Vince: We Hardly Knew Ye
Being a recap of the death, and various ongoing investigations into same, of White House aide Vincent Foster, jr.
(With apologies to his family, who prefer to "let sleeping Fosters lie.")
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With the U.S. about to invade Bosnia in order to promote peace ("War is peace"); with things getting a little hot in Washington (and not just the weather) for that big, lovable clown from Arkansas; with investigations heating up; with the "special people" beginning to panic -- how convenient for the comfortable classes that the situation in Bosnia should heat up just about now.
So that the commissar class doesn't get too comfortable, I thought I'd offer a bit of a history lesson on the death, as well as the on-and-off investigations into same, of Vincent Foster, jr.
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IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATIVE REPORT ON VINCE FOSTER SUICIDE
Congressional Record (Vol. 140, No. 104)
House of Representatives, Tuesday, August 2, 1994
<Transcribed from the RECORD by Christopher Dunn, email@example.com>
Part 2 of 2
I do no want to upset Mr. Foster's family. I am sure that they would like this thing to go away. I am sure that O.J. Simpson, the families of the people who lost their lives in the O.J. Simpson case, I am sure they would like for it to go away. But you do not stop an investigation because people want it to go away, especially if there are questions that are not answered. You get to the bottom of it. When a homicide detective goes out to investigate a site like Mr. Foster's death scene, they assume it is a homicide until they prove it is a suicide. In this case, they tried to do just the opposite.
Other questions. Congressman ROHRABACHER. "Well, we have two discrepancies
here. We have one discrepancy when he says he doesn't -- he never saw the gun and the other discrepancy is that he is absolutely certain that the palms were up. So thus, we have two major discrepancies."
Then we go on. I said, "But the point is, see that gun is shoved under his leg partially, but you are saying the palms were definitely --" The confidential witness said for about the 90th time, "The palms were up." I said, "And if the palms were up in that position, you would have seen the gun?" And he said, "I would have seen the gun." Other questions. I said, "Okay, now tell us about the cabin." There was a cabin there. I said, "You said you knew the guy that owned that cabin years ago." There's a cabin about 175 yards away from the site where they found the body. He said, "I knew a retired Navy commander who lives in that project. He was going to set me up with the owner." I said, "But there is a private road that goes back to that cabin?" He said, "There is a private road that goes right back to it from the housing development right next to it." I said, "If somebody came back that road, they wouldn't be seen?" He said, "They would not be seen, period." I said, "How far is that from the cabin?" He said, "150 to 175 yards." <19:50> Congressman BURTON. "So they could have walked around that and come right up --" He says, "They are dead in the woods all the way, and there is a path that leads right straight up to where they found the body." I do not know if somebody brought the body in that way or not.
I had no idea. But that was something that was not investigated, because when they told the FBI about it they did not even know there was a cabin back there. He had to show them.
Then we started talking about when he left to call the police after he found the body. He said," I went, got in my van, started up the parkway because I was on the parkway. I got up to where the park headquarters are, about two, two and a half miles, maybe a little further up the road, the right-hand side. There is a little phone sign right there. I pulled in, there was a couple of vehicles on the left. I had never been in there before. There are two phones there. I never saw them because I saw the guys there. The phones sat back behind the trees over here on the right side.
"I saw the guys there. I was looking at them, drove by, still didn't see any phones, looked both ways but apparently drove right by the phones and never saw them, backed up, turned around, started to back out, was going to ask them to use the phone, motioned for them to come over.
"The younger, white man walked over. I asked him for a phone. He stated that, you know, why? And I says, well, it's an emergency. I need to use the phone. Can you get me to a phone? Yes, but why? And he says -- I think he said it the third time. At that point I went, wait a minute. Fine. Are you familiar with Fort Marcy? Oh, yeah, I know it well. Do you know where the two cannons are? Oh, yes, I know it well. Do you know the one up on the hill to the right? Oh, yeah. The next Chain Bridge Road now. Not the one on the left up there, the one on the right all the way up on top. Oh, yeah, I know it well.
"I says, right beside it, down over the bank is a dead man. You call the police and tell them. Oh, sure, great. I don't need the headaches that go with possibilities of going to courts and hearings and crap that all I done was come onto a body. That's all. Hey, I done my duty, I'm gone. He went to call the police; I simply drove off. And I stayed quiet for approximately six months."
The reason he stayed quiet for 6 months was because he was afraid. He found this body under mysterious circumstances and did not want to get into it.
Now he got into it, decided to become semi-public when he was coming back from Africa. He went over there to take some pictures of some animals. And I said, "Now, you were coming back from Africa, you went to Kenya. Tell them about coming back from Africa and how you decided to call Gordon Liddy," to talk about it.
