A Parade of Lies
The public would not have been so ripe for
distraction and "confession and avoidance," however, had all the other
techniques not been practiced on them throughout, not the least of which is the latest we
are adding to the list, plain old lying. Reviewing the Foster case, one is surprised at
how often members of the press and the government have resorted to outright whoppers. We
are not talking about merely misleading statements or sweeping conclusions based upon weak
evidence, matters that might be subject to some honest disagreement, nor do we propose to
examine the numerous instances where the chance is quite high that the person is lying.
Rather, what we propose to do in the remainder of this "Dreyfus" installment is
to point out instances in which clearly identifiable individuals tell obvious lies for the
furtherance of the official conclusion that Vincent Foster committed suicide out of
Let us look first at the
nationally-televised attempted destruction of the reputation of the one American reporter,
Christopher Ruddy, who has consistently demonstrated skepticism about Fosters death.
Bear in mind that, as I indicate in Part 2 of this series, that was a reputation
demolition in which there is a very high likelihood that Ruddy conspired. The more
important of the two instances in which Ruddy was pounded on national television was by
Mike Wallace on October 8, 1995, on 60 Minutes. By less than honest reporting
methods Wallace was able to leave the impression with the viewers that Ruddy had
misrepresented what Medical Examiner Dr. Donald Haut said about blood at the scene. He
then nailed Ruddy quite effectively by revealing that Ruddy exercised editorial control
over a video in which the narrator asserted unequivocally that Foster was left-handed,
when, according to Wallace, Foster was actually right-handed. Therefore, the fact that the
gun was found in the right hand was not the anomaly that the narrator of the video so
confidently stated it was.
Neither matter was so cut and dried as
Wallace represented them. Ruddy had taped his conversation with Dr. Haut and had told
Wallace so, and the tapes would prove, according to Ruddy later, that Haut had changed his
story about the blood, but Wallace never checked that evidence against Hauts
on-camera statement. And Ruddy had corrected himself in print about Fosters dominant
hand and had told Wallace, but, again, Wallace ignored that fact on his program. One might
say that, in essence, Wallace was lying in each instance here, but we can do better than
"in essence." Wallace went on, in his authoritative baritone, to make the
following statement: "The forensic evidence shows that the fatal bullet had been
fired into Fosters mouth from the gun found in Fosters hand and that
Fosters thumb had pulled the trigger."
No doubt most people believe that Wallace
was telling us the truth. "He wouldnt just baldly lie about something this
important, would he?" And if he was telling the truth, that pretty much seals the
matter, doesnt it? The only, quite-unlikely, murder possibility remaining if Wallace
is truthful here is that Foster had been rendered unconscious and someone then placed the
gun in his hand, maneuvered the muzzle of the gun into the mouth, and then pressed
Fosters thumb against the trigger.
But, in fact, Wallace is flatly lying.
There is no evidence whatsoever connecting the supposed fatal bullet to the revolver found
in Fosters hand. How could there be when the bullet has never been found? As far as
the evidence of Fosters thumb having pulled the trigger goes, it is interesting that
on television Wallace has Rep. William Clinger state that the depressed mark noted on
Fosters right thumb indicates that he had used that thumb to pull the trigger.
Clinger, of course, has no medical-examiner qualifications for arriving at such a
conclusion (See my two-letter exchange with Wallaces producer, Robert Anderson, over
this and other matters in the Appendix.). Maybe Clinger was picking up on some legerdemain
by Special Prosecutor Robert Fiske on this point:
"The physical evidence also
demonstrates that Foster himself pulled the trigger. An autopsy photograph depicts a mark
on Fosters right thumb consistent with the recoil of the trigger after firing. Based
on the existence of this mark and Park Police scene photographs showing the position of
the gun, the Pathologist Panel concluded that after Foster fired the gun, his right
thumb was trapped and compressed between the trigger and the front of the trigger
guard.. Pathologist Report, Paragraph 8."
Fiske was good enough to furnish us with
the three and one-half page report of his four consulting pathologists as an appendix,
and, sure enough, the concluding quote is right there in paragraph 8, but there is no
mention of autopsy photographs depicting a mark. Consequently, there is no conclusion
that the mark shows that Foster fired the gun with that thumb, or even that it is
"consistent with the recoil of the trigger after firing," which is really
nothing but a tricky nonsense statement by Fiske. The supposed mark or indentation is also
consistent with his thumb having been wedged in there after the gun was fired as well, and
if, in fact, there was such a visible indentation in the photographs that is a much more
Perhaps the failure of Fiskes
experts to support the conclusion which he appears to attribute to them explains why
Kenneth Starr in his report more than three years later on Foster has as yet made public
none of the reports of his hired experts even though fully three-quarters of his footnote
references are to those reports. In effect, Starr has returned us to where we were after
the first official suicide verdict on August 10, 1993. We now have a conclusion based upon
multiple secret reports instead of just one, not unlike Captain Alfred Dreyfus
conviction for treason based upon secret evidence. All the while our media
"watchdogs" seem perfectly content with the state of affairs.
The first influential TV trashing of Ruddy
occurred on March 11, 1994, in the wake of his New York Post "photo
blunder" article in which he left the clear impression that the Park Police had taken
no photographs at all of the Foster death scene. Jim Wooten on ABC Evening News just four
days after Ruddys article appeared produced a photograph of a hand with a gun which
he said was, indeed, one of the crucial crime scene photographs that Ruddy had reported
did not exist. Later a still of the photograph with the ABC logo in the corner appeared in
Newsweek, and it has since been reproduced in many other places.
"Pro-cop" author Dan E. Moldea, with his special access to the Park Police, has
the photograph as well in his book, A Washington Tragedy, How the Death of Vincent
Foster Ignited a Political Firestorm, but, unlike the others, he didnt have to
use ABCs copy. He got his photo straight from the Park Police.
Like Mike Wallace, though, Wooten could
not leave well enough alone with this Ruddy embarrassment. He went on to say that Ruddy
was wrong about the absence of blood at the scene as well, and showed a photograph of a
sylvan setting in which he said blood was obvious. It was a lie.
This, supposedly, was another crime scene
photograph that had been taken, and again Ruddy had apparently been contradicted. Unlike
the hand with the gun, this still photograph didnt get reproduced for the print
media. No wonder. Reed Irvine of Accuracy in Media has examined the video and, just as I
recalled from the TV, he sees no obvious blood in evidence, but what is worse, he sees no
green foliage, as there would have had to have been on July 20, the day of the death.
And here is the best that Kenneth Starr
can do in his report referring to Dr. Henry Lees examination of a scene in which a
man who, according to the autopsy doctor, and the autopsy doctor alone, has blown a hole
an inch by an inch-and-a-quarter out the crown of his head:
"Dr. Lee stated that one photograph
of the scene shows a view of the vegetation in the areas where Mr. Fosters
body was found. Reddish-brown, blood-like stains can be seen on several leaves of the
vegetation in this area. He also noted that [a]close-up view of some of these
blood-like stains can be seen in [a separate] photograph."
Recall, though, that Park Police
investigator Renee Abt told Moldea that they had looked for blood on the foliage and found
none, and that what Lee takes for blood is merely leaf disease.
