October 6, 1997 – Firsts and returns, this day 20 years ago. The first being from Capitol Hill, where President Clinton exercised the first use of the Line-Item Veto on a spending measure; an Executive option sought after through many Administrations. President Clinton used it to cut nearly $290 million from a Military construction bill. The President said he made hard choices, cutting projects supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The 38 projects cut included a National Guard facility in South Dakota supported by Senate Minority leader Tom Dashiell. None of the projects Clinton vetoed were requested by The Pentagon, and none would have contributed to troop readiness.
The Clinton Administration said it found more video tapes of the President meeting with big donors at the White House. The previous week, the White House belatedly turned over 44 video tapes of the President meeting donors at White House coffees, events the White House insisted were fundraising-related but not actual fund raisers. Spokespersons said it was an honest mistake and that the President said he wasn’t disturbed by the failure to find the tapes which were filmed by a special Defense Department Communications Agency. Republicans were furious, saying the White House was displaying gross incompetence in allowing such a time-lapse between request and delivery of the tapes.
Jury selection was underway for the Unabomber trial. Some 600 prospective jurors were being interviewed for a trial that was to begin shortly.
Meanwhile, from the Middle East – Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin was released from an Israeli prison. Yassin, involved in the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded Hamas with Abdel Azizz in 1987 after the first Intifada. Established as a paramilitary wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yassin was arrested by Israeli authorities in 1989 and sentenced to life in prison for the calling of suicide bombings and the terrorist campaigns in Israel. Yassin was released on this day, as part of a prisoner exchange with Israel for two Mossad agents held in Jordan and with the promise that Yassin would no longer call for suicide bombings against Israelis in the future.
And that’s just a little of what went on, including Nobel Prizes and Shuttle landings, this October 6, 1997 as reported by NPR News.