Vince: We Hardly Knew Ye
Part 5

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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FEBRUARY 7, 1994

By Mike Blair
(Spotlight, 02/07/94)

The ghost of Vincent Foster Jr., the White House aide who was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a Virginia park last summer, just across the Potomac River from Washington, has come back to haunt Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Robert B. Fiske, the former U.S. attorney in Manhattan, New York, who has been named special counsel by Attorney General Janet Reno to investigate the real estate investments and banking connections of the Clintons, will probe the death of Foster due to his links to the first family's financial affairs.

The real estate investments and banking connections of the Clintons are popularly known as the Whitewatergate scandal.

The late deputy White House counsel has become a key figure in Whitewatergate due to the removal from his White House office, just a few hours after his death, of files involving the Clintons' Whitewater real estate investments in Arkansas, which will be the focus of the Fiske investigation as special counsel.

The files were spirited out of Foster's office by White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, which was revealed late last year, fueling renewed interests in the Clintons' real estate dealings and their ties to the failed Arkansas Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association and whether Madison funds were funneled into Clinton's 1984 re-election campaign for governor of Arkansas.

-+- Nagging Questions -+-

Stories of irregularities in their financial dealings have trailed the Clintons from Little Rock to Washington.

Officially, the U.S. Park Police ruled Foster's death a suicide, but serious questions surrounding the incident, which created a major nationwide sensation last summer, remain unanswered. In fact, so many questions still nag at newsmen covering the story that most refer to his death as a "supposed" or an "apparent" suicide.

Many newsmen, as an example, still question the White House's handling of a key piece of evidence found in Foster's briefcase, a note supposedly written in the aide's handwriting and torn into 28 pieces, only 27 of which were found.

The note was not discovered when Foster's White House office and his briefcase were initially searched. Instead, it turned up several days later, found by an aide going through papers in the office. The Justice Department, after dragging its feet for days, released only the text of the reconstructed document, which seemed to indicate Foster was suffering from depression. {1}.

Reporters covering the story were only shown the reconstructed note and were refused photocopies. Supposedly this was in deference to the aides family, but this also prevented any independent study to determine if it was in fact written in Foster's handwriting. They were told no fingerprints were found on the note.

Making matters even more suspicious is the missing 28th part of the torn note -- the part where Foster's signature would have been located.

Foster, a friend of President Clinton from their boyhood days in Hope, Arkansas, and a law partner of first lady Hillary Clinton in the Rose Law Firm of Little Rock, was found dead of what was reportedly a single gunshot wound to the head in the park on July 20.

Of considerable interest in the case is the pistol supposedly used by Foster to kill himself. The gun is reported to be an antique 1913 Colt .38 caliber military revolver, apparently of the type issued to the U.S. military during the Philippines Insurrection at the turn of the century and which was replaced officially in 1911 by the Colt .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol.

The Spotlight has discovered reason to believe that the weapon which brought about the Clinton aide's death may have been purposely altered to prevent it from being traced.

There have been conflicting reports about the gun, one indicating it was one of a pair, its mate also having been located by police.

-+- Composite of Two Guns -+-

However, the most reliable reports indicate that the gun was made of parts from at least two guns of the same type, which raises a number of questions.

Many of the guns were sold as surplus by the military decades ago, which could offer a simple explanation of why it was a composite of at least two guns. The military may just have used surplus parts to assemble it sometime during its service or before disposing of it as surplus.

In any case, assembling a gun from the components of a number of guns could make it more difficult to trace.

The most interesting aspect about the gun, however, is a comment made by an official of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), which apparently conducted an unsuccessful effort to trace the firearm.

BATF spokesman Les Stanford told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "We did raise a serial number" on the pistol. "It was a Colt, but that was the end of it."

"Raise" is a term used by law enforcement officers, referring to a process used to determine the serial number of a gun when the number has been filed away to deter efforts to trace the firearm. The area where the number should be located is bathed in a special acid mixture, which "raises" the compression made in the metal where dies were originally used to press the serial number into the surface of the gun.

If the gun was so altered to hamper efforts to trace it, this was certainly not the act of a man about to commit suicide with the firearm. {2}.

---------------------------<< Notes >>--------------------------- {1} Regarding Foster's supposed "depression", see Village Voice, 08/10/93, Press Clips by Doug Ireland: "My Counsel Vinny..."

The Case of the Imperceptible Depression -- In the first days after Foster's suicide, most national news organizations reported, as did the L.A. Times, that "none of his friends or associates said that they had any clue that he was despondent or contemplating taking his own life."

{2} You may not be able to obtain a copy of The Spotlight at your local library or retailer. To subscribe to The Spotlight, phone 1-800-522-6292; in Maryland, (301) 951-6292.

Brian Francis Redman "The Big C"

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