Vince Foster's Valuable Murder

Our news media are currently giving the Boston Marathon bombing story the full Vince Foster (charged and convicted of self-murder in 1993) treatment.  That’s not good.  A publication described in this 2000 article as “a major news magazine” has since been reduced to a mere online product, no more or less accessible to the public than my home page.  That is good.  – David Martin, April 25, 2013

When a fellow member of the human race has died violently we often hear the wish expressed that he or she will not have “died in vain.”  Usually, unfortunately, it’s only a forlorn hope.  It’s just one more tragedy in this veil of tears through which we pass.  But there are instances where the desperate wish is fulfilled.  Such an instance, to my mind, is the death of my former Davidson College mate, Deputy White House Counsel, Vincent W. Foster, Jr.

For those willing to open their eyes only a little bit, no episode reveals so simply and clearly the complete corruption of America’s major institutions as we head into the 21st century.  How easily did a supine Congress, led by the putative opposition, go along with the obvious cover-up of Foster’s murder by not one, but two “independent” counsels (and now, actually, three with the replacement of Kenneth Starr by Robert Ray)!  How willingly did a number of “experts” in the medical and psychology professions cash in their credibility by lending their assistance to the murder cover-up!  How complete was the silence about it from America’s intellectual leaders, if such creatures even exist.  Are you listening, Noam Chomsky?  And most important of all, what an expensive, Herculean effort its massive propaganda apparatus, otherwise known as America’s news and entertainment media and its publishing industry, have had to put forth to nail down the impression in our minds that, contrary to the evidence that is as plain as the nose on your face, the experienced courtroom litigator, poor Vincent Foster, was such a weakling at heart that he was moved to suicide by a smattering of public criticism that was only remotely and tangentially directed his way!

Normally we think that those who read newspapers are better informed than those who do not, that those who also read public affairs magazines are still better informed, and that those who read books on such subjects are the best informed of all. With the Foster death, so thoroughgoing has the propaganda effort been, unless one is a particularly adept reader between the lines or a diligent enough researcher to have stumbled across the generally revealing, but mainly disinformational book by Newsmax editor, Christopher Ruddy, or the still more revealing book by English reporter, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, matters are turned on their heads. Generally, the more deeply one reads in the mainstream sources, the more badly is one misinformed.

All you need to do to test the thesis is to go down to the library and browse through the titles that deal with politics over the past decade. Now that even includes some history texts that have been brought up to date through at least the first Clinton administration. Some authors to look for are Bob Woodward, Michael Isikoff, Howard Kurtz, David Broder/Haynes Johnson, Susan Schmidt/Michael Weisskopff, Gene Lyons, James Stewart, Jeffrey Toobin, Gail Sheehy, Richard Posner, Gary Aldrich, Barbara Olson, Ann Coulter, and David Brock, for starters. Go to the index and look for "Vincent Foster" and follow to the text. Then go to the google search engine on the Internet and type in "Vincent Foster." Note the contrast. Even the phonies, who are on the Internet in superabundance, must, for the most part, begin with the concession that, of course, there was a major cover-up in the Foster case if they want to have any credibility at all.

A particularly instructive example of the Foster propaganda genre has only recently come to my attention. First published in January of 1993, before the Clintons had taken office, it was updated with a new edition in 1999. The author is of the Margaret Carlson, Eleanor Clift stripe, that is, she writes for a major news magazine, in this case, Newsweek, and she is an unabashed apologist for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Her name is Judith Warner and her book is deceptively titled, Hillary Clinton, the Inside Story. Here is a sample of what she has to say on the Foster death. What is most interesting about it is that it seems to have come from a script that might well be entitled, "What we want them to believe about the Foster death."

p. 189 Few people stopped to think about the fact that [Bill] Clinton had just lost one of his closest childhood friends. The word MYSTERY was what stuck in their minds. And the image of foul play endured tenaciously, even as inquiry after inquiry concluded that Foster had, in a moment of overwhelming despondency, taken his own life.

It turned out that he had recently started taking antidepressants. the names of two Washington psychiatrists were in his pocket when he died. It seems that the cruel pressures of Washington had proven too much for him.

pp. 224-225 Her mistakes had helped turn the tragedy of Vince Foster's suicide into a scandal. After Foster's death Hillary had been understandably concerned with protecting both the deceased man and his family's right to privacy. But there were so many questions left unanswered after Foster's life came to an end. There were many strange incidents in the hours and days after his death. And so many of the dangling threads seemed to lead right back to Hillary. For example;[sic] Foster's office hadn't been sealed off until ten-fifteen in the morning on the day after his death. The previous evening Bernard Nussbaum and her chief of staff, Maggie Williams, had gone to Foster's office allegedly to look for a suicide note. They stayed there for two hours. By the time outside investigators moved in for a look, some papers regarding the Clintons' personal affairs had been sent to their Washington attorney. This seemed particularly troubling since the billing records reappeared with Foster's handwriting on them.