If is very, very hard to come to any
conclusion about Wootens claims for what his photograph shows than that he is simply
lying. Had Foster fired the gun as Mike Wallace described and had it produced the sort of
massive exit wound that Dr. Beyer described, there would have been a good deal of blood
and other tissue on the foliage under and around the path of the bullet. It would be nice
for the governments case and for Wootens credibility if it were there, but it
Lies Fit to Print
Wallace and Wooten are hardly alone in
the press with their lies on the Foster case. Working our way forward in the alphabet, let
us look at the performance of the stalwart New York Times duo of reporter Douglas
Jehl and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, Anthony Lewis, in the wake of the Fiske
Report. The August 5, 1994, Lewis column in particular is a veritable virtuoso performance
in propaganda, employing a number of the truth suppression techniques, and like his
counterparts from the fake right, Lewis goes out of his way to perpetuate the notion that
the Foster death, like many another high-level scandal, is strictly a partisan political
issue. The column, entitled predictably enough, "The Grassy Knoll," is such a
representative sample of the sorry genre of Foster cover-up articles that we cant
resist sharing with the reader a good deal more than his out- and-out lies:
The desperate nature of the Republican
effort to make something of Whitewater was on marked display in the Senate hearing on the
death of Vincent Foster. Partisan zeal would not yield to elemental human decency.
Ever since the assistant (sic) White House
counsel committed suicide in July, 1993, the political right has tried to use the death to
attack President and Mrs. Clinton. Conservative commentators claim that Mr. Foster killed
himself over the Whitewater affair, or was murdered.
As crackpots from Mark Lane to Oliver
Stone had a theory about President Kennedys assassination, so with Mr. Foster they
have come up with conspiracy fantasies. A newsletter suggested that he had died in a
Virginia apartment, and the body was moved to the park where it was found. Rush Limbaugh
reported that charge to his large audience, embellishing it to say the newsletter
"claims that Vince Foster was murdered in an apartment owned by Hillary
All these claims were exhaustively
investigated by the independent counsel on Whitewater, Robert B. Fiske, Jr. His massive
report concluded that Mr. Foster committed suicide because he was depressed, as he had
been earlier in his life. The many colleagues, family and friends questioned by the
counsels staff said Mr. Foster had never mentioned Whitewater was a cause for
Last month Mr. Fosters family
pleaded for an end to the use of "outrageous innuendo and speculation for political
ends." It was "so unfair," the statement added, "for the familys
privacy and emotions to be pawns in a political struggle."
All in one short article Lewis waxes
indignant, knocks down straw men, calls the skeptics names, impugns motives, and invokes
authority. He even changes the subject to the Kennedy assassination, about which he leaves
no doubt that he is in the same camp, defending the indefensible Warren Commissions
findings, as is his putative adversary over Foster, Christopher Ruddy. So he has given us
numbers 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 13 of the popular techniques for truth suppression--anything
but facts about the case--, but when he talks about the "massive report" of
Robert Fiske he is giving us the newly-minted technique number 15. He is simply lying. As
we noted in the first installment of this series, the body of the Fiske report is only 58
double-spaced pages in length. No one with an iota of integrity who has actually bothered
to crack its pages would call it "massive," or "exhaustive," for that
matter. Most of its seven-eighths of an inch in thickness comes from the 97 pages of the
resumes of Fiskes team of pathologists and the fact that the text is printed on only
one side of the paper.. But if invoking authority is what you are up to, a "massive
report" surely does sound authoritative.
Lewis suggestion that Foster had
been depressed "earlier in his life" looks a lot like a number 15 as well. He
doesnt say where that bit of intelligence came from. Heres what the Fiske
Fosters family and friends said that
Foster did not experience any extended period of depression prior to the spring of 1993.
Although he experienced some brief episodes of depression and anxiety, these appeared to
be resolved without treatment. From time to time Foster experienced what his wife
described as anxiety or panic attacks, marked by heavy sweating or a strained voice. In
late 1992, he told his physician in Little Rock, that he was feeling depressed and
anxious. At least two of Fosters close relatives have suffered from periods of
Reading this carefully one encounters here
what sounds like a normal man, not the man with the history of depression that Lewis
suggests, especially when one notes that the wife, Lisa, and Dr. Watkins were rather slow
to come around with their stories of Fosters recent agitated frame of mind.
Furthermore, "suicidologist," Dr. Alan L. Berman, who labored so hard in Kenneth
Starrs much longer report to persuade us that Foster was suicidally depressed, for
some reason didnt see fit to tell us about any bouts with depression "earlier
in his life," so we can safely assume that they did not happen.
Dishonest as he is in this column,
Pulitzer Prize winner Lewis still is not the worst bearer of false witness in
Americas "newspaper of record" when it comes to the Foster case. That
prize belongs to reporter Douglas Jehl. This is from his July 1, 1994, report on
the freshly-released Fiske Report, which he presents to us without any degree of
objectivity or skepticism, but amplified and embellished through the medium of the White
House in an article entitled "First Whitewater Report Pleases Clinton Advisers."
The special prosecutor devoted nearly 200
pages to his review of an exhaustive investigation that he said left no doubt that Mr.
Foster, a kindergarten classmate of the Presidents and former law partner of Mrs.
Clinton, put a revolver in his mouth and took his life July 20, hours after he left his
office in the White House West Wing.
Very few citizens have the time, the
natural skepticism, the inquisitiveness, or the resourcefulness to order a government
document like this for themselves. They depend on the newspapers, and they expect that
what they read in the newspapers is the truth. But Mr. Jehl and The New York Times
lied. The investigation was in no way "exhaustive," and 58 scant pages are not
"nearly 200 pages." One might say that Jehl is including the various exhibits
and the doctors resumes, but they cannot be construed as the special
Then, not content to lie, Jehl in his very
next sentence manages to sprinkle in truth suppression techniques 3, 4,5, 6, and 7:
Although the Park Police quickly concluded
last year that it was a suicide, the death of the 48-year-old Arkansan has spawned
theories so widespread and ugly that Mr. [Lloyd] Cutler [the White House counsel] went on
today to express hope that "those rumormongers and those parts of the media that
published their rumors will now leave the Foster family in peace." Among the rumors
spread by political opponents was that Mr. Foster had been killed in another location and
that his body had been moved to the park.
The reader gets no hint of the host of
anomalies already apparent to the astute observer as detailed in "Dreyfus 1,"
nor would he guess that the "part of the media" which has raised doubts, The
New York Post and their reporter Christopher Ruddy almost exclusively, had dealt
primarily with facts such as the paucity of blood and gore at the scene and the curious
straight positioning of the body with the arms down by the side "as though ready for
This is the same Douglas Jehl, we might
remind you, who nine days after the death, in another "special to The New York
Times," had heavily influenced public opinion in the case by revealing
"facts" that came as news even to White House spokesperson, Dee Dee Myers. We
touched on this briefly in "Dreyfus 1," but with lying as our theme, a somewhat
fuller treatment is in order. Heres a longer excerpt from the Jehl article:
Clinton Aide Appeared Depressed Before
Death, His Associates Say
Federal officials said today that a piece
of paper with the names of at least two psychiatrists had been found among Fosters
possessions, but White House officials insisted that they had learned of the discovery
only late last night.
In contrast to White House assertions that
there had been no signs of trouble, Vincent W. Foster Jr., the longtime friend of
President Clinton who apparently committed suicide last week, had displayed signs of
depression in the final months of his life, according to federal officials and people
close to Mr. Foster.
