Vince, We Hardly Knew Ye
Part 19

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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JANUARY 15, 1995




THE SCOPE of the inquiry into the mysterious death of the top White House aide Vincent Foster has suddenly been broadened, casting doubt on the original verdict of suicide.

It has now emerged that Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel investigating the Whitewater affair, which concerns alleged shady business deals linked to President Clinton and his wife, summoned several police officers before a Grand Jury late last week.

During the meeting he took the unusual step of reading them the statutory definition of perjury. The officers were grilled on the precise circumstances surrounding the discovery of Foster's body in a Virginia park in July 1993.

The cause of death of Foster, an intimate friend of the Clintons, had been considered settled by most observers in Washington. An inquiry by Robert Fiske, the former independent counsel who was later replaced by a panel of judges, endorsed the police conclusion that Foster shot himself in the mouth. He attributed the suicide to depression unrelated to the Whitewater property dealings of the Clintons.

However, Mr Fiske did not convene a Grand Jury for that part of his investigation. This was considered strange by many legal experts. The rescue workers and park police who found the body did not testify under oath, and Mr Fiske essentially confined himself to a review of their report rather than conducting a full- scale probe of his own.

The grand jury questioning last week, which took place in secret, appeared to focus on the precise location of Foster's body in the park. One of the police officers was overheard reassuring a grand juror in the lobby that he would bring a map to assist testimony the next day.

The seemingly minor issue of where the body was found could turn out to be of critical importance. A journalist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Chris Ruddy, has been fighting a lone crusade for several months seeking to establish that the Park Police misreported the location of the body.

Ruddy is convinced that it is the key to exposing a cover-up that allegedly involves the police, the White House, and even elements of the FBI.

If Ruddy is right, it suggests a political scandal of colossal proportions.

On Thursday, an article by Ruddy in the Tribune-Review alleged sloppiness in the Fiske investigation and argued that key witnesses may have given false testimony.

His latest revelation is that Dr Donald Haut, the Virginia medical examiner who viewed the scene of the crime on the night of Foster's death, said the body was 10 to 20 yards past an old civil war cannon, the first cannon in the park.

This is in direct contradiction to the Fiske Report, which said that the body was at the foot of a second cannon deep inside the park. The testimony of Dr Haut, who said he was never questioned by the Fiske investigation, corroborates early statements by a Fairfax County rescue worker, George Gonzalez, and several other sources who all said the body was in tangled undergrowth near the first cannon.

The Ruddy article was republished as a full-page advertisement in the Washington Times on Friday, paid for by a conservative media watchdog in California called the Western Journalism Center. Both Ruddy and the Center are already being sued for libel by the Park Police, who insist that their report was accurate.

Questions about Foster's death have been a staple of radio talk shows across America. According to extensive interviews conducted by The Sunday Telegraph, suspicions are also shared by some members of the Foster family and parts of the FBI.

Senator Lauch Faircloth, a Republican member of the Banking Committee that held brief hearings into Foster's death last July, has also raised doubts about the suicide verdict.

Brian Francis Redman "The Big C"

Coming to you from Illinois -- "The Land of Skolnick"