Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Good morning.
Jim Quinn: It's a pleasure to have you on this show again. It's been a long time since we've touched base. What's new?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, I've been doing quite a lot of work on the campaign. But I've also been keeping up with some of our common interests.
Jim Quinn: I understand there are some new things going on with the Foster thing -- some phone calls we didn't know that were made and the like?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, essentially Jane Parks, who's the widow of Jerry Parks, he was head of the Clinton-Gore campaign security in Little Rock. He was assassinated in September of '93. She's come forward after three years, really, and told a whole lot more. She spoke to me before, and one of the things she's revealed is her husband had a very close relationship with Vince Foster. Parks was a private investigator and he used to do sort of "off books" sensitive assignments for Foster; some of it apparently on the behest of Hillary Clinton.
Jim Quinn: Who at the time, I think, was mad at Bill because of his philandering and wanted to divorce him, right?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, that's what she thought, but it may be that she actually just wanted to know -- Hillary Clinton wanted to know -- exactly how vulnerable her husband was to charges of philandering before they went into the presidential campaign. She wanted to know exactly how much exposure there was before she put herself and her daughter through the media scrutiny of a full-blown presidential campaign. I suspect that's partly what it was about.
Jim Quinn: Well, also, knowing the Clintons as I do, it's also a chance to identify those who may come forward and to head it off before it happens.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, that as well. But what she said now takes it a bit further. One of the things she said was that Foster called Jerry Parks on the night before his death -- Foster's death.
Jim Quinn: Is that right?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: And said, "I'm going to hand over all the files." And Parks was very upset and said, "You can't do that!" And he said, "Yes, I've made up my mind. I'm going to meet Hillary at the apartment and hand over the whole lot. And I just wanted to make sure I've got everything."
Jim Quinn: "At the APARTMENT?"
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: That's what he said. Now--
Jim Quinn: This would be a thinly veiled reference to the so-called "safe house" that nobody's ever actually been able to prove--
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, Jane Parks doesn't know what it actually meant, whether it was really an apartment or whether that was just a term they used for something else. Jerry Parks seemed to know what it was. But Parks was furious. He said, "You can't do that because these files have got my name all over them!"
Jim Quinn: So these would be the files that Jerry Parks had collected on Bill Clinton at Hillary's behest--
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, I think they were a much bigger collection than that. He'd been doing work for Foster for ten years or so. And one of the things that Jane told me is that he did two trips up to Mena, rather mysterious trips to Mena in western Arkansas.
Jim Quinn: To the Mena airport. O.K.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: And when Parks came back on one occasion, she borrowed his car, his Lincoln, and she opened the trunk and she found it was packed full of hundred dollar bills. Absolutely jammed full. In fact she couldn't get the trunk closed again without sitting on it.
Jim Quinn: Well, he's probably got a paper route.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: [laughs] Well, I don't know how many wads of hundred-dollar bills wrapped in string you can fit into the trunk of a Lincoln, but you're talking a great deal of money.
Jim Quinn: Of course.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Probably several million. And she was furious and she picked up some of the money and threw at him and said, "What's going on here? Are you running drugs?" And he just said, "No, no, no, nothing to do with that. I don't know what they're doing. I didn't pack up the trunk. I just parked the car in the hanger at Mena airport and went out and had a drink and came back and picked it up and drove home. And I'm just delivering the stuff and don't ask any questions about it." He said that Vince Foster paid him $1,000 a trip --
Jim Quinn: Whoa! Wait a minute! Whoa! Vince Foster paid him to truck this drug money around?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Nobody said it's drug money.
Jim Quinn: Well, O.K., but you and I know what it is.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: I don't, actually.
Jim Quinn: Well, O.K., fine. I do! [laughs] I mean, come on. That kind of money? He didn't have a paper route.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, no, equally it could just be off-shore money that's just brought in. If you're going to bring in great sums of cash from the Cayman Islands or something, you know --
Jim Quinn: Well, or maybe from the Lippo Group in Indonesia.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, it could be anything, to be quite honest.
Jim Quinn: Yeah.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: But Parks just said, "Look, I'm paid $1,000 contract fee just to go out with Foster, help with this stuff and bring it back. I don't ask any questions." Which is not true, because he always asked questions. [laughs]
Jim Quinn: O.K. Too many of them, apparently.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Too many, yeah. But this is very, very peculiar. What she also said was that he bugged campaign headquarters when he was in charge of security there, apparently on instructions from Foster. Somebody was stealing money from the campaign and there were problems so they wanted to get to the bottom of it.
Jim Quinn: It was probably Hillary. She'll steal everything including the drape money if she can get her hands on it.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, I don't know what was going here but what is clear, if Jane Parks' story is correct, is that Foster played a much more involved role in the campaign than anybody had realized. He was the sort of behind the scenes fixer.
Jim Quinn: Um hmm.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: And this image of him as this very upstanding, aloof, somewhat, almost slightly naive lawyer who comes up to Washington and is out of his depth and can't take the strain is not correct.
Jim Quinn: No, I don't think so either and there are some unexplained trips to Switzerland that would suggest that he was involved in some very sophisticated things. Without going into that, I want to ask you a question, though, at this point. You say that Foster makes a phone call, and by the way, it was from a PAY phone, which is interesting--
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, that's what it appeared to be, yeah, because at one point she said he put Parks (sic) on hold and Parks made some sort of comment, "Are you on a pay phone?" or something like that is what made her think it was a pay phone.