Mr. Foster, the deputy White House
counsel, had been so depressed about his job that before his death he had spent parts of
several weekends working reclusively at home in bed with the shades drawn, a close
associate said today.
The 48-year-old lawyer had also told at
least one doctor that he was dispirited and had obtained the names of at least two
Washington psychiatrists, Federal officials and associates of Mr. Foster said. A family
doctor in Little Rock, Ark. sent antidepressant medication to Mr. Foster.
The medication arrived in the final days
of Mr. Fosters life, but he apparently had only just begun to take it, said a person
close to the family. This person said that Mr. Fosters wife, Lisa, recalled after
her husbands death that when he would try to smile it was a "forced,
hollowed-out kind of expression."
In a court of law, a witness who has been
caught in a lie in his testimony isnt worth very much. Neither would he be permitted
to pass on what he says he has been told by people that he does not identify. What
evidence is there that Mr. Jehl isnt simply lying here, as he would provably lie
later? Has he given us any reason to believe that even the "federal officials"
themselves and "people close to Foster" are not simply inventions or stooges?
What reason would they have had to want to remain anonymous at this point, anyway? And
whats with this "at least two psychiatrists" business? Didnt they
just tell us that they have the list in hand? Cant these "Federal officials and
associates of Mr. Foster" count? Might this have something to do with the fact that
the photocopy of the paper with the list of names that was released with the police
investigative papers three weeks after the Fiske report came out had the names blacked
Then when the same list was reproduced in
the Senate Banking Committee documents, the names appear--probably by mistake--, but the
writing of the first name, that of Dr. Robert Hedaya, is scrawled in block letters, unlike
the other two. It is easily perceived as an afterthough, added at the beginning instead of
the end to make it look less like a late addition. Were they unsure at the time that Jehl
wrote that Hedaya would go along with the cover-up? He is the one, after all, who said in
his deposition that Fosters sister, Sheila Anthony, had called him about her
brothers depression just a few days before. Even more curiously, Park Police lead
investigator, John Rolla filed a report only a couple of days (if it is not fraudulently
back-dated, which seems a distinct possibility) after the death in which he said he called
each of the psychiatrists, and Hedaya made no mention of the Anthony call, saying only
that he had not talked to Foster. Isnt that strange? Youd think he would have
responded to the inquiring policeman, "No, Mr. Foster didnt call me about an
appointment, but his sister did just this past Friday."
While we are asking questions, we might
also ask who Mr. Jehl works for. The fact that these two key articles are denoted as
"special to The New York Times" suggests that he is not a regular
employee of theirs. Hasnt Mr. Jehl, whose anonymous sources are eventually virtually
unanimously contradicted by friends and associates who testify on the record, given us
good reason to believe that he actually works for one of those organizations that counts
lying as part of its "trade craft?" Whoever their employer, Jehl and Lewis both
would be high on my list of candidates for the Duranty Prize, a proposed award
named after the Times Moscow correspondent of the 1930s, Walter Duranty, who
regularly filed glowing and fictitious accounts of Joseph Stalins
When we see how eagerly journalists like
Jehl and Lewis seize upon the suicide-from-depression report of Robert Fiske it becomes
apparent how necessary it was to get a high-profile special prosecutor on the case,
someone advertised as independent who is supposed to uncover wrongdoing, but whose real
role is precisely to cover up wrongdoing. It was deemed so necessary that a connection to
the long-ago Whitewater land scandal had to be fabricated in the form of "Whitewater
documents removed from Fosters office the night he died." We saw in
"Dreyfus 5" how crime writer Dan Moldea let Washington Times reporter Jerry
Seper off the hook by saying that he was simply "mistaken" about his sources for
that December 20, 1993, story revealing the Whitewater document removal, when, in fact, it
was very nearly the central lie in the entire Foster death cover-up.
It may be rivaled, though, by one told in
another "special to The New York Times" in the summer of 1994. David
Johnston, in a July 21 article, reports that parts of the Park Police report have just
been released, three weeks after the Fiske Report came out, but the pages of the report
"offered little new." He doesnt tell us that numerous sections of the Park
Police documents have been inexcusably and very suspiciously "redacted" or
blacked-out, but even so, there remained at least one Park Police document that offered
something new that is highly significant. That is John Rollas contemporaneous report
on his and detective Cheryl Brauns death notification visit to the Foster home on
the night he died. That report jumps out at the knowledgeable reader, but Johnston
doesnt even bother to tell us of its existence (nor did any other national
The Biggest Lie of All
Up to that point, the definitive word
on the matter of the Park Police and the Foster residence had come from the following
passage in a major front-page article in the July 30, 1993, Washington Post by Ann
Devroy and Michael Isikoff:
Police who arrived at Fosters house
the night of the death were turned away after being told Lisa Foster and family members
were too distraught to talk. Investigators were not allowed to interview her until
yesterday. "That was a matter between her lawyers and the police," [White House
counselor David] Gergen said, and the White House "had no role in it."
This echoed what Frank Murray had reported
in The Washington Times on July 24:
"Park Police investigators had many
questions about Mr. Fosters final hours but deferred to his friends and family by
delaying contacts with them until after yesterdays funeral in Little Rock."
And to further make the point, Devroy and
Isikoff say in their July 30, 1993, article that the widow, Lisa Foster, "yesterday
was interviewed for the first time by police."
Lies all. Did Devroy and Isikoff know they
were reporting lies? Isikoff surely did at least by August 15 when he wrote in The Post,
adding an invention of his own about Fosters mental state and the definitive nature
of documents that he, but not we, had had the privilege to see: "Fosters
attempt to seek legal help is described in more than 200 pages of Park Police and FBI
reports into his death that have not yet been publicly released...those reports leave no
doubt that Foster was suffering from a worsening depression...." The Park Police
documents that were finally released added up to a scant 100 pages, and they included, as
we have noted, the Rolla report on his visit to the Foster home. Isikoff had to have read
that, but he passes up this early opportunity to correct his earlier gigantic lie that the
police had been turned away. At the same time he inadvertently tells us several months in
advance that the 100 pages with its many redactions was only a small part of the written
record withheld from the public. He also lets us in on something else that he probably
didnt mean to. The FBI was a participant in the investigation right from the
beginning, and its initial report is still secret. It is as though another 100-plus pages
have also been redacted in their entirety, blacked out, that is, as far as the public is
concerned, but not as far as a journalistic player in the cover-up is concerned.
Even without these police documents in
hand, it would have been a truly amazing thing if Devroy and Isikoff were in the dark
about the visit by Park Police investigators John Rolla and Cheryl Braun to the Foster
home on the night of the death. A very large number of people, after all, were there that
night, as we later learn, and consider who they were. We can start with the man who sets
the tone for the reign of the lie, himself, President Bill Clinton. In his written report
Rolla curiously makes no mention of the presidents arrival at the house, but he
broke the news a year later, shortly after the Johnston article about the police report
appeared in The New York Times. He and Braun did so in their nationally-televised
testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on July 29, 1994 (This time it was The
Washington Posts turn to report blandly that the testimony contained nothing
new. The New York Times, for its part, neglected to report on the hearing at all.).
