An Honest Book on the Vince Foster Case
Writer Dean Arnold might well be the man of the hour. We have been waiting a long time for a trustworthy person who could explain in a very clear, concise fashion what is wrong with the official story that Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster, Jr. of the Bill Clinton administration committed suicide. Up to now, the most notable critical books on the Foster death have been The Strange Death of Vincent Foster by Christopher Ruddy, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, and Failure of the Public Trust by John Clarke, Patrick Knowlton, and Hugh Turley. Now we have Arnold’s Hillary and Vince: A Story of Love, Death, and Cover-Up.
Ruddy is by far the best known of the group. He was really the only at least semi-mainstream journalist to write skeptically of the official story, first with the conservative tabloid New York Post and then with the much smaller circulation Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The latter newspaper was just a small suburban Pittsburgh paper called the Greensburg Tribune-Review until owner Richard Mellon Scaife changed its name about the time Ruddy went to work there. Pittsburgh’s main newspaper is the Post-Gazette. The review that I wrote of Ruddy’s book in 1998 and updated last year captures its strengths and weaknesses, I believe.
The biggest weakness comes down to Ruddy’s character, and, in that, he is the virtual antithesis of Dean Arnold. It has become more and more apparent with the passage of time that Ruddy was never anything but controlled opposition. He came upon the scene just as Robert Fiske was appointed as special prosecutor to look into Whitewater, including the Foster death, and he folded his tent when Kenneth Starr gave his final seal of approval to the official suicide conclusion, leaving us with the impression that the “conservative” Starr had laid all serious questions to rest. His move from the New York to the Pittsburgh paper would appear to have been a large professional step down, but it put Ruddy in the position to be part of what Hillary Clinton called the “vast right-wing conspiracy” out to get the Clintons and financed ostensibly primarily by Scaife. Most recently, Ruddy is pretty much out of the closet as a Bill and Hillary admirer, of all things, and a big contributor to the Clinton Foundation.
The Evans-Pritchard book ranges much more widely than does Ruddy’s; the Foster case makes up well less than half of it. He digs more deeply than Ruddy, however, and his reporting is more dependable. One can get some flavor of his work in my defense of him against the splenetic attack by naked Clinton apologist Gene Lyons in my article entitled “Foster Case Liar Resurfaces Defending Drone War.” Arnold exhibits his keen nose for the truth by drawing heavily on Evans-Pritchard’s work while virtually ignoring Ruddy’s contribution.
Evans-Pritchard is vulnerable to the standard attack strategy used by defenders of the suicide story, however. He works for the right-of-center Telegraph newspaper of London and his book was published by the conservative Regnery publishing company, which has also published books critical of the Clintons by Ann Coulter, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Gary Aldrich, and others. Whatever the quality of the writing and the research, it is easy for Clinton administration defenders to dismiss it as purely ideologically motivated.
Ruddy’s book, by contrast, was published by a subsidiary of the very establishment Simon & Schuster and publicized with a review in The New York Times, a leading peddler of the suicide story from the beginning, along with The Washington Post. That fact, alone, should have put truth seekers on notice that there was something amiss with Ruddy and his book. Simon & Schuster, it should be noted, also published the self-promoting, largely ghostwritten books of Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as the Foster-case cover-up book, Blood Sport, which we discussed in our previous article.
Untainted by Partisanship
That brings us to Clarke, Knowlton, and Turley’s Failure of the Public Trust. So heavily does Arnold draw from it, and from interviews with its authors, that one might consider it a much more readable, updated synopsis of their work, augmented by Evans-Pritchard’s findings, and with alternating chapters on the very close relationship between Hillary and Vince. That book was written originally as a court document buttressing Knowlton’s lawsuit against the FBI agents who he charged were behind his harassment on the streets of Washington after he was called as a grand jury witness in the Foster case. The few printed copies now available are expensive, although one can read the 500+ pages online for free in a pdf file. It’s still indispensable reading for anyone who needs convincing that a gigantic cover-up has taken place in the Foster case. This is an excerpt from my review at Amazon.com:
You will not learn in these 511 pages who murdered Vincent Foster or why, nor will you find a trace of any partisan swipes at the Clintons. You WILL see revealed in painstaking detail how the cover-up was carried out by the police, the FBI, and by our other major organs of power, not the least of which have been the news media. The greatest achievement of this book is the complete reconstruction of the evening of July 20, using in a very transparent fashion every available public document. Their method may be contrasted, as the authors point out, with Kenneth Starr, three-quarters of whose references are to supporting work by associates, work that is still kept secret.