He said, "When I got back from Africa, I was reading -- the London Times was eating that story up and I was sitting in the hotel reading it."
Congressman BURTON. "This was what month?" He said, "This was April. Yeah. It was, I believe it was April or May." He is talking to his girlfriend: "Hun, when was I in Africa?" She says, "I don't know. I didn't go. You left me home, remember?" Congressman BURTON. "Okay. Go ahead." CW. "And it's when I got back, my brother came over and told me,
says you hear the story that the New York Times printed about the two park rangers have changed their story and stated that they had made up the story about the guy in the white van, that they had snuck off down to the park to have a drink and discovered the body. And to cover themselves, they made this story."
"And at that point, I went wait a minute. Who in the world can put that kind of pressure on two career employees to make them tell that kind of garbage? I better cover my hind quarters."
"So I was thinking about what to do and my brother had been listening to Liddy and I have also respected Liddy for his word. And he went into his background and he said, "And he was really hammering on the evidence, you know, that was being presented about the Foster case and the doubts."
So he called Gordon Liddy. He said, "But having read about him, I decided that would be
as good a what I knew would become public and if there was a threat to me, that, that possibility of danger would be greatly, greatly reduced simply by the fact that what I knew would have been now made official."
BURTON. "So you called Liddy because you wanted to get the facts out number one, and number two you thought you would be safer if the facts were.?"
CW. "Exactly right." Then Congressman ROHRABACHER said, "There wasn't any --
foliage didn't seem to be -- did it seem like somebody dragged him up there?"
The confidential witness says, Now, I did not read anything in this report and this has been stated numerous times. Below this man's feet, all the way down into the bottom of the ditch, approximately ten feet or better, up the berm on the other side, over the hill to the walking trail, everything had been trampled completely flat like the man had walked back and forth at least a dozen times or better. It was, at least 24, maybe 30 inches wide that everything was trampled completely flat."
"Every twig, every leaf trampled from the bottom of his feet all the way down the valley and over the hill?"
CW. "Completely flat." BURTON. "Like somebody had been walking back and forth there?" CW. "He had paced back and forth many times. At least a dozen times. You can't trample down that flat." BURTON. "And they didn't put that in that report?" CW. "Nothing in the report that I read. That I have read." That is not in the report. Below the body somebody had walked back and forth along this ditch, along this hill. BURTON. "Let me get this straight. You are saying that there
was a path almost from the bottom of his body down into the bottom, up over this hill?"
CW. "And out to the walking trail on the other side. As I showed you here, from here down and out over that hill. This is, this was very, very dense."
BURTON. "And it was flattened out?" CW. "It was walked completely flat. The agents had known
about this and known about this. Nothing in that report. I don't know. I don't know. Did it disappear or what happened?"
Congressman ROHRABACHER. "Your analysis --" BURTON. "Wait a minute. This is very important. You are saying that you told the agents this?" CW. "Oh, I told them numerous times." But it was not in the report. Congressman BURTON. "That the ground was --" Then I said, "Let me finish here. You went out to the site
with the FBI and you told them at the site where the ground was trampled and how far it went?"
CW. "Yes. I also walked them -- that doesn't make any sense was their statement about, why would they bring him in this way. It was simple from the cabin. What cabin is what their answer was. The one right over there."
BURTON. "So they said that makes no sense, why would there be a path here like this and you said because that's where the cabin and the driveway is?"
CW. "Uh-huh. And they did not know about the cabin and I walked them back there and showed it to them."
The Congressman ROHRABACHER says, "Is it conceivable that somebody could have been on that path when you were relieving yourself without your seeing them?" (The confidential witness went into the park to relieve himself because of the traffic.)
And so Congressman ROHRABACHER was asking him, is it conceivable somebody could have been there with the body and hiding in the woods while you were there. The guy says, "Absolutely. Absolutely. It was that dense," that they could have been hiding in the trees.
Congressman MICA says, "And you didn't see any -- you didn't see any evidence that someone had committed suicide, any blood in, say around the grass or anything behind the head?"
CW. "We had no significant rain for 30 days. The ground at the top of the hill in this area might get a small amount of sun a day because there are very big trees around that area. Anything over that berm and down that berm never gets any sun; completely shaded out." (Yet they say the fingerprints melted off of the gun.)
Congressman MICA. "But around the head --" CW. "There was no -- I mean I bent over and looked. I didn't
lay my head flat on the ground. I probably lent my head down to within 16 inches of the ground. No signs, not a sign of," blood around the head.