Did the government people simply withhold
the information from the press? Anyone who could even entertain the idea has no notion of
the cozy relationship that exists between the White House, especially Bill Clintons
White House, and the national press, The Washington Post in particular. But
theres no reason to speculate. This passage comes from a very important op ed piece,
"Vincent Foster: Out of His Element," by Arkansas native, Walter Pincus, in the
August 5, 1993 Post: "Near midnight that Tuesday at the Foster home in Georgetown, I
sat in the garden with a few of his Arkansas friends for half an hour." Pincus
doesnt say what time he arrived, but the police, on the record, were there from
shortly after 10 to sometime after 11 (In fact, the police in all likelihood were there
even longer, arriving sometime before 10. The later arrival time presumes they went to the
morgue first to search for Fosters car keys again in his pants, an almost certain
untruth.). He surely would have known that the police were not "turned away,"
let alone by Foster family attorneys.
Then we have this from White House
attorney Jane Sherburne of Sherburne and Nemetz, prepared on May 16, 1996: "[Mickey]
Kantor had been with Vernon Jordan and David Gergen at Ben Bradlees house when David
got the news about Foster. They all wound up at Fosters house."
As you might have suspected, Gergen, we
see, wasnt just repeating what someone had told him, he was simply lying when he
agreed that the police were turned away. Not only did he know it, but The Posts
Bradlee very likely knew it as well, and notice how well this little gathering illustrates
what we have just observed about the coziness between The Post and the White House.
So, the president, the police, and the
press knew that the police did not wait nine days to talk to family members about
Fosters death, as had been widely reported as fact and was not contradicted for a
year. What of it? Wouldnt the loved ones have been too emotionally wrought up to
have been of much help to the authorities? To be sure there are those who would want us to
believe that, though even if it were true, it does not excuse the bald-faced lie told the
public. True or not, it is what Clinton lawyer Jane Sherburne was peddling as late as May
of 1996. Here she summarizes some of the doings of White House aide, David Watkins, that
It took ten or fifteen minutes to drive to
the house. When they arrived, no one else was there. They walked up to the house; the
police officers, who insisted on doing the official notification themselves, walked ahead,
with Watkins right behind them. As they went up the steps, another group of people,
including Webb Hubbell and Fosters sister, came up behind them.
They entered the house and Mrs. Foster
came down the steps. The male officer told them that Foster had committed suicide. Mrs.
Foster became hysterical; she could not possibly have been interviewed.
Perhaps Ms. Sherburne can claim simple
ignorance, thereby admitting incompetence. If not, what we have here is another conscious
lie. The following is from Rollas public testimony almost a year before, on July 20,
Some people were not approachable. We
tried to talk to different people. We talked to--I think we talked briefly to both
sisters. I had more of a rapport with Mrs. Foster, so I talked to her. Cheryl talked to
Laura, the daughter. The sons werent home. We talked to Mr. Watkins. Other than
that, we didnt talk to anyone else there.
Well, now, lets try taking Rolla at
his word on this. They talked only briefly with Sheila Anthony and Sharon Bowman, and only
Ms. Braun talked with the daughter, while the only other person Rolla talked to was Lisa
Foster, with whom he developed a "rapport." Yet he writes in his report that he
was there for more than an hour. What was he doing all that time, eating hors
The first twenty-four hours after a crime
has been committed are crucial. If it is not essentially solved within that period, the
chance that it will ever be solved falls drastically. The Park Police obviously know that,
which is why they did their proper police work and no doubt wrung as much information out
of the immediate relatives of the victim as they could. Then why would they be party to
this gigantic, apparently gratuitous lie that they did not? In "Dreyfus 1" I
speculated that one reason might be that they didnt hear what they wanted to hear
from the family concerning Vinces "depression," his inclination toward
suicide. Rolla did say in his report, after all, that no one present could think of any
reason why Foster would kill himself, and he also said in a later deposition that when he
asked Lisa if Vince was taking any medication she said that he wasnt. Upon further
reflection and with the assistance of more public records, I have come to believe that the
motivation behind the big lie that the police were turned away from the Foster home is
much worse than I first thought.
Only for the most extreme reasons would
the powers that be have resorted to such a blatant lie, one that they knew they would have
to admit to in due time. The most likely reason is that the Foster family, or at least
certain members of the family, didnt just fail to go along with the depression
thesis, they rejected the suicide conclusion as well. In all likelihood, they didnt
just reject it but they rejected it energetically and indignantly, as most people would
who knew that a loved one had been murdered and it was being covered up. Time had to be
bought while the recalcitrant family members were brought into line.
Those Missing Sons
And which family members might those
be? The most likely candidates are the two mystery men in our little story, Vinces
two sons, 21-year-old Vincent, III, and 17-year-old John Brugh, who goes by his middle
name, pronounced "brew." Oh, but didnt we just read from the testimony of
John Rolla that the sons werent home? That is, indeed, what he said, but then he and
his organization went along with it, holding their tongues, when the newspapers told us
that the police had actually been turned away. Their spokesman, Major Robert Hines, even
embellished the lie a bit for me. Explaining my interest from having gone to college with
Vince, I called him and asked how it would have been possible for a private lawyer to
stand in the way of police carrying out an investigation. He told me that I was right,
that he couldnt, but that the newspaper had misreported the facts. He said that the
police had left the residence upon determining that the widow, Lisa, was too broken up to
talk to and that they had returned the next day for an interview. That version of events,
like the one told by The Post, was also made "inoperative," to borrow a
Watergate-era term, a year later by the released police report and the Senate testimony of
Park Police investigators Rolla and Braun about their visit to the Foster home.
If we have learned anything it is that
proven liars should not be trusted simply upon their word alone, which is really all that
we have with respect to the absence of the sons from the Foster home on the fateful night.
Later in their July 20, 1995, Senate testimony Braun and Rolla elaborate further:
SENATOR PAUL SARBANES: Now, there also was
an effort made to find the Foster sons. Were they at the house?
BRAUN. No, they were not.
ROLLA. They were in Georgetown somewhere.
SENATOR SARBANES. They were somewhere in
Georgetown. I take it that extended efforts were being made to try to locate them.
Obviously this story, once it reached the media, would be a lead story on the television
and on the radio; correct?
SENATOR SARBANES. Thats very clear.
These intense efforts were being made to locate the family and, as I understand it,
friends and so forth, colleagues, in order to let them know what had happened. You
understood at least part of that by the time you left the Foster home; is that correct?
But at that point Sarbanes yields to
Senator Christopher Dodd who changes to subject to the goings on in Fosters office.
One never learns in this exchange when the Park Police established contact with the Foster
sons. And Sarbanes, like everyone else who has reported on the case, missed the real
importance of why it was necessary to talk to the sons. They, much more so than the widow,
Lisa, or the daughter, Laura, would have been likely to know about the make and model of
any guns that their father might have had. Guns, as we all know, are primarily a masculine
interest. If the police were really serious about determining whether or not the gun
ostensibly found in Fosters hand was his, the sons simply had to be interviewed as
soon as possible. Yet, in that July 30, 1993, Washington Post article in which it
was reported that the police were turned away from the house, we are told that Lisa had
been interviewed for the first time only the day before, and there is no mention of the
sons. The gun, the article tells us, is being sent to a "family member" in
Arkansas for possible identification, while, from all indications, the sons have not yet
been called upon for possible identification.
Not only is this strange, but it is not
exactly true, either. According to Kenneth Starrs report, the sister in Arkansas, to
whom the Post is probably referring here, was only shown a photograph in which she noticed
some similarities in the detailing at the base of the grip, but was not shown the actual
gun until April of 1995. At that time she could not positively identify it.
