- - Monday, September 29, 2014

President Obama plans massive clemency edicts that may free radical Islamists from prison more quickly and put them on America’s streets. Thousands of early releases are planned as soon as the Justice Department finishes processing the paperwork.

How many will be like Alton Nolen, who was released from state prison three years early? In prison, Nolen converted to radical Islam. He got a job on the outside but was fired after trying to convert co-workers to obey sharia law. That is when he undertook his jihad against co-workers and beheaded one of them at a Moore, Oklahoma, food-processing company, according to police.

A company executive was armed and took Nolen down before he could kill as many as Fort Hood’s Maj. Nidal Hasan, who murdered 13 and maimed 30. Hasan is the best-known radicalized American Muslim, but far from the only one.

Now, 20,000 federal inmates are asking for presidential clemency and early release under the “New Clemency Initiative” launched this year by Mr. Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. The Department of Justice has recruited ACLU lawyers, criminal defense lawyers and public defenders to screen the new flood of clemency applicants.

Soon-to-be-released inmates are the prime targets of Islamist recruiters and have been for years. Most covered by the new initiative are drug offenders who Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder contend received too-long sentences due to racial discrimination. They claim drug crimes imprison black Americans disproportionately.

Will most of the thousands who soon will be released become domestic jihadists? Very unlikely for most but quite likely for some. They’re the same group who are disproportionately recruited to become terrorists.

Media downplay this recruitment, although inmates provide a ready source of disgruntled and dangerous converts. Efforts to spotlight the recruitment were trashed by media when Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, chaired hearings about it in 2011. Instead, most media did what ABC News did, centering their attention on Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, who cried on camera to condemn the hearings. Americans were told much about Mr. Ellison’s tears but very little about the testimony, although a parade of law enforcement officials warned about ongoing terrorist recruitment within our prisons.

As Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder tell thousands of inmates they are victims who received unjustly long sentences, the offenders are being pre-conditioned as potential jihadists. Mr. Obama’s policy reinforces the recruiters’ message that America is unjust to them and that jihad is the route of making the country pay.

As former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told an interviewer, “The prison population is very, very fertile ground for the recruitment of these extremists.”

The resident and attorney general claim their massive clemency will have built-in safeguards to keep the violent and potentially violent incarcerated. But they made similar claims about detaining illegal immigrants, and then in 2013 alone freed 36,000 criminal offenders who are here illegally, including 169 murderers.

Mr. Obama also is working to make it harder for the private sector to screen out dangerous persons. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is filing lawsuits and proposing guidelines to prevent potential employers from inquiring about criminal backgrounds of job applicants. The Department of Labor has warned federal contractors, “Hiring policies and practices that exclude workers with criminal records may run afoul of [civil rights] laws.”

We don’t yet know if Alton Nolen’s employer knew his full criminal record. It includes drug offenses, fleeing from arresting officers and an assault that broke the hand of an Oklahoma state trooper. Prison officials freed him after serving less than two years of his six-year sentence, saying early release was proper because he behaved while in prison.

Certainly, former inmates need jobs. A chance at rehabilitation is good but it should be done carefully with full disclosure and with eyes wide open. Any employer who offers a second chance to a former convict should be aware of the risks to themselves, their workers and their customers. Government policy should never allow a felony record to be concealed. The Obama’s teams efforts at this should be shut down.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder demonstrate more sympathy for criminals than for victims. They downplay the threat of terrorism recruitment in our prisons, but their reassurances that the public is safe are merely empty words.

Nobody else should suffer the fate of Colleen Hufford, the Oklahoma woman who was beheaded. She survived a killer tornado, but radical Islam is a bigger threat than natural disasters.

Our prison system should not enable warped jihadists. Our justice system should not reward them with early release. Mr. Obama and Mr. Holder claim they’ll weed out the dangerous before the impending mass release of thousands from prison. But nobody should trust them to do so, especially since they’ve delegated the screening to lawyers who represent the convicts, not the public and not the victims.

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