Then I said, "But you didn't see any blood as close as you got around the head or anything like that?"
CW. "None" Then Congressman MICA, talking about when he [the confidential
witness] went back out to his car after he [had] found the body. "Did you look at the cars when you came back?"
CW. "As I walked down the hill, you are coming off and you are parked in the parking lot. You go up on either side of the parking lot to a walking area that's elevated will above the parking, up to a sign with the description of the fort area and what it was all about and the history. As you are walking back down, which I'm walking back down the hill to go back to my van, as you are coming down the hill, you can see right down into the car and the car was parked either second or third."
Congressman MICA. "What kind of a car was it?" CW. "White Honda, and it was a cream-colored Japanese made car
on the other end of the parking lot. On the passenger seat of the white Honda was a folded jacket, very, very similar in color to the suit pants," worn by Mr. Foster. "The FBI tells me I have got the wrong car, that was not his. They said the brown one was his."
Congressman ROHRABACHER. "Say that again." CW. "The FBI said that that was not his car. I thought sure
that was his car because the jacket was so similar to the pants he had on."
Congressman BURTON. "Yeah." CW. "On the passenger floor board was a four-pack wine cooler, two gone." (You remember the wine cooler bottle by his body, and there were two wine coolers gone out of the four-pack.) Congressman ROHRABACHER says, "This was in the car the FBI said did not belong [to Vince Foster]?" CW. "Did not belong. And I asked them, how well did you check
out those other two people that were still in the park when you got there? Oh, there is no doubt, they were just two lovers up there?"
<20:00> Then I said, "But you're saying, in this car you saw a jacket that matched the pants on the body?" He said, "Exactly." I said, "You said that you also saw a wine cooler pack on the floor?" The confidential witness said, "A four-pack wine cooler with two gone, the same color as it was -- it had a light, pink-like label." I said, "OK, but did it look like the bottle you saw beside the body?" He said, "Exactly like the bottle beside the body." But that
was not in the report. The confidential witness said, "Strange thing, when I went back with the agents, one of the agents spent about 15 minutes kicking around all of the leaves and everything looking for the wine cooler bottle," but that was nine months later, for crying out loud.
"The palms were up, you say?" This is, once again, talking to the confidential witness.
He said, "Absolutely," about the 90th time. "How sure are you the palms were up?", Congressman MICA said. The confidential witness says, "As sure as I am standing right
here, I am absolutely and totally, unequivocally, the palms were up. I looked at both palms. There was nothing in his hands. I didn't look at one and assume the other. I looked at both of them." This is the man that found the body.
Congressman MICA. "How long did you spend over the body, 5 seconds, 10 seconds?"
He said, "Oh, no. 2 minutes." Congressman MICA. "Two or three minutes?" "Not - well, that is a tough one. Because I wasn't panicked. I think I was fairly deliberate in studying." That is the end of the relevant information in the report.
This is a sworn report by the only person to find the body. He says the Fiske report is wrong, and yet nobody is paying any attention to it.
Mr. Fiske, who is a friend of Bernie Nussbaum's, a close associate of President Clinton's, has worked with him on Wall Street, he is the special counsel. Mr. Fiske has chosen not to pursue these very important questions. It is just terrible.
And yet we are supposed to walk away and not even talk about it.
Now, they said there is no connection between Vince Foster's office and the Whitewater files that were taken out of his office.
I am going to try to finish up this. I want to go through this hurriedly, because there is a connection between Vince Foster's death and the Whitewater investigation that is not being pursued.
First of all, he died under very mysterious circumstances. His body was moved. There is no question about it. Yet nobody accepts that.
At 6 pm on July 20, 1993, Vince Foster was found dead in Fort Marcy Park. Shortly after 9pm, White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty was informed of his death. McLarty ordered the Vince Foster office sealed. However, the office remained unlocked overnight. They did not seal it even though they were told by the chief of staff. Despite this order, less than 3 hours after the body was found, White House officials removed records, business deals with President Clinton and his wife and the Whitewater Development Corp. from Foster's office without telling the Federal authorities about it.
They were the people that went in there. Bernie Nussbaum, the White House counsel, the President's special assistant, Patsy Thomasson, and Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, Margaret Williams.
Bernie Nussbaum said they were in there 10 minutes, but the Park Police said they were in there over 2 hours.
During this first search, Whitewater files and President's Clinton's tax returns were removed and turned over to David Kendall, President Clinton's attorney. Why did they not give them to the people investigating his death?
White House officials did not confirm the July 20 search of Foster's office until December. They did not even tell anybody they were in there taking those files out until December? Why? This is an investigation of a man's death, for crying out loud.