The sons remain almost completely out of
the picture during the period of the investigations by the Park Police/FBI and Robert
Fiskes FBI team. From the official record, we never know when or if they ever find
them and talk to them except that Fiske has the following bland little note at the bottom
of page 38 of his report: "Fosters children did not recognize the gun as one
they had seen in their home." We dont know how he knows that, and we cant
help but wonder if the sons had been so bland and passive in their assertion of the fact.
When Kenneth Starr in his report speaks of the vague and imprecise recollections of the
two sons, whom he never even names, he documents the observations with still-secret FBI
interviews of the sons done on April 7, 1995, more than eight months after the completion
of the Fiske Report.
Its very clear that they dont
want us focusing upon the sons, and that is probably for a reason. So lets see what
else we can find out about them. The Johnnie-come-lately White House lawyer, Jane
Sherburne, is once again a good source because she apparently never learned the case well
enough to do a good job of covering up.
Marsha [Scott] and Webb [Hubbell] found
Sheila Anthony at home with Vince Fosters other sister and her daughter, who was
visiting from out of town. Marsha told them what had happened. They discussed the
importance of finding Beryl Anthony, Sheilas husband, who was out with Fosters
two sons, and also called Barbara Pryor. Eventually the group headed for the Foster house.
This, on the record, is before anyone has
gone to the Foster home to make the death notification. Now lets fast forward a few
pages in Ms. Sherburnes memorandum. The names in bold mean that that persons
account of the evening is being related:
WatkinsBetween 10 and 11, the
President appeared (at the Foster house) with [Mack] McLarty. At around 10:30, McLarty and
Watkins, and possibly David Gergen, had a conversation during which McLarty asked if a
suicide note had been found; someone said, maybe we should look for a note.
McLarty -- Stayed at the Foster
house for about an hour. Senator and Mrs. Pryor, Sheila Foster Anthony, Beryl Anthony,
several neighbors, a physician called by Senator Pryor, David Watkins and his wife, and
Webb Hubbell were there.
So, earlier in the evening Vinces
brother-in-law, Beryl Anthony, had been out with Vinces two sons, but, from
McLartys account, by the time he and the president arrived at the Foster home Mr.
Anthony was there. Does it not stand to reason that the sons would have been there as
Now lets go back and look at some
more of John Rollas testimony of July 20, 1995. This time he is being interviewed by
the chief minority counsel of the DAmato Committee, Richard Ben-Veniste.
BEN-VENISTE. Now, there was a point where
there was so many people in the house. The President had come. There were, literally,
dozens of people who had come to the home spontaneously to comfort Mrs. Foster and Vincent
Fosters two sisters, who were present there as well. Is that so?
ROLLA. There wasnt dozens. We had
Mr. Watkins and his wife with us, then there was Mr. Hubbell and the two sisters and maybe
one of their husbands. I think there were four or five other people besides the four of us
that originally got there and, at that point, about 10:50 p.m. or somewhere around there,
the President walked in with one Secret Service agent.
That husband of one of the sisters would
not be Sharon Bowmans because he was in Arkansas. That leaves Beryl Anthony, but
Rolla does say "maybe" when speaking of that husbands presence.
Lets look at another source. This is
Webb Hubbell speaking.
The little living room was filling up
fast. Senator David Pryor and his wife Barbara. Beryl and Sheila and Sharon. Bruce
Lindsay. Mickey Kantor. Mac McLarty. My son Walter had heard and came to be with us. Cars
were jammed in the tiny street outside. At about 11 P.M., the President arrived. Hillary
was in Little Rock with her mother.
Rollas recollection, then, is
probably correct. Beryl Anthony, the husband of Sheila Foster Anthony was there when Rolla
was because Beryl was there before Bill Clinton arrived, according to this account by
Hubbell.. The circumstantial evidence is growing quite strong that the two sons, with whom
Beryl, for some unknown reason, had been out on the town, were also at the house. But the
evidence, in the final analysis, is a bit more than circumstantial. Here Senator Barbara
Boxer of the DAmato Committee is questioning Hubbell on July 19, the day before
Officers Rolla and Braun (with coaxing from Senator Sarbanes) told the committee that the
sons were not there.
SENATOR BOXER. So you would say that--when
you say that that night, although--there were how many people from the White House? I
think youve testified, I thought, to about a half dozen. Were there at least that
HUBBELL. At least that many. Im sure
there were more, and the days blend together, but that night, I know the President came.
Mr. Gergen came. Mack was there. David Watkins was there. Bruce Lindsey was there, but
Im sure there were other people there. We were--the room was full. Senator Pryor was
there and Barbara, Beryl Anthony got there later, the kids got there. It was a typical
scene and as I said, the phone was ringing off the wall. People were calling from Little
Rock, had seen it on CNN in total disbelief, like the rest of us.
There you have it, Hubbell remembered
"the kids," just as he recalled the presence of Beryl Anthony. Jane Sherburne
must have been correct that they had been out together. Now here they were at the Foster
house with the crowd, but no one on the Senate panel takes any note of it, and the fiction
continues that they were not located. Senator Boxer follows with a leading question about
the unlikelihood that anyone in that circumstance would have been concerned about
searching for documents, and quickly yields the rest of her time to the minority counsel,
Ben-Veniste, who continues with leading questions of his own on the subject of the
handling of documents in Fosters White House office. Hubbell had let the cat out of
the bag, but these two quickly stuffed it back in, and apparently no one was the wiser.
Those who think they have followed this
case quite closely might recall that there was a minor stink raised at the July, 1994,
Senate Banking Committee hearings on Foster when Cheryl Braun said she had been pushed
away from Sheila Anthony at the Foster house by Hubbell. In retrospect that looks like a
#9, "confession and avoidance" and a #13, "create a distraction" in
the Techniques for Truth Suppression. The real story, in all likelihood, is that the sons
reacted quite spontaneously and naturally to the outrageous cock-and-bull story that their
very stable and responsible father had committed suicide. They probably raised holy hell
at the house that night. The fear must have been very great that they would blow the lid
off the cover-up right off the bat if they continued in that vein. They might have even
threatened that they would go to the newspapers, perhaps even to the great Watergate
investigator, Bob Woodward, who was still at The Washington Post.
Somehow, the danger of the two sons
had to be neutralized. It had to be demonstrated to them in no uncertain terms just how
futile, how hopeless were their protests. They had to be shown just how strong and united
were the treacherous powers ranged against them. What better object lesson could there
have been than the Washington Post report, citing David Gergen, that the police had
never even made it into the Foster home that night. The list is quite long of very
powerful people, including the president and Gergen himself who knew that that was nothing
but a bald-faced lie, but they let the lie stand. I later asked Gergen after a National
Press Club panel discussion how he could make such a statement, which, by that time, had
been revealed as untrue. He told me that he was just passing on what he had been told. I
did not know at the time that Gergen was actually at the house that night and was lying
once again to cover up the original lie. If intimidating the sons with their brazenness
was what they were about, the choice of Gergen instead of regular White House spokesperson
Dee Dee Myers to tell the original lie was appropriate because the sons no doubt knew that
Gergen had been at the house that night. The choice of the powerful Post to tell
the lie was a good stroke as well, because the reporter the sons were most likely to know,
Walter Pincus, whose wife is from Little Rock, had also been at the house that night, and
had no doubt been seen by the family.
