the terrorists responsible for the first WTC attack and Oklahoma City. She bucked Clinton a number of times by handing investigations over to the Independent Prosecutor that he wanted squashed, such as the Lewinsky matter.

On the other hand, she supported garbage lawsuits against the tobacco industry and Microsoft. She authorized the Elian Gonzales raid and the Branch Davidian raid (although she took responsibility for the Waco disaster). She wrecked Richard Jewell’s life and, as Dade County State Attorney, helped create the Miami Method that results in numerous bogus convictions of innocent people on child molestation charges.

When I look over her career though, the thing that stands out is that she was her own person. She made decisions based on what she felt was right, alternatively angering people within the Clinton Administration and in Congress when she didn’t agree with them. She has a sense of humor about herself and took responsibility for her decisions. For that, at least, I’ll wish her to RIP.

Comments are closed.

  1. Aussiesmurf

    @AlexInCT I assume this is some attempt by you to make an offensive and silly ‘joke’ immediately after someone has died, but I just don’t understand the purported link between Ms Reno and (former) President Clinton.

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  2. hald

    The biggest thing I remember about her was that she was the only person (at the time) to have outmaneuvered the Clintons, when Bill wanted her gone in the days after his reelection.

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  3. AlexInCT

    This woman was a murderer that caused the death of all those people in Waco, under orders from the Clinton WH mind you, and also sent that poor kid Elian Gonzales back to Cuba to rot in that communist hell so the Clintons could make good with the communists. I hope she is in hell.

    And fuck all you scumbags trying to pretend she deserves anything but scorn for her fascist ways.

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  4. CM

    Yeah but fuck us for everything anyway, so it’s completely meaningless. Just like ‘Hillary is the devil and these people are the worst who have ever lived on Planet Earth’ etc etc is meaningless. You never give yourself any room because everything/everyone is always the worst.

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  5. AlexInCT

    Yeah, sure. Death by agents of the state is always the fault of those targeted….

    Koresh was a giant dick and deserved death. The children and dupes Koresh took advantage of and ended up killed by the storm troopers involved, didn’t deserve any of that. The Clintons wanted to look though and ordered a military strike when they could have waited this out with minimal loss of life.

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  6. louctiel

    Yeah, sure. Death by agents of the state is always the fault of those targeted….

    Not at all.  But in this case, the killings of the innocent people were caused by the Branch Davidians.


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  7. Hal_10000 *

    Not at all.  But in this case, the killings of the innocent people were caused by the Branch Davidians.

    That’s tricky.  You should watch the documentary “Waco: Rules of Engagement”.  While it gets a bit conspiracy minded at times, there was a LOT of shit the FBI did that made the situation far worse. Specifically:

    1) launched their assault on the compound when there was absolutely no need to do so; then lied about their reasons.

    2) Pumped the compound full of highly inflammable CS gas that would have made it very difficult for people to evacuate, especially the children.

    3) Tossed incendiary devices into the compound, then lied about it.

    4) Never really clarified whether snipers shot fleeing Davidians.

    5) lied their asses off about the initial raid, claiming that the Davidians shot first (they didn’t), that they didn’t have  a helicopter shooting down into the compound (they did), claiming that they had evidence of sexual abuse (they didn’t).

    All this culminated in a jury exonerating the Davidians of the most serious charges against them.  All of this for a gun grab that was totally unnecessary and could have been dealt with using  a traditional warrant. The Waco Siege kicked of the gung-ho militarized policing we’re still enjoying to this day. Alex’s language might be much, but he’s right on the basics. There was absolutely no need for those people to die.

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  8. Hal_10000 *

    PS – One of the things that comes out in the Waco documentary is a video tape. The FBI sent the Davidians a camera to make video statements. They were hoping that this would convinced the country the Davidians were crazy and that the raid was justified.  They then buried the tape because the Davidians came across a a bit nutty but not dangerous, including Koresh.  It’s really hard to watch that tape and conclude that any of it was necessary.

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