Then there was a second search 2 days later on July 22. Mr. Nussbaum and White House officials searched Foster's office for a second time. They got more documents. Some were sent to President Clinton's attorney, and others were sent to Vince Foster's attorney, James Hamilton.
During the second search, Mr. Nussbaum, citing executive privilege, kept Park Police and FBI agents from going through and watching them go through the files. Dee Dee Meyers, the White House press secretary , said Bernie Nussbaum went through and sort of described contents of each of the files and what was in the drawers while representatives of the Justice Department, the Secret Service, the FBI, and other members of the counsel's office were present.
According to other White House sources, however, FBI agents and Park Police were ordered to sit on chairs right in the hallway right at the entrance while White House staff went through the documents, and Mr. Nussbaum gave the FBI agents and Park Police no indication of what he was taking. One FBI agent was reprimanded when he stood up and peered into the room to see what was going on.
Park Police later discovered Whitewater records had been removed from Foster's office during the second search after they visited James Hamilton, Foster's lawyer, a week after the death, to review a personal diary that was also taken during one of the searches.
Hamilton allowed the Park Police briefly to inspect Vince Foster's diary and other documents. However, he did not allow them to make copies, citing privacy concerns. He refused a request for access to the diary and documents from the Justice Department.
Did Fiske review Vince Foster's diary? His report says nothing about it. Foster's diary might help to identify whom the blond hair on his clothes belonged to, maybe where he was that day, and maybe they could find out from the carpet samples. This is important evidence.
On July 27, 1993, the White House officials revealed [that] on July 26 they [had] found a note supposedly written by Vince Foster at the bottom of his briefcase in his office torn into 27 pieces with no fingerprints on it. Now, you go home tonight and tear a piece of paper into 27 pieces and tell me there are no fingerprints on it. It cannot be done. It was not out in the sun. Those fingerprints did not melt off of that.
And yet they said -- they did not explain why there were no fingerprints on it. They said they missed the note in their first two searches even though they had looked in the briefcase. How can you miss all of that torn-up paper in the briefcase if you looked in there twice? Maybe because it was not in there. I do not know.
Now, we have a million questions we want to ask about all of this. I am not going to go into the questions now. I think I have pretty well covered that.
Now, I want to go to the Rose Law Firm down in Little Rock, AR. Jeremy Hedges, a part-time courier at the Rose Law Firm, told
a grand jury he was told to shred documents from the files of Vince Foster after Special Prosecutor [sic: Special Counsel] Robert Fiske had announced he would look into Foster's death. Fiske was appointed January 20, 1994.
Even before a subpoena is issued, the law prohibits people from intentionally impeding an investigation by destroying evidence they know investigators want, and yet even though after they had picked the special counsel, they were down there shredding these documents.
In February after Fiske served subpoenas on the law firm's employees, Jeremy Hedges and the other couriers employed by the firm were called to a meeting with Ron Clark and Jerry Jones, two of the Rose Law Firm's partners. Jones said to Hedges, he challenged his recollection that he had shredded documents belonging to Foster. He cautioned him about relating assumptions to investigators.
"I said," Hedges recounted, "I shredded some documents of Vince Foster's three weeks ago."
And Jones, the partner, replied, "How do you know they were Foster's? Don't assume something you don't know ," trying to lead him.
Hedges said he was certain they were Foster's files. Jones then said, "Don't assume they had anything to do with Whitewater."
It is funny. The box Hedges was told to shred and all of its folders were marked "VFW", Foster's initials. None of the documents the saw related to the Whitewater Development, Hedges said, but how would he know when he was shredding as fast as he could?
However, another Rose employee told the Washington Times that documents showing the Clintons' involvement in the Whitewater projects had also been ordered destroyed, and the shredding reportedly occurred February 3, 1994, at the Rose Law Firm.
During the 1992 Presidential campaign, three current or former Rose employees said that the couriers from the Rose Law Firm were summoned to the Arkansas Governor's Mansion by Hillary Clinton, who personally handed over records to be shredded at the Rose Law Firm downtown. The shredding began after the New York Times reported on March 8, 1992, the involvement of Governor Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton in the Whitewater deal.
Couriers made at least six other runs during the campaign. They were given sealed, unmarked envelopes with instructions that they were to be shredded at the firm. The shredding continued through the November 3 general election. Records belonging to Webster Hubbell, Vince Foster, and William H. Kennedy III were also shredded.
A current employee said a conservative estimate would be that more than a dozen boxes of documents were ultimately destroyed. A lot of people say, well, are you sure those were Whitewater documents? Why would you think they were Whitewater documents? There were at the Governor's Mansion. Well, let us look into that.