Vincent Foster III, in the summer of 1993,
was preparing to start his senior year in college. John Brugh Foster was as yet a year
away. But in a span of less than two weeks they would learn more about this country than
they would ever learn in an American college. They would learn that, in the United States
today as it was in the old Soviet Union, the lie is king.
I am not the only one to notice
serious lying going on by key figures associated with the Foster death. Recall the
reaction, discussed in "Dreyfus 5," of Detective Pete Markland of the U.S. Park
Police upon hearing that White House Counsel, Bernard Nussbaum, had reported his office
finding 27 pieces of a torn-up note in Fosters briefcase:
"Bullshit! Either it didnt come
out of the briefcase, or Nussbaum was lying that he didnt see the note."
Markland had been present on July 22 when
Nussbaum had emptied out the briefcase and inventoried it. Since there could be no reason
why Nussbaum would have lied about not seeing the note initially, the implication of the
Markland remark is obvious. The provenance of the note, like the note itself, is a
fabrication. Marklands reaction is akin to the observation of a friend of mine upon
learning the official initial details of the Foster death, "It was either a murder
staged to look like a suicide or a suicide staged to look like a murder."
We have observed how this note, which for
a number of reasons is as obviously fraudulent as was the Panizzardi telegram in the
Dreyfus Affair, was first withheld so suspense could build about its contents and, since
then, has been repeatedly referred to by the authorities and the journalistic community as
virtual proof of Fosters suicidal frame of mind. The most recent example comes from
the pen of The Posts famed Bob Woodward in his best-selling Shadow: Five
Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate 1974-1999:
Foster had singled out the Wall Street
Journal editors as those who "lie without consequence" in his famous suicide
note in which he had concluded that he was not meant for the spotlight of public life in
Notice how, contrary to the original
cautious characterization, the strangely peevish, disjointed scribbling worthy of a high
school sophomore has now become "his famous suicide note," with the penultimate
sentence duly emphasized. All that is missing is the ballyhooed last line, "Here
ruining people is considered sport." Woodward, once portrayed by the handsome,
open-faced Robert Redford as a crusading, idealistic young reporter in All the
Presidents Men, has now come down to squeezing the last bit of mileage out of a bald
lie in the form of a government forgery. It kind of makes you wonder about the real role
of this Yale graduate and former Naval intelligence officer in the Watergate episode,
Even more important to the official
suicide conclusion and the media-concocted suicide "consensus" than the bogus
note is the bogus Foster autopsy. We have discussed its importance and the reasons for our
characterization elsewhere. Finally, though, while lying is our subject, we must share
with you this exchange of letters between Foster autopsy doctor, James C. Beyer, and the
father of the late Tommy Burkett, Thomas D. Burkett. They are taken from the Burkett
familys web site at http://www.clark.net/pub/tburkett/pacc/PACC.html
. They speak volumes about Dr. Beyers probity:
Department of Health Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
NORTHERN VIRGINIA DISTRICT
9797 BRADDOCK ROAD
FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA 22032-1700
December 1, 1992
Mr. Thomas D. Burkett
13456 Muirkirk Lane
Herndon, VA. 22071
RE: Thomas C. Burkett
As I have attempted to explain in replying
to your previous letters regarding photographs from the postmortem examination on Thomas
C. Burkett, a photograph of the right side of his head was never taken. Therefore, I have
furnished you with copies of all available photographs which you could have viewed on
January 2, 1992.
James C. Beyer
Deputy Chief Medical Examiner
* * * * *
13456 Muirkirk Lane
Herndon, VA 22071
Dec. 5, 1992
Dr. James C. Beyer
Deputy Chief Medical Examiner 9797 Braddock Road
Fairfax, VA 22032-1700
RE: Your responses to requests for
information regarding the location of and custodians of photos of the body of our son,
Thomas C. Burkett
In our letter of Nov. 29, we requested
information regarding the present location of and the custodian of the photo I saw in your
office on Jan, 2, 1992. The photo was of the right side of the head and the upper torso.
The body was unclothed and lying on a table. You pulled that picture out after I asked why
the injury to the right ear did not appear on the autopsy report even though both funeral
directors and others who saw the body commented on it. On April 7, 1992, in my presence,
our lawyer asked about other photos when you showed him the close-up of the face. In your
answer you acknowledged the existence of other photos but said they were " police
photos" and we couldn't see them. Now you say in your letter of Dec. 1 that there
were no other photos and that I could not have viewed any others on Jan. 2.
You are lying.
Thomas D. Burkett
1. Letter to M. Felix Faure, president of
the Republic (Jaccuse}, in LAurore, 13 January 1898.
Reprinted in The Dreyfus Affair, Jaccuse and Other Writings, Alain Pages,
editor, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), pp. 51, 52.
2. Quoted by Robert Conquest in Tyrants
and Typewriters, Communiques from the Struggle for Truth. (Lexington, MA: Lexington
Books, 1989), pp. 53-54.
3. Zola, op. cit., pp. 51, 52.
4. "Report of the Independent Counsel
In Re Vincent W. Foster, Jr.," Washington, D.C., June 30, 1994, p. 50. (Fiske Report)
5. "Report on the Death of Vincent W.
Foster, Jr., by the Office of Independent Counsel in Re: Madison Guaranty Savings &
Loan Association," Filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit, Oct. 10, 1997, (Starr Report) p. 59.
6. Fiske Report, p. 8.
7. "Fifteenth Report by the House
Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Investigation of the White House Travel
Office Firings and Related Matters," September 26, 1996, p. 667.
8. Ibid., p. 665. Ms. Sherburne is
actually uncritically relaying the first-hand account of White House aide David Watkins
here, so he is really the more culpable liar of the two.
9. "Hearings before the Special
Committee to Investigate Whitewater Development Corporation and Related Matters
(DAmato Committee), Vol. I, The Inquiry into Whether Improper Conduct Occurred
Regarding the Way in which White House Officials Handled Documents in the Office of White
House Deputy Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr., Following His Death," p. 175.
10. Ibid. pp. 205-206.
11. The role of the FBI in the original
investigation has been downplayed by all concerned, including the putative critic of the
government, Christopher Ruddy. Note, however, that when the initial suicide conclusion was
reached on August 10, 1993, one of the people making the announcement and taking questions
was Robert Bryant of the FBI. The FBI also sent investigators to the White House and the
Old Executive Office Building in the days immediately after Fosters death.
Fiskes primary investigators came from the ranks of the FBI and then, as we noted in
"Dreyfus 3," Kenneth Starr kept Robert Fiskes FBI men on the job. In
essence, there have not been three investigations but only one big investigation/cover-up
by the FBI from the beginning.
12. Starr Report, pp. 83, 84
13. "Fifteenth Report" op. cit.,
14. Ibid., p. 665
16. DAmato Committee Hearings, op.
cit., p. 163.
17. Webb Hubbell, Friends in High
Places (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1997), p. 250.
18. DAmato Committee Hearings, op.
cit., p. 101.
19. In a previous article on the Foster
case entitled "The Counsel, the Cop, and the Keys," I made note of the fact that
a surprising number of people involved in the Foster case cover-up had also been involved
in Watergate and/or had gone toYale University. I dont know how I did it, but I
managed to overlook David Gergen. He is not only a Yale graduate, but his tenure as White
House adviser covers not only Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush, but Richard
Nixon as well.
