GOP crooks allowed Ayers to go free
When federal prosecutor William C. Ibershof tried to put Weatherman William Ayers behind bars 35 years ago, it was his own boss - the Republican attorney general - who brought down the trial and let the accused domestic terrorist go free.
In 1973, Ibershof tried to put William Ayers, a founding member of the Weather Underground, in prison for an alleged conspiracy to bomb political targets. Ayers, now an education professor in Chicago, has become a fixture in John McCain's attempt to raise doubts about Barack Obama.
Recently, Mr. Ibershof wrote a letter to the New York Times, saying, as the man who tried to prosecute Ayers, he was "amazed and outraged" that McCain-Palin, the GOP and others were trying to link Ayers and his past life with Obama.
However, his story goes beyond that letter.
In 1972, Mr. Ibershof says he was preparing to try Ayers, who was in hiding, and 14 other members of the Weather Underground organization for planning a campaign of domestic terror. Before the trial could begin, defense attorneys complained their offices had been broken into and searched. Then, Mr. Ibershof discovered the government had illegally bugged some of the defendants.
"I had a sizable room full of files with wiretaps that were not obtained by court order," he said.
The illegal tactics were ordered by Atty. Gen. John N. Mitchell and FBI assistant director W. Mark Felt, who was later unmasked as the Watergate scandal's "Deep Throat," Ibershof said. They were part of a plan, exposed during the Watergate hearings, to use "espionage techniques" to gather intelligence on domestic foes.
Mr. Ibershof says he wanted to go on with the case. However, the judge ordered a hearing on the break ins and illegal claims. The government dropped the case, citing "national security".
Obama met Ayers when the former radical hosted an event to introduce Obama at the start of his political career. The two have served together on boards, but are not close.
"It seemed manifestly unfair to tar him with this association," Ibershof said in a telephone interview this weekend from his home in Mill Valley. "Sen. Obama had known Ayers during a period he was named Citizen of the Year in Chicago, not when he was committing those terrorist acts."
McCain supporters have denounced Ayers as an "unrepentant terrorist." Ibershof said he believes people deserve a chance to redeem themselves, "a human reaction anyone would have."
He adds the terrorist activities in question occurred when
"Mr. Obama, was, as he has noted, just a child."