Dissenting Memo Surfaces from Starr Team


Chief investigator of Vince Foster death smells a rat


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ItŐs an important historical document.  The team assembled by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to investigate the July 20, 1993, death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr., had been on the job for almost three months by November of 1994.  They had looked at the evidence gathered by the FBI, the U.S. Park Police, and special prosecutor Robert Fiske.  And the leader of the investigative team, Miguel Rodriguez, an assistant U.S. attorney from Sacramento, California, had discovered quite a large number of loose ends.


Before we continue further, an observation on the likely reaction to the revelations in this document is in order.  They will be ignored.  They thoroughly undermine the official lie that Foster committed suicide out of depression, and such notions are not to be entertained.  Anyone laboring under the misconception that our nationŐs writers of books on history and public policy are interested primarily in the truth needs to readjust his thinking.  We have the evidence to the contrary.  We are confident in our prediction because that has been the reaction to previous such disclosures.  In January of 1995, at the end of his rope, Rodriguez would tender his resignation.  We posted his resignation letter here in 2009, and it has been ignored.  It has been like a tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it. The Wikipedia page on Foster repeats all the official lies and freezes out such things as this resignation letter using the excuse that by its rules only what has been published by acceptable media, that is, mainstream newspapers, magazines, books, or web sites can be used as a source. 


A dozen years before, in September of 1997, over the strenuous objections of Starr himself, the three-judge panel that appointed him ordered that he include in his official report on FosterŐs death, issued a month later, the letter of the dissident witness, Patrick Knowlton, whose testimony had been falsified by the FBI.  That letter also completely contradicts and undermines the suicide conclusion.  As Hugh Turley revealed in the small local monthly, the Hyattsville Life and Times, the judges were motivated by the fear that if the letter were not appended, they ran the risk of "be[ing] charged as conspirators in the cover-up." 


The judges might have gotten themselves off the hook with their actions, but Starr and the remainder of his team, that is, less Rodriguez, remained on it along with the entire American opinion molding establishment.  They completely blacked out the news of the Knowlton letter, attached as an appendix.  The Washington Post, which was a very active party to the cover-up from the very first day, went so far as to post on its web site StarrŐs Report, but it carefully left off the appendix.


In denial of the Orwellian notion that underlies the efforts of the press, that is, that Ňignorance is strength,Ó and with the confidence expressed by Emile Zola in the Dreyfus Affair that truth will ultimately prevail, we feel obligated to make public Miguel RodriguezŐs 30-page memorandum memorializing his extremely frustrating November meeting with key members of the Starr team.  He begins:


Present for this meeting were Mark Tuohey, Brett Kavanaugh, Jeff Greene, and me.  The meeting was convened to discuss my review of the Foster death materials.


I began by citing my earlier memorandum indicating independent review observations, in summary.  I explained that (1) the Fiske counsel report conclusions are not fully supported by the existing record and that the report contains misstatements and supposed facts that are inconsistent with the record; (2) there is not ŇoverwhelmingÓ evidence in the existing record to support voluntary discharge of the weapon in suicide or to support that VF was alone the afternoon of his death; and (3) there is not ŇoverwhelmingÓ evidence to support the reportŐs conclusions regarding motivation for suicide.  Before any discussion, Tuohey disagreed.


We have added the emphasis. 


Tuohey is the politically well-connected Washington lawyer who was between Starr and Rodriguez on the staff of the Office of Independent Counsel (OIC).   Starr has been painted as a partisan Republican out to get the Clintons, but the man he chose as his right-hand man could hardly have been a more loyal Democratic Party operative.  Most recently Tuohey is said to be the front-runner as President ObamaŐs nominee for Ambassador to Ireland.  He is also married into the powerful Daley family of Chicago, partisan Democrats all.


Immediately below Rodriguez in the initial OIC pecking order was the ambitious 29-year-old Yalie, Kavanaugh.  When Rodriguez resigned, it was Kavanuagh who replaced him as lead investigator and who got to question the dissenting witness Knowlton when he was called before a grand jury.  One can be certain that Rodriguez would have performed somewhat differently from Kavanaugh in that role.  Here is how Richard Poe describes it in HillaryŐs Secret War:  


Perhaps the most telling indication of Starr's attitude toward Knowlton is the humiliating cross-examination to which this brave man was subjected before the grand jury.  Knowlton says that he was "treated like a suspect."  Prosecutor Brett Kavanaugh appeared to be trying to imply that Knowlton was a homosexual who was cruising Fort Marcy Park for sex.  Regarding the suspicious Hispanic-looking man he had seen guarding the park entrance, Kavanaugh asked, Did he "pass you a note?"  Did he "touch your genitals?"