Another mystery centered around Foster's despairing note--the twenty-seven torn pieces from a yellow legal pad, said to have been found in the bottom of Foster's briefcase, with one piece missing, a week after his death. The White House said at the time that it delayed its release in order to give Foster's widow, Lisa, and the president time to study it. But a memo discovered in August 1996 tied the secrecy once again to Hillary. What in other circumstances might have been seen as a very human reaction was now called obstruction of justice.

Now let's take it from the end and work back. Yes, indeed, there has been controversy about the note, as well there should be, but the "mystery" to which Warner refers is wholly artificial, obviously thrown in as a distraction. Yes, the newspapers told us that there was a delay in reporting the existence of the note, but why did the White House even tell the newspapers about the delay if they didn't want them to know about it?

What is far more mysterious about the note is how every one of its yellow pieces could have been overlooked when Foster's boss, Nussbaum, went through Foster's briefcase in the presence of several people and took everything he saw out of it and then declared it empty. According to author Dan E. Moldea, Park Police Detective, Pete Markland, one of those present when the contents of the briefcase were initially examined, upon hearing of the reported discovery of the note exclaimed, "Bullshit. Either it didn't come out of the briefcase, or Nussbaum was lying that he didn't see the note."

The mystery of the note hardly ends there. Paper is a quite good collector of fingerprints, but in spite of the fact that it had been torn into 28 pieces, this note had no fingerprints on it at all. If Foster had written it, did he wear gloves as he did so and then tore it up? And why would he have torn it up if he was going to retain it among his possessions? And why did the Park Police use an unqualified member of the Capitol Hill police force to authenticate it, using only one other document for a comparison? Why did the authorities refuse to share even a photocopy of the note with the public? Why did "Foster family lawyer," Clinton crony James Hamilton write Janet Reno insisting that the original note immediately be turned over to the Foster family, making sure that it never made it into the public domain?

All these facts, pointedly withheld from us by the author Warner, in addition to the silly, sophomoric text of the note, so inconsistent with the smooth craftings of this polished litigator and writer of elegant legal briefs, practically scream "forgery." And, indeed, that is exactly what three handwriting experts determined when a copy of the note leaked out and they were able to compare it, independently of one another, to a dozen or more samples of Foster's other writings. To be sure, Kenneth Starr was able to find another "expert," one with a number of government connections, to say that the handwriting was authentically Foster's. His report explaining his reasoning, unlike the reports of the other three, remains secret, however, and no one from the press has publicly questioned why we can't see it or any of the other experts' reports that underpin Starr's suicide conclusion. They didn't complain, in fact, when Starr's spokesman announced his initial suicide conclusion and hinted that the report supporting it might never be released to the public.

Now let's look at Warner's account of the goings on in Foster's office. Like the hullabaloo about the "delay in reporting" the "discovery" of the note, this, too, is an intentional distraction. It distracts us from the much more sinister goings on at Fort Marcy Park (See and at the Foster house (See Part 6 of my "America's Dreyfus Affair, the Case of the Death of Vincent Foster."} Also, as I detail in Part 5 of "Dreyfus," the intentional leak of the information that "Whitewater documents" were among those things spirited out of Foster's office was used as a pretext to formalize and personalize the cover-up of the Foster murder under the guise of appointing an independent counsel to investigate the Whitewater land deal and the corruption surrounding it.

Notice, also, the omission of the name of the third person involved in the Foster-office foray. That is White House chief of administration, Patsy Thomasson. By 1999, too much had been learned about her former employer, convicted drug dealer Dan Lasater. Lasater was also the former employer of another convicted drug dealer, Clinton half-brother, Roger Clinton, and a state-favored bond underwriter in Arkansas. It's better that the public not be reminded of the strategic placement of one of his minions in the White House.

Another inaccuracy with regard to the papers in the office might just be a Freudian slip. The documents that were spirited out, we are told, went to "Foster family lawyer," James Hamilton, not to the Clintons' lawyer. But Hamilton is a man with old ties to the Clintons, and his aggressive work in the murder cover-up makes one wonder who he was really working for.

