The disappearance and death of the 24 year old intern Chandra Levy in 2001 was one of the most high profile murders of the decade. The investigation revealed that, at the time of her disappearance, Levy was having an affair with Democratic Congressman Gary Condit.
Condit was not forthright with investigators about his relationship. Though the police and district attorney's office always made clear that Condit was not a suspect, theories that Condit killed Levy to cover up the affair inevitably were floated about in tabloids and cable television.
The story was still hot when September 11 hit and the country immediately lost interest. Condit was defeated by a primary challenger in 2002, and the case was forgotten until recently, when DC police brought charges against Salvadoran illegal alien Ingmar A. Guandique who is already in prison for two other assaults.
In 2002, Terry Jeffrey wrote an article for Human Events about Guandique, his possible tie to Levy, and how amnesty and broken borders enabled his crime spree. The Eastern Region office of the INS told Jeffrey:
"Our records indicate that Mr. Guandique entered the United States illegally but was eligible for an immigration benefit because of the designation of Temporary Protected Status for nationals of El Salvador. He filed for that benefit and received work authorization while the application was pending. The application has subsequently been denied because Guandique failed to submit finger prints." [Who Let Ingmar In?, originally printed June 3, 2002]
The Washington Post gave more details about Guandique's entry into the United States last July. He paid a coyote 5,000 dollars to smuggle him from El Salvador. He swam across the Rio Grande and arrived in Houston in March of 2000. He made his way to DC where he worked at various day labor centers for construction jobs. [The Predator in the Park, By Sari Horwitz, Scott Higham and Sylvia Moreno, Washington Post, July 18, 2008]
On March 2, 2001—less than two months before Levy's disappearance—George W. Bush granted Temporary Protected Status to illegal aliens from El Salvador. According to the INS, Guandique applied and received a legal work permit while his application was pending.
Then on May 7 of that year, days after Levy's disappearance, he was arrested when a woman found him hiding in her bedroom with a stolen ring. There should have been no doubt that Guandique was an illegal alien. He had no Social Security number and gave conflicting and unverified information about his work and family.
Though Judicial Watch had to sue the city in 2007 to find out their exact policies, it is well known that the Washington, DC is a sanctuary city that does not share information with federal immigration authorities. Had the DC police done this, they could have denied Guandique bail and his crime spree would have stopped. Instead, the judge released him on his "personal promise" to return to court.
Guandique returned to court to plead to the robbery, but was again released—again under a "personal promise" pending sentencing.
Then on July 1, he again attacked Christy Wiegand, a 26 year old recent graduate of Cornell Law School, in Rock Creek Park. According to the victim, quoted in Terry Jeffrey's article:
"I went for a run in Rock Creek Park with my fiancé and I will never forget what happened that day. Being attacked from behind by a man with a knife is the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me. When my attacker dragged me into the ravine, holding a knife against my throat and covering my mouth, I thought and still think today that he was going to rape me or try to kill me. I feared for my life. What struck me most was that within ten seconds, I was off the jogging path in the woods, struggling to scream and out of sight of any passersby."
Guandique was arrested for these two assaults and sentenced to ten years in prison.
Although many suggested that Guandique might be responsible for the attacks, little attention was placed on him until the Washington Post ran a six part series on the attacks last July.
On March 3, 2009, nearly eight years after her murder, an arrest warrant for Levy's murder was issued to Guandique, who is still in prison for the Rock Creek Park assaults.
Gary Condit—who had already sued a number of media outlets—is emboldened by the charges against Guandique. More lawsuits are reportedly in the works and he has issued a self righteous press release denouncing the "insatiable sensationalism" which he claims hampered the investigation.
But, although Condit did not kill Levy, he is far from an innocent victim. Had he been forthcoming with investigators from the beginning, he would have avoided much of the suspicion.
More importantly, Condit supported policies that helped rapists and killers like Guandique enter the country and roam free.
Condit voted against putting troops on the U.S. border, which could have stopped Guandique from entering the country four times. In 2000, he signed a letter to then President Clinton urging him to sign The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, which would give amnesty to virtually Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Guatemalans living in the country. The talk of such an amnesty no doubt encouraged Guandique and other Salvadoran illegal aliens to break into our country in time for the amnesty that they ended up getting in part from Bush.
If we are to talk about media sensationalism, we should think about how every single human interest story about illegal immigration is about a poor illegal alien honor student who can't get a tax funded affirmative action scholarship or an illegal alien mother who chooses to leave her dual citizen anchor baby in the US.
If something constructive is to come out of this tragedy, let's hope that in the renewed media interest in Chandra Levy's murder, some attention will be paid to how our policies unleashed her killer.
Don't hold your breath.
Marcus Epstein [send him mail] is the founder of the Robert A Taft Club and the executive director of the The American Cause and Team America PAC. A selection of his articles can be seen here. The views he expresses are his own.