Dean Arnold has performed an enormous public service in distilling the essence of these authors’ work and applying to it his exceptional story-telling skills. * He has fleshed that work out further by use of materials compiled by Congressional investigative bodies and brought it up to date with evidence uncovered, primarily by Turley and Knowlton, in archival materials since their book was published. Perhaps most important of all, he has drawn generously from the extraordinary taped telephone conversations between the late Reed Irvine of Accuracy in Media and the lead investigator for Starr, Miguel Rodriguez, who resigned in disgust.
Arnold’s Other Main Source
I am less able to vouch for his accuracy on those chapters that deal with Hillary and her relationship with Vince because it is a subject with which I am less familiar. On this subject, he seems to have relied almost exclusively upon various books written about Hillary. One recurs most frequently in his references, The First Partner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, by Joyce Milton, published in 1999. As with his references on the cover-up in the Foster death case, Arnold seems to have chosen extremely well, as one can well gather from the customers’ reviews on Amazon.com. The average customer rating is only 3.5 out of 5 stars, but as one looks at the breakdown of ratings he can see that the reason for that is the large number of reviewers who gave it only one star. From my reading of the book I have to agree with the reviewer who said that those must be planted, dishonest reviews.
There is no doubt that Milton paints a largely negative picture of Hillary, but unlike the remarks of his negative reviewers, the book comes across as a very honest and thorough effort. The fact that it was published by a mainstream publisher, William Morrow and Company, and, yet, has received very little publicity, while attracting a large number of obviously phony reviews, speaks very highly of the book. Milton is a mainstream journalist of Hillary’s generation who seems to have no ideological axe to grind. From her introduction, one gathers that she was initially predisposed favorably toward her subject, but reality soon intervened:
When a publisher asked me to write a small book introducing Hillary to elementary school readers, I was happy to say yes. Mine was one of several children’s books about Hillary published early in the Clinton administration. One of them—not mine—bore the subtitle, A New Kind of First Lady. But new in what way? By the time I handed in my manuscript in September 1993, my initial optimism about Hillary’s potential had faded.
The non-ideological nature of Milton’s book is something that it shares with Arnold’s and with his primary source, Failure of the Public Trust. We learn from Arnold that the latter book’s co-author, the aggrieved witness Knowlton, was raised by a single mother who was grateful for the government assistance she received and, as a partial consequence, Knowlton was predisposed politically in a liberal Democratic direction. His lawyer, Clarke, is of the same political orientation. I happen to know that their co-author, Turley, comes from a social conservative background, but he has never been a political activist and his political views are nowhere in evidence in the book that they produced. To his great credit, the same thing can be said about Arnold and his book.
Who Is Dean Arnold
I do not know Arnold, but one can gather from his web site that he, like Turley, is a Christian social conservative with a very strong independent streak. At one point, he describes himself in almost precisely the same words that I have used to describe myself on more than one occasion:
Yes, I am a corruption theorist. I think the corruption has gotten so bad that many within our own government lie to the people, and use the major media to do so. (It’s been going on for decades. See Operation Mockingbird). Therefore, every major media “event,” especially those of a high sensational nature, need to be critically examined for their authenticity and their motives: how might this event advance a sinister agenda?
One can also get a good appreciation of Arnold’s genuineness by listening to this long interview by Ed Opperman.
Arnold’s general non-partisan orientation and that of the co-authors of Failure of the Public Trust give the lie to the standard, almost rote, claims of the defenders of the official Foster suicide story that those who continue to challenge it are simply ultra-right-wing fanatics “out to get the Clintons.” Those who might fit that description have either, like Coulter and Tyrrell, embraced the official suicide story, like new Donald Trump campaign appointee, David Bossie, demonstrated an indifference toward the compelling evidence that Foster was murdered, or, like authors Roger Stone and Robert Morrow of The Clintons’ War on Women, embraced some silly alternative story, with virtually no evidence to support it, that Foster shot himself someplace else and his body was dumped in the park out of embarrassment. Still others have at least pretended to swallow the blatantly false latest FBI story that Foster shot himself because Hillary humiliated him in public. It is much better to put one’s faith in an honest man like Dean Arnold.
*He had nothing to do with producing it, but you can get a good introduction to the subject matter covered in Arnold’s gracefully written book by watching the 29-minute video, “The Vince Foster Cover-up: The FBI and the Press.” It is the Foster death cover-up from Knowlton’s perspective as a key witness in the case. Better yet, one can go to the Knowlton-Clarke-Turley web site at fbicover-up.com and study it. Also good up to a point is the longer “The 60 Minutes Deception: How Clinton Affects the Media.” It is the Ruddy case against the authorities and CBS, made before he more or less came out of the closet as a double agent.
September 15, 2016