Backing up some more, we have the evidence that Warner marshals to try to convince the reader that Foster was depressed enough to commit suicide. He had a paper with the names of two psychiatrists in his pocket when he died, she tells us.

What a sloppy job our propagandists have done with the psychiatrists story! First, seven days after the death, NBC news reported that a document had been found in Foster's office that indicated that he was depressed and had been seeking medical treatment. The source given was "a person involved in the investigation." The next day, Michael Isikoff in The Washington Post revealed that the document was a list of psychiatrists. He cited "federal officials" as his source that a note with psychiatrists names on it had been found in Foster's office by "White House officials." He didn't say how many names were on the list. Douglas Jehl in The New York Times on the same day reported on the NBC revelation.

The next day, July 29, 1993, Jehl reported that the note had been found in Foster's possessions and it contained the names of "at least two" psychiatrists. On the following day, Isikoff, writing with Ann Devroy in the Post, changed the story and told us that the note had been found in Foster's possession. He made no mention of the fact that he had told us two days before that the note had been found in Foster's office. The Post article also said that there were two names on the note, and gave us their names. White House spokesperson, Dee Dee Myers, however, had reported at her press conference the day before that there were three names on the list.

That's the confusing state in which our propagandists left matters until about a year later when ninety pages of police documents were released to the public. There we find the number of psychiatrists given as three and the place where the note was found was Foster's car. This is curious on a number of counts. If the police found the note in Foster's car, why is it not specifically listed among the things reported found there? And if they were specifically searching for indications that Foster might have been suicidal, why did they let more than a week pass while the White House was saying that there were no indications of any sort of motive for Foster's "suicide?" The names of the three psychiatrists, like much else in the police report, were also blacked out, or "redacted.," even though two of them had already been identified by The Washington Post. Might there have been some concern about the handwriting?

Some time later, as part of the Senate Banking Committee's investigation of the Foster death, the police report was released again, and this time the blackout had been removed. Sure enough, there is something odd about the handwriting. The first name on the list, the one we see for the first time, Dr. Robert Hedaya, is handwritten in block letters while the other two are written in cursive. No indication has ever been given as to who might have done the writing.

Dr. Hedaya is interesting because we learn from the Senate documents that he told investigators that Sheila Anthony, Vince's sister, had called him on the Friday before Foster's death on Tuesday, informing him that Vince would be calling him to talk to him about his depressed state of mind. But we also learn from a report by lead Park Police investigator, John Rolla, that the police had called all three psychiatrists on July 22, two days after the death, and Rolla reports routinely that all three psychiatrists said that Foster was not a patient of theirs. Is it at all believable that Hedaya would have made no mention of the Anthony call and, if he did, that it would have escaped mention in Rolla's report. The best bet on this particular Rolla document is that it is a backdated forgery. Not only is it inconsistent in content with Dr. Hedaya's statement, but it is also inconsistent in its timing with other revelations about this note. Furthermore, to this admittedly untrained eye, the "John Rolla" signature at the bottom looks nothing like his signature on other documents.

So much for the list of psychiatrists. What about the revelation that Foster had "recently started taking antidepressants." Recently, indeed! The official story is that his family physician in Little Rock had them sent over from a pharmacy in Georgetown the day before his death and that he took a very small dose that very night. But the doctor says that although the medication is indicated for depression, the dosage level at which he prescribed it was as a sleeping pill. Furthermore, no record of Foster's call to the doctor nor the doctor's call to the pharmacy has ever been produced, nor has a written prescription or the bottle of pills themselves. No one at the Morgan Pharmacy, which reportedly delivered the pills, has been identified as the person who filled the prescription. Indications are very strong that it is just as bogus as the list of psychiatrists and the "suicide" note.

Speaking of bogus, it is also pure malarkey that Foster was one of Bill Clinton's "closest childhood friends." Clinton moved away from Hope to Hot Springs after kindergarten, and that was the end of any friendship they might have had.. The error here is a small one, and perhaps in this instance Warner can be forgiven for repeating what has become a popular myth. But neither she nor the great preponderance of her journalistic brethren can be forgiven for their active participation in the cover-up of Vince Foster's quite obvious murder. And if they would lie to us about this, isn't it a safe bet that they would also lie to us about such things as the Oklahoma City bombing, Waco, TWA 800, Egypt Air Flight 999, Pan Am 103, and any number of political assassinations? That is the real lesson of Vince Foster's death.

David Martin
November 26, 2000


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