James McDougal and his wife, Susan, who are now divorced, have said they personally delivered all the Whitewater records to the Governor's Mansion in December 1987 at Mrs. Clinton's request, and she was the one giving the couriers the documents to go back over to the Rose Law Firm to be shredded after the New York Times article in 1992 during the President's campaign.
And then during the Presidential campaign, President [then-Governor] Clinton and his wife said that the records had disappeared.
Now, where do you think they disappeared to? Today in the Washington Post, Margaret Williams, and
remember Margaret Williams is Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, and I want you to listen to this:
"A Whitewater file taken from the office of White House Deputy Vince Foster after his death last year was given to Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief of staff and, at the First Lady's direction, transferred to the White House residence before being turned over to the Clinton's personal lawyer, administration officials said yesterday. It was unclear yesterday why then-White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum gave the file to the First Lady's chief of staff, Margaret Williams, rather than transferring it directly to Robert Barnett, the Clintons' personal lawyer at the time."
Why did they not give it to the police? They were the ones investigating this case.
"A White House official said Williams, after being asked by Nussbaum to take charge of the documents, checked with the First Lady in Little Rock, AR. Hillary Clinton told Williams to check with another White House employee about a safe place in the residence to store the documents, the official said."
<20:10> The files were moved from the west wing of the White House
where Williams and Nussbaum worked, to a locked closet on the third floor of the White House residence, where other personal papers were kept. Williams had a key to the closet, the official said. Barnett picked up the documents five days later.
Now, get the rest of this. After Foster's death, officials said his personal papers were given to the Foster family lawyer and his official files were distributed among other lawyers in the counsel's office.
In December the White House disclosed that a Whitewater file also had been found in Foster's office. The revelation helped fuel the White House controversy and raised suspicion the White House was not providing a fair picture of the events. I wonder why.
At that time the White House did not reveal Williams' involvement or the fact that the files were kept at the residence. They did not tell anybody that. The statement at the time by communications director Mark Gearan said only that the files were sent to the Clintons' personal attorney. White House sources said that the statement was drafted by Nussbaum and that he, Gearan, did not know of Williams' involvement at the time. They did not even tell this guy they were giving the report out that Williams had taken the files up to Hillary's residence and locked them in her closet.
Sources familiar with the handling of the file said Nussbaum called Williams two days after Foster's death to ask her to take charge of Clinton's personal papers. Williams checked with Hillary Clinton, who agreed that the papers should be given to Barnett. Then they said that the President and the First Lady never looked at the papers before they gave them to the attorney.
They took them upstairs, she was instructed to take them up there and lock them in their closet, and then they later gave them to their attorney, but they said they never looked at the papers.
Well, the bottom line is the Fiske report is inaccurate; the Fiske report has glaring holes in it; the Fiske report, as it is presently constituted, is not worth the paper it is written on.
I do not care about the credentials of the four forensic experts. I am sure they were very competent men, but they based their findings on the coroner's report nine months earlier, and the coroner has been proven on two separate occasions to be incompetent as far as autopsies are concerned.
There just is no question about the major question about the death of Vince Foster. The man who found the body said the hands were moved. He swears before God that the hands were moved in a court report. He swears the head was moved. There were no fingerprints on the gun. There were no fingerprints on the suicide note.
The counsel, Mr. Fiske, never checked the carpet samples from his office to see if those were the same ones on his clothes. At least he did not say so in the report. He did not check his house to see if the carpet samples were off his home. Where did those carpet samples come from? There is just a ton of questions that need to be answered.
For any intelligent person to hear what I have said tonight and to read this report and to conclude that this is accurate, they just must have their eyes closed. I just do not know how they can believe that.
So, Mr. Speaker, as I conclude my remarks, let me say once again that this investigation should not be closed; it should be re-opened. We should bring the confidential witness -- keep his confidentiality -- we should bring the confidential witness in a confidential way so he can be protected before the people that are involved and let them see what I have seen. In fact, if you do not bring him forth, take my report before anybody in the Congress, take my document here that is sworn before a court reporter and at least look at it.
You know, there is a poem by Ceser Gilbert Horn, Mr. Speaker, which says in part, "Long rules the land and waiting justice sleeps." And I think that is the case with Vince Foster.
He may have committed suicide; I do not know. But I do know this: That body was moved. The report is wrong. And if the report is wrong, we need to ask Mr. Fiske why.
<Transcribed by Christopher Dunn, firstname.lastname@example.org>
End part 2 of 2
Coming to you from Illinois -- "The Land of Skolnick"