20. Dan E. Moldea, A Washington
Tragedy, How the Death of Vincent Foster Ignited a Political Firestorm (Washington,
DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1998), p. 104. In addition to Marklands report
contradicting Nussbaum, recounted in "Dreyfus 5," we have this from Moldea on p.
87, "Markland has a clear view of Fosters briefcase through the opening in the
late deputy counsels desk and observes Nussbaum each time he handles it. At one
point, Markland watches Nussbaum as he tilts the briefcase back and forth while its
still on the floor, apparently making sure that its empty.
21. New York: Simon and Schuster, p. 303.
Surveying the index we find that Woodward mentions the Foster death on 22 pages. It
certainly deserves to be put on the list of major Foster cover-up books by prominent
journalists. The quote we have given is quite representative. Here are some more:
p. 232, when he first mentions the
discovery of Fosters body: "...from all indications it was a suicide.
p. 249, "Clinton reminisced on
p. 260, Pathologist Charles S. Hirsch,
working for Robert Fiske, describes the case as a "...no brainer. The evidence
overwhelmingly showed it was a suicide."
p. 270, "[Kenneth Starr] would walk
over every inch of ground to assure the public that Fiskes findings had been
p. 355, "In July, Starr announced
that after an exhaustive investigation he had concluded that Vince Foster committed
p. 416, "On June 25...the Supreme
Court closed off the last possible avenue for Starr to get new information on the Vince
p, 435, "[President Clinton] recalled
his mothers reaction to Vince Fosters suicide, "Every man has his
breaking point. We just dont know where it is."
Curiously, to those who have not yet
figured out the deception that goes into Americas cover-up game, as of the date of
this writing, the leading recommended book on Christopher Ruddys prominent
"conservative" web site, http://www.newsmax.com , is none other than
Woodwards Shadow. Not far down the list is Front Row at the White House:
My Life and Times, by Helen Thomas. This latter book, which routinely refers to the
Foster "suicide" in at least two places, came out several months after Ms.
Thomas has been personally presented the suppressed Knowlton addendum disproving the
suicide thesis by my friend, Turley. Continuing his strange love affair with The
Washington Post, Ruddy also touts Uncovering Clinton: A Reporters Story,
by perhaps the leading media conspirator in the Foster cover-up, Michael Isikoff. In the
past, Newsmax has touted Spin Cycle, by The Posts "media
critic," Howard Kurtz, a book that belittles the reporting efforts of Ambrose
Evans-Pritchard of the Sunday Telegraph of London and buys in completely to the
"Communications Stream of Conspiracy Commerce" attributing all serious scandal
inquiry to right-wing fanatics financed by Richard Mellon Scaife. Newsmax also used to
list "conservative" Ann Coulters High Crimes and Misdemeanors along
with a blurb, "Chris Ruddy recommends this book." High Crimes has an
entire cover-up chapter on Foster that begins with the observation that Kenneth Starr had
laid to rest all doubts that the death was anything but a suicide. I like to think that my
repeated reminders of that fact on the Internet had something to do with its removal from
the site, but as we see from these other books being touted, a man bent on covering-up
cannot be kept down.
Oh, by the way, now that Bob Woodward has
finally jumped into the Foster cover-up with both feet, he, who did not yet qualify when I
wrote "The Counsel, the Cop, and the Keys," now moves to the head of the list of
those people who have been players in both the Watergate and "Fostergate"
episodes and are also graduates of Yale University.
Here are two letters that I sent to Robert
Anderson, the producer of the infamous October 8, 1995, Mike Wallace interview of reporter
Christopher Ruddy on 60 Minutes.
November 10, 1995
Mr. Robert Anderson
555 W. 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
Dear Mr. Anderson:
I see that your man Mike Wallace has taken
exception to some things said about your 60 Minutes program in Marlin Fitzwaters
book, even going so far as to accuse Fitzwater of telling "bald-faced lies."
Speaking of which, in his by-now infamous, skillfully edited piece featuring journalist
Christopher Ruddy as a sly, dishonest money grubber Mr. Wallace makes the following
statement: "The forensic evidence shows that the fatal bullet had been fired into
Fosters mouth from the gun found in Fosters hand and that Fosters thumb
had pulled the trigger."
You surely must know that as lies go that
one is a big time whopper, one of the most egregious ever told on prime time television,
and worse, it is an intentional misrepresentation of the facts that goes right to the
heart of the Vince Foster death case. The known forensic evidence does nothing of the
sort. Without the bullet, which is still yet to be found, there is simply no way of
connecting the apparent head wounds to the revolver found in Fosters hand. All that
could be said from Dr. Beyers autopsy is that there is a possibility that the wounds
were made by a large caliber weapon firing a high-velocity bullet corresponding to the
revolver with the spent shell casing found in Fosters hand, and that the
weapons barrel was deep in the mouth at the time the trigger was pulled. But there
is much evidence, both within the autopsy and without, which doesnt just fail to
support that conclusion, but actually contradicts it.
A .38 caliber Colt revolver has a high
sight and a large recoil. That combination almost guarantees chipped teeth if the gun was
fired as Wallace so authoritatively says it was, especially if the gun and the hand are to
end up all the way down by the side of the leg. No such chipped teeth were noted in the
autopsy. Dr. Beyer did record the presence of powder burns in the soft palate of the
mouth, but curiously, the Fiske panel of pathologists, who, ostensibly, relied exclusively
on Dr. Beyers report, said there were no "flame burns," which is
essentially the same thing, in the mouth. The gaping exit wound which Dr. Beyer depicted
in his autopsy diagram is characteristic of the .38, but all other known evidence appears
to contradict Beyers observations. No other person known to have seen the body has
described such a wound. Chief Medical Examiner Donald Haut said the wound appeared to have
been made with low velocity bullet. Others thought there was no exit wound at all. Still
others thought they saw a small wound below the ear such as one might expect from the
entrance of a small caliber bullet. The blown out skull and brain matter of the Beyer
diagram were nowhere in evidence at the site where the body was found. To further confuse
matters, one witness, known as CW, says there was no gun in the hand when he saw the body
and another, emergency worker Richard Arthur, insists that the gun he saw was an automatic
and not a revolver. He even drew a picture of the automatic for his Senate interviewers.
There is, as you surely must know,
additional reason to question Dr. Beyers honesty. He checked on the gunshot wound
chart that he took X-rays, while the attending policeman wrote that "Dr. Byer
(sic)" reported that the X-rays showed no bullet fragments in the head (This is not a
minor point. A bullet fragment of sufficient size might have been traceable to the gun
which fired it.). Yet Dr. Beyer maintains that he took no X-rays, which is quite
convenient for him if they, as seems likely from all the other evidence, contradict his
diagram. In addition, his performance in two other recent autopsies, one of which
apparently involves dastardly political corruption similar to the Foster case, seems at
the very least criminally negligent.
The final assertion that the evidence
shows that Fosters thumb pulled the trigger is just silly. How did he handle the gun
without leaving his fingerprints on it? And if there was an indentation on his thumb such
as that which Rep. Clinger says he saw in the Polaroids, it could easily have resulted
from rigor mortis setting in after the pistols trigger had been wedged against the
thumb by someone else post mortem. In fact, that is the most likely explanation. The
trigger recoil that some have hinted at simply doesnt exist, and if it did, a livid
thumb would quickly spring back to its original configuration.