Knowlton flew into a rage at Kavanaugh's insinuations.  [Ambrose] Evans-Pritchard writes that several African American jurors burst into laughter at the spectacle, rocking "back and forth as if they were at a Baptist revival meeting.  Kavanaugh was unable to reassert his authority.  The grand jury was laughing at him.  The proceedings were out of control."


When told of what transpired, Rodriguez responded, ŇWho asked him if he touched his genitals?  (Kavanaugh)  How could Brett stoop that low?  I can't believe Brett did that

Though decent people might be offended by the performance of the less-principled young understudy, the powers that be obviously were not.  When he took office in 2001 George W. Bush gave him a job in the same Office of the White House Counsel where Foster had worked, and then successfully nominated him to be a federal judge.  Rodriguez, in his later telephone conversation with Reed Irvine of Accuracy in Media* had been prescient:

The games are being played with people, you know, like, like Tuohey and, and – the young aspiring people, you know, who I used to work with back in that office – who will, will say and do what they have to, to move up the ladder.

He wasnŐt so young, but another member of the Starr team, John Bates, also moved up the ladder.  President Bush also made him a federal judge.

The fourth man at the meeting, Jeff Greene, is probably the least known.  He was a longtime homicide detective for the Washington, DC police.  He has since died.  FosterŐs body had been found outside his jurisdiction, across the Potomac River in Virginia and in a federal park.  If he was chosen for his sharp investigative skills, they were nowhere in evidence in the product that the OIC turned out.  It is altogether possible that all along Greene, while officially working for DC homicide, was an agent of one of our clandestine organizations like the CIA or the FBI, and was the real heavyweight at the meeting, put in place to make sure that no one got too far out of line.  An observation later made by Rodriguez about the various people at Fort Marcy Park might apply to Greene, as well:

God! I'm just brimming over, I'm bubbling over.  And I'm angry that I cannot respond.  I am angry myself.  Because there is much to be said.  Let me suggest to you, investigate, be investigative reporters.  Investigate these people too.  What background did they have? Wouldn't it be surprising if, these people were special liaisons in a prior life to, in some capacity.  And were there any other supervisor people out there?  And, and what were the backgrounds of some of those police that were out there?  There's a whole host of fertile ground out there.  And have you really identified all the main players out there at the park police?

The Memorandum

It is very clear what motivated Rodriguez to write this 30-page memorandum to ŇFile.Ó  It is the same as what motivated Judge John Butzner when he argued with his two colleagues for inclusion of KnowltonŐs letter with the Starr report.  He could see already that a cover-up was taking place.  He probably had already figured out that he was powerless to stop it, but he wanted the official record to show that he had tried.  (Partially covering her behind at the same time was RodriguezŐs assistant, paralegal Lucia Rambusch.  Her initials can be seen at the bottom of every page along with those of Rodriguez.)

To summarize all the anomalies in the investigations of the Park Police and the Fiske team that Rodriguez had discovered would require almost as many words as the memorandum itself.  His core suspicion is probably best captured in footnote 17 at the bottom of page 22 as he wrestles with the problem of disappearing or spoiled early photographs of the body, surviving photographs that contradict other surviving photographs, and witness testimony from county emergency workers that contradicts the testimony of the police and also contradicts what the later photographs show.  All the names are those of U.S. Park Police officers who were on the scene at Fort Marcy Park where FosterŐs body was discovered:

[Robert] Edwards apparently showed these photos to [Christine] Hodakievic, plus EdwardsŐ own photos.  Later, I suggested, after the corpse was staged with the revolver brought by [Cheryl] Braun, [Pete] Simonello and [John] Rolla. [sic, incomplete sentence] New photos were taken and thus [Franz] FerstlŐs were never produced to the OIC.  This explained the different arm/body distance, gun/hand postions, HodakievicŐs problems with the photos, FerstlŐs missing photos and EMT problems with the photos (and their observations of a different gun).

In short, Rodriguez was well on his way to discovering what later research has established almost conclusively, that the famous photo we have seen of FosterŐs dead hand clutching a black revolver with his thumb on the trigger was staged with a gun that was brought to the scene after the body was discovered.  Furthermore, he was pretty sure that Foster had been shot in the neck, just below the jaw line, and with a different weapon.  Any honest reader of the full memorandum can see that if any evidence is Ňoverwhelming,Ó it points to FosterŐs murder.

