The Post's Sloppy Cover-up
by DCDave

One primary difference between Watergate and the Vincent Foster death scandal has been in the role played by The Washington Post. In Watergate, as we all know, The Post led the expose. In the Foster case, on the other hand, The Post has not just been negligent in its reporting, it has actually played a very active role in the cover-up, a fact which I document in "America's Dreyfus Affair, the Case of the Death of Vincent Foster" which one can find on my web site. Now, on the fifth anniversary of Foster's death, after the fashion of the propagandists of the old Soviet Union, in a notably sloppy effort, they attempt to rewrite history. It is perhaps a measure of their arrogance that they don't think they have to do any better job than this (the parenthetical comments are mine):

The Foster Chronology

By Nathan Abse
Monday, July 20, 1998; Page A09

January: Vincent W. Foster Jr., 48, a friend of President Clinton since childhood, also from Hope, Ark., (As we have pointed out repeatedly, this is not exactly true. Clinton is really from the wide-open town of Hot Springs, having moved there right after kindergarten, where he spent the remainder of his formative years) and once a partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Rose Law Firm, comes to Washington from Little Rock to become deputy White House counsel.

May 19: Seven employees in the White House travel office are fired for "gross mismanagement." But after accusations that it sought to transfer the business to Clinton friends, the White House soon recants most of its criticisms. (So they weren't such bad guys in the deal, after all. So what was that trumped up felony embezzlement charge of Travel Office Director Billy Dale all about? Remember the trial in which Mr. Dale was quickly acquited?)

July 2: The White House issues a report on the travel office, written by outside auditors. Although the report does not criticize Foster directly, it says his office could have averted the incident but failed to do so. (Why this big attention on the travel office matter to the exclusion of everything else? Foster really had nothing to do with the travel office, but he was--quite illegally--working on the Clinton's private finances, apparently hung up on getting their investments into a blind trust, something that, by law, should have been done before Clinton assumed office. In that illegal capacity for a government employee, Foster probably knew more about the Clinton family finances than any man then alive, and he is now safely beyond subpoena. Notice, too, that there is no mention of Foster's meeting with Deputy Attorney General Webb Hubbell and Nathan Landow at Landow's Eastern Shore estate just two days before Foster died. There is also no mention of the curious one to two hour closed-door meeting with Clinton political fixer Marsha Scott the day before he died. Scott claims not to remember what they talked about. Landow was never interviewed by anyone, either in the government or the press.)

July 19: Clinton invites Foster and his wife to the White House to watch a movie. Foster declines. (This is the first mention I have seen, for what it is worth, of the wife having been included in the invitation. Along about this time, according to a report by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Foster called from a pay phone to Jerry Parks in Arkansas. Parks' widow, Jane, told Evans-Pritchard that she overheard Jerry saying "You can't give that report to Hillary. My name is all over it." Upon hearing of Foster's death, Parks, the chief of security in Little Rock for the Clinton-Gore campaign, reportedly exclaimed, "I'm a dead man." He was right. On September 26, 1993, on his way back home from a Mexican restaurant, he was gunned down gangland-style. His murder has not been solved. None of this has ever been reported in the Washington Post.)

July 20: U.S. Park Police discover Foster's body at Fort Marcy Park in McLean at 6 p.m., dead of a single gunshot wound, and make a first report to the White House at 9:10 p.m., calling the death an apparent suicide. White House staff look for a suicide note in his office. (The report of the body discovery is simply wrong. The Park Police did not discover the body. Considering where the body was, on the back side of a berm in the farthest corner of an obsure old Civil War fort that has very few visitors, it is quite a wonder that the body was found so soon. The official story is that a construction worker, in search of a place to relieve himself in the heavily-wooded park, walked mostly uphill about 300 yards on the very hot and humid day until he found the ideal place, which happened to be where the body was. He then, though desiring anonymity out of professed fear, told some park maintenance workers about the body instead of making an anonymous 911 call from a pay phone himself. The reported long delay in notifying the White House is also fishy in itself, and, according to much evidence, is not true either. Finally, to say that White House officials were in Foster's office looking for a suicide note is to excuse them for tampering with a possible crime scene, or, at least, a crime-related scene. At this point, they were, or should have been suspects, not assistant investigators. The emergency workers at the scene, by the way, reported it as a homicide.)

July 22: Foster's office is searched in the presence of his family and officials from the Park Police, Justice Department, FBI and Secret Service. Initially, the White House claims that no suicide note or other document bearing on his death is found. (Again, the Post is simply wrong. There were no family members present. A lawyer representing the family was. What the Post does not tell us is that this search included a complete emptying out and inventorying of the briefcase that later, we are told, yielded up the famous torn-up note.)