So why, Mr. Anderson, would Mr. Wallace
tell us such a bald-faced lie over a matter of such consequence to the nation, and when do
you plan to correct it? Now that the most expert opinion available to date tells us quite
confidently that the "suicide note" was not even a particularly good forgery, I
would say the time for you people to salvage whats left of your reputation is
P.S. I didnt even get into the
matter of the improbable, if not impossible, grip Foster would have had to have had on the
weapon to produce the front cylinder gap powder smudges on his fingers that Dr. Beyer
reported and photos apparently show.
* * * * *
Jan. 2, 1996
Mr. Robert Anderson
555 W. 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
I have been reflecting on our telephone
conversation which you initiated as a response to my November 10, 1995, letter to you
charging that in a 60 Minutes piece that you produced Mike
Wallace made false statements concerning
the forensic evidence in the Vince Foster death case.
Before my memory of the conversation fades
Id like to get the gist of it down in writing, both for the sake of the record and
because I have found, after the fashion of Sir Francis Bacon ("...writing maketh an
exact man..."), that it helps me greatly to clarify by thinking.
My recollection is that, rather than
addressing yourself point by point to the issues I raise in my letter, you made two main
points in your defense. You invoked the authority of the four pathologists whom Special
Prosecutor Robert Fiske had employed, saying that they had provided to you
incontrovertible evidence of suicide, and you wrapped yourself in the prestige of CBS
News, saying that because you have no particular axe to grind, if, in your professional
opinion a thing is adjudged to be true, we should all accept it as true.
Another, and perhaps the principal, reason
for my deciding at this time to set pen to paper again was that I was suddenly struck by
the consistency , not in the substance of your argument but in the technique you employ
both in the 60 Minutes piece and in your oral defense of it. A few of the Foster case
characters are there, but they are out of place, invoked as authorities outside their
expertise or experience while much better authorities are passed up. If you had been the
producer of The Wizard of Oz, I get the impression you would have cast Judy Garland
as the Wicked Witch of the West and Ray Bolger as a munchkin.
Recall that I suggested to you that,
because Fiskes doctors had had to rely upon Dr. James Beyers autopsy report
for the lions share of their analysis, eschewing, as they did, exhumation of the
body, you would do better to cite Dr. Beyer as your authority. You responded that there
would be a problem with that because Dr. Beyer had told "five different
stories." You were admitting, it seems to me, that the man that most reasonable
people would agree was in the best position to know about the nature of the wounds and
their possible connection to Fosters voluntary actions is wholly unreliable. This is
a very serious concession, indeed, which Im sure would interest the viewers of 60
minutes. You went on to say that you had seen persuasive evidence that the four doctors
had come up with independently, but when I asked why they didnt include such
evidence in the Fiske Report you had no explanation that I can recall.
Though the Fiske doctors are not the best
authorities on the nature of Fosters wounds, their opinion might have carried weight
on the significance of a groove or depression on the inside of Fosters right thumb
that Rep. William Clinger says he saw in the Polaroids taken by the Park Police. On 60
Minutes Rep. Clinger says that more than anything convinced him that Foster pulled the
trigger. Yet, in their three and one half pages in the Fiske Report, the doctors have
nothing to say about it and none are interviewed on the program. Could it be that a doctor
might hurt his professional reputation making such a claim while a layman, albeit a
ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives, can say whatever he pleases?
On your TV program we were also told that
the numerous, many-colored carpet fibers found on Fosters clothing came from new
carpets installed in Fosters Georgetown townhouse that he could have easily picked
up merely by walking on them. And is it someone from a police laboratory who tells us
this? No, it is the "Foster family lawyer," James Hamilton. Unmentioned is the
fact that Hamilton was also an important member of the Clinton political transition team
and the author of a memo to Clinton counseling stonewalling in the Whitewater case. His
word, which is not only tainted, but is in this case obvious nonsense if you just think
about it a little, is simply taken as final.
The criminal lawyer Hamilton is also cited
by Mike Wallace as his authority that Foster was depressed, but when interviewed on screen
Hamilton hardly corroborates the characterization, saying only that he "had been
told" that Foster had been experiencing bouts of anxiety, or something to that
effect. Was there no doctor in the house? Were you unable to interview Dr. Larry Watkins
of Little Rock, Arkansas, the man who Fiske tells us prescribed an anti-depressant to
Foster after talking to him on the phone, or are you as lacking in confidence in him as
you are Dr. Beyer?
Then there is the matter of the impure
motives, the profiteering which you strongly suggest is impelling the critics of the
government. A couple of weeks ago I heard a blindly pro-Clinton local talk show host say
that "the Western Journalism Center has made a half million dollars on the sale of
its Foster case videos." I called him on it and he cited 60 Minutes as his authority.
I had to remind him that your authority, in turn, was the lawyer for the U.S. Park
Policeman, Kevin Fornshill, whose suit against Chris Ruddy and the WJC was thrown out by a
judge because of the officers irrelevance to Ruddys assertions. You no doubt
know that Jim Davidson, the editor of the newsletter Strategic Investment whose video was
the actual one in question, has offered to pay Mike Wallace five times his independently
verified profits on the video if Wallace will appear with him to defend his charges in a
public forum. Wallaces failure to respond tells us all we need to know about the
truth of this particular charge.
Speaking of Officer Fornshill, he is your
authority on the condition of the death (?) scene even though he was not a part of the
Park Police investigative team, such as it was, and as the discoverer of the body (the
second time), was so unobservant that he claims never to have seen a gun in Fosters
hand even thought the light would have been quite good shortly after 6:00 pm daylight time
on July 20. Surely you could have found more reliable witnesses to query about the scene
of the bodys discovery.
Continuing your pattern, when I reminded
you of the three handwriting experts having declared the oddly-discovered,
fingerprintless, torn-up note a forgery you told me that you would rather believe the
widow who has ostensibly said she thought the note was authentic. By the standards which
you have set for yourself, I should surely think you would.
When all else fails Mr. Wallace himself
becomes the authority, as with his statement I noted in the earlier letter about the
"proof" that the gun in the hand was the death weapon and his assertion of the
great difficulty anyone would have transporting the body to its discovery site undetected.
He can make that latter assertion only because he works out of New York and not
Washington. If he were stationed here he would encounter every day people who could easily
drive out to fort Marcy Park and see for themselves, as I have done many times, what a
ridiculous statement he had made. Wallace also performs a pretty neat mind reading trick,
explaining what Lisa Foster meant when she told The New Yorker that Vince was
"feeling trapped." Wallace says that it was because he knew he had to go to a
psychiatrist, but he feared for his career should people learn of it. Lisa does not
explain what she means by the "feeling trapped" statement, but since she also
says in the interview she was unaware of any depression, Wallaces gratuitous
interpretation is almost certainly erroneous as well.
Taken all in all what you have
accomplished is exactly the opposite of what you set out to do. You tell me, implicitly,
that I should go with the people who have no political agenda, who are politically
non-partisan. Theyre the ones to believe. Well, thats me. Until November,
94, I had voted Democratic all my life, including for Bill Clinton in 1992. I also
watch the CBS Evening News, and thats another reason why I think Ill just
trust myself on this one. You obviously want the American people to believe that this was
a simple suicide, but I cant help telling myself that if this the best case CBS,
with its vast, though deservedly dwindling resources, can make, then it surely must have
David Martin may be reach by email at email@example.com.