What Rodriguez DidnŐt Know

At the time of his meeting, Rodriguez actually had much stronger evidence available than he realized that Foster did not kill himself.  On page 14 he writes, ŇW2 (witness 2, Patrick Knowlton) saw VFŐs car parked where it was later found—at a front (approximately 4th) parking space as one enters the lotÉ.W2 clearly identified VFŐs car.Ó

Then on page 16 we have, ŇUpon returning to the parking area, W5 (Ňconfidential witness,Ó later identified as Dale Kyle) looked into VFŐs vehicle, the brown Honda, and observed VFŐs coat, briefcase, and tie.Ó

The problem here is that FosterŐs Honda (actually his daughterŐs car), was not brown, it was gray.  Apparently, Rodriguez had not seen the actual car but had relied upon the poor quality photographs taken by the Park Police and what would seem to have been the authoritative interview of Knowlton by the FBI.  Evans-Pritchard had not yet ferreted out Knowlton and shown him the FBI 302 (transcription of the interview).  Knowlton had, in fact, been adamant that the car he saw was an older model reddish-brown Honda Accord with Arkansas license plates than the later model Accord with Arkansas plates whose photograph was shown to him.  Agents Larry Monroe and William Columbell had resolved the problem by falsifying his testimony, a fact that Rodriguez did not yet know.

It is well established that Foster was lying dead in the back of the park at the time that Knowlton stopped by.  If that was not FosterŐs car that he saw then someone else had driven Foster to the park.

The other inadvertent error occurs on page 5.  In a schematic accounting for FosterŐs actions the last days of his life Rodriguez states for July 20, FosterŐs last day, Ň No one admits to know what work related tasks VF did in morning or what he was to do in afternoon.Ó

That might well have been true when Rodriguez wrote his memo in December of 1994.  However, we have discovered in the National Archives an OIC interview of White House intern Kyle Chadwick conducted by FBI agent Russell Bransford on June 29, 1995 that updates that statement.  From the interview we learn that Chadwick and Foster had missed calls to one another concerning a Florida statute relating to tort reform.  They connected shortly after Chadwick discovered that Foster had returned his call at 12:40 pm.  Foster then told Chadwick by phone that he was pleased with the requested excerpt that Chadwick had copied, but would now like to see a copy of the entire statute. 

Had Rodriguez known of this exchange his argument that Foster was hardly in a suicidal frame of mind a short time before his death would have been strengthened.  He was going about his work as usual and assigning tasks that he would soon need to follow up on.

Miguel Rodriguez as Hamlet?

It didnŐt take Rodriguez very long to discover that something was, indeed, very rotten in the state of the Office of the Independent Counsel.  One might argue that his reaction to the discovery was well nigh heroic, going well beyond that of the Prince of Denmark in ShakespeareŐs play.  The memorandum we see here on display is some evidence of it, but his telephone conversations with Reed Irvine is much greater evidence.  He really did try to blow the whistle on the cover-up.  What he had found, though, is that the rottenness extended well beyond the OIC, the Clinton administration, or even the federal government.  The would-be whistle-blower had discovered that there was no one to blow the whistle to.  As he told Irvine:

I have talked to a number of people that – you know, from Time Magazine, Newsweek, Nightline, the New York Times, Boston Globe, the Atlanta whatever, um, you know there have been well over a hundred, and this – this matter is so sealed tight um, and, the reporters are all genuinely interested but the ah, the ah, um, – reporters are genuinely interested but the ah – when they start to get excited and they've got a story and they're ready to go, the editors – and they – I've gotten calls back, I've gotten calls back from all kinds of magazines worldwide, what the hell's wrong, why can't, you know, you were telling me that you, you didn't think this would go anywhere and sure enough I wrote the stories.

They went to all the trouble of writing, and then it got killed. Again, I, I, you know, I spent almost eleven hours with, with [Stephen] Labaton, or six hours with Labaton, and ah, you know, I know the guy knows, um, that there's a lot more, um, ah – I know, I know the New York Times has it – knows, and just won't ah, ah, I know that they won't do anything about it and I do know that, that many people have called me back. Reporters that I've spent a lot of time with called me back and said the editors won't allow it to go to press. The accepted media here has always had, ah, a certain take on all of this.  And there's been story lines from the get-go.

Balked at every turn, he submitted his resignation, went back to his U.S. attorneyŐs job in Sacramento, and dummied up from then on.  He apparently did what he could to see justice done when he was on the OIC staff, but when it comes to paying any major price for his efforts, he was certainly no Bradley Manning. 

But the comparison with Manning does not end there.  Listen carefully to RodriguezŐs voice as he talked to Irvine on the phone.  It is a clue to a strange future twist in his personal life that would suggest that the famous line, ŇTo be or not to be,Ó is even more appropriate for Rodriguez than for Hamlet.  Sometime before April of 2006, as reported by Greg Szymanski in the Arctic Beacon, Miguel Rodriguez had become Michelle Rodriguez.

*IrvineŐs voice is edited out of the exchange.  Irvine recorded all his telephone conversations at his office.  After his death, we revealed that Irvine had been the source of the Rodriguez tapes.

David Martin

September 25, 2013



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