July 23: Foster is buried in Hope. The autopsy confirms he died of a gunshot wound to the head and the findings are consistent with a suicide, the Park Police report. (What is not said is that the hasty burial necessitated a hasty autopsy, moved up to the 21st so that the Park Police investigators who had seen the body and had worked all night were not able to attend the autopsy the next morning. Thus, in violation of established procedure, no one at the autopsy had seen the body at the park. It is not clear who gave the order to move the autopsy up. Several people have taken credit, or have been given credit. There are many questions, of course, about the autopsy and the autopsy doctor, James Beyer. The most notable question concerns the missing X-rays which Beyer said he took and then said he didn't with a machine that either was or was not working. Beyer also has a recent record of either botched or rigged autopsies as well.)

July 28: The White House discloses that in the previous week an unidentified aide discovered undated, torn-up notes inside Foster's briefcase. His notes, found July 26, include a list of psychiatrists and an "argument with himself." They are given to investigators after a 30-hour delay. The time lag later fuels speculation of a conspiracy and coverup. (What a confused hodgepodge of misreporting this is! Now the Post is telling us, contrary to all official reports, that the list of psychiatrists was with the torn-up note, supposedly, in Foster's briefcase. This is about par for the Post course. Their Michael Isikoff, after all, was the first to report the existence of the list of psychiatrists, on July 28, 1993, and he said government sources told him that it had been found in Foster's office. Two days later he reported that it was found by Park Police in Foster's car at Fort Marcy Park, with no explanation of the change of story. The car discovery site--actually in Foster's wallet--remains the official one, which is curious in itself because it is not mentioned in the official inventory of the car, and the Park Police kept mum about it while all the public statements were that Foster seemed normal and "solid as a rock." The matter of the time lag in notifying the police about the discovery of the torn-up note, by the way, looks like a red herring. Why would the White House tell anyone about the delay in the first place? My hunch is that the note had not yet been forged by the time they say they had found it. The actual contents of the note were inexplicably withheld from the public until August 10 when the first official conclusion of "suicide" was made. The news reports the next day were all about the contents of the "suicide" note, ignoring the fact that no adequate explanation of the suicide finding was given and the Park Police report was not released to the public. This, my friends, is not news reporting. It is participation in the cover-up of a murder.)

Jan. 20: Attorney General Janet Reno appoints Robert B. Fiske to investigate the Clintons' role in the Whitewater real estate venture and their ties to the failed Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan. Fiske announces he will also explore a possible link between Foster's death and his knowledge of the Whitewater scandal.

July 1: Fiske releases his report on Foster's death, reaffirming the Park Police report, ruling it a suicide and finding no evidence of foul play. (It was released on June 30. It is easy to see how the Post could make this mistake. They apparently don't have their own copy because there is no evidence that anyone at the Post has actually bothered to read the seriously-flawed document.)

July 29: The Senate Banking Committee, led by Alfonse M. D'Amato (R-N.Y.), examines Foster's death, focusing on testimony from Park Police officers. (Okay, so Nathan Abse is some new kid who has been given the easy assignment of cobbling together this chronology out of the Post archive, but where are his editors? Surely they remember that in 1994 the Democrats were still in control of the Senate and Donald Riegle of Michigan was chairman of the committee. The Post also gives us no indication of the very cursory and inadequate nature of the half-day hearing.)

Aug. 5: Kenneth W. Starr, a Republican and former U.S. solicitor general and federal judge, is appointed independent counsel by a three-judge panel, replacing Fiske. Starr continues the Whitewater and Madison probes, and reopens the Foster investigation. (Starr was solicitor general for George Bush. Clinton, in spite of Al Gore's campaign rhetoric, did a nice, tidy job of covering up Bush's Iraqgate scandal. One good turn deserves another.)

July 18: The Senate Whitewater committee, also headed by D'Amato, begins holding hearings on Foster's death. Its June 1996 majority report accuses the White House of hindering the Foster investigation but accepts the suicide finding. (The D'Amato committee did not hold hearings on Foster's death per se. It was charged only with looking into the handling of documents in Foster's office and the overall behavior of the White House in the wake of the death. It accepted the suicide finding as a given, not as a result of its systematic inquiry, as the Post would lead you to believe.)

Oct. 10: Starr's three-year investigation of Foster's death concludes, reaffirming earlier findings of suicide. (Don't you wonder why it took three additional years and so many investigations? The Warren Report was compiled much more expeditiously.)

March 30: The Supreme Court delays Starr's efforts to obtain notes taken by Foster's lawyer that may clarify the first lady's role in the travel office affair. (Yawn. More misdirection.)

June 25: The Supreme Court rules against Starr on the Foster notes, asserting that attorney-client privilege remains in force even after death. (A self-discrediting battle that Starr must have known he would lose.)

SOURCE: Staff and wire reports (Anything but the Internet, and it shows)

David Martin

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