Jim Quinn: Well, one way or the other, Foster calls Parks the night before Foster is dead, right?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Yes, but I must add here for the record, and I think it got left out of my piece by the editors to select space, you know, we went over this many, many times and she's pretty convinced it was the Monday, the 19th, and I kept saying, could it possibly be Sunday night on the 18th? First she said, "No, no, no, I would have been at church in the evening." And then she eventually thought, well, if it had been very late in the evening, it is conceivable that it was the Sunday night. She can't remember the exact dates. What she remembers is the sequence.
Jim Quinn: Well, let me ask you this question, O.K.? So anyway, for whatever reasons, Vince Foster decides all of a sudden he is going to turn over all of these files. My question is, (a) turn them over to who, and (b) what prompted him all of a sudden to want to do this?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: That's a complete mystery. He had a conversation with President Clinton on the Monday night. He got home from the White House about 7:45, according to his wife's FBI statement. He promised to get home early and to break his workaholic practices and to spend more time with his family. His wife was rather upset. So he got home at 7:45. Not long after that he got a call from President Clinton, "Come back over to the White House. We want you to watch a film." And the film, by the way, was "In the Line of Fire", which is the movie where a Secret Service agent takes a bullet for the president.
Jim Quinn: [laughs] Yeah? It's kind of like getting on the flight to Hawaii and the inflight movie is "The High and the Mighty."
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: [laughs] Yeah, and the people who were also there, according to President Clinton's deposition, who watched the movie were Web Hubbell and Bruce Lindsey, who are two of the Arkansas insiders. Whenever those people appear together one's suspicions are immensely increased. They chatted for about ten or fifteen minutes. Foster refused to go back to the White House. He wanted to stay with his family. I don't know whether or not that was a critical decision. They scheduled a meeting, Foster and Clinton, for two days later, Wednesday morning, and left it at that. And it must have been some time after that that Foster went out and made this phone call to Parks. I don't know what occurred in the conversation with Clinton that may have prompted this. Maybe it's totally unrelated.
Jim Quinn: One would have to suspect that these "files" with Jerry Parks' name all over them that Mr. Foster wanted to turn over for some reason to somebody, that those files may indeed be the files that were spirited out of Foster's office in the dead of night.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: I think there are strong grounds for suspecting that, or that whatever happened, whoever wanted them didn't get everything they wanted, and so there must be more stuff. I just don't know what's going on here. He said he was going to be meeting Hillary, but Hillary was in California so he couldn't have been meeting her.
Jim Quinn: Now wait a minute. He said to who?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: To Parks.
Jim Quinn: He told Parks that he was going to meet Hillary?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Hillary at the apartment to turn over the files. And Parks got all upset about it and Foster said, "Well, don't worry, you can trust Hil."
Jim Quinn: Well, that answers the question who he was going to turn the files over to.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: No, no, it doesn't.
Jim Quinn: It doesn't?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: That's just what he SAID to Parks. Now, you know, it may be that he was just trying to reassure Parks. Maybe he was actually turning them over to somebody else quite different.
Jim Quinn: O.K., so this is where we are right now. Obviously you haven't given up on this, right?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, it's a difficult story because the two key people are dead.
Jim Quinn: Well, of course.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: And Foster died the next day and Parks died within two months. And, as soon as Parks heard about Foster's death, his immediate reaction, the first thing he blurted out was, "I'm a dead man!" And he became completely paranoid and started taking Valium. He started packing his pistol just to sort of go down and get the mail. And then two months later he was gunned down himself. He clearly thought that Foster's death was his own death sentence.
Jim Quinn: And Gary Parks, his son, maintains the same thing. He was on the show here a couple of years ago. And Gary said the same thing, that when his dad found out about Vince Foster's death that his dad said "I am a DEAD man!" And, folks, you've got to ask yourself this question. What does it say about this administration when a guy in Arkansas hears about a lawyer in Washington killing himself and immediately concludes that he's a dead man? I mean, ask yourself, who is the guy in Arkansas afraid is going to kill him?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, that's a good--
Jim Quinn: I mean what does that say about the administration?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: We have a very clear idea of who killed Jerry Parks.
Jim Quinn: Oh, we do?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: We do, yeah.
Jim Quinn: O.K.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: You know the case has languished in Arkansas. It's been handled by the Little Rock Police Department.
Jim Quinn: Well, all those cases languish in Arkansas.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Um, some more than others. [laughs]
Jim Quinn: Yes.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: This one, they just--an open case, unsolved, but quite a lot of information has been accumulated in the case before it was handled by the current detective. Some of it sort of got out through the back door, and we have a fair idea of what went on there.
Jim Quinn: Is your suspicion that it was an Arkansas state trooper still loyal to Clinton, or what?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Um, that it was linked to a group of people who were sort of former or renegade state troopers with some loyalties still to the Clintons. Yeah, there is some strong suspicion of that. Now that doesn't necessarily prove anything.
Jim Quinn: No, of course not, but it's a devastating piece of circumstantial evidence. Can you hold on? We have to do a break, Ambrose, then we'll be right back.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Right.
Jim Quinn: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the Bureau Chief in Washington for the London Sunday Telegraph is with us this morning. He has been looking into the Clinton scandals for a long time and has written about them in the London Telegraph. And of course is probably on the "Big Brother" database, I would imagine just a few lines ahead of me. P comes before Q, doesn't it?.....
Jim Quinn: O.K. let's continue on with this Vince Foster thing. You wanted to touch on some other issues, as well.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: I just wanted to say one thing about the Jane Parks story. We decided to report it because, in the past, I've found her pretty reliable and I've been able to corroborate what she's said. In this case it's been impossible to corroborate it. I can't. It's based exclusively on one source. I cannot vouch for its truth. I simply think it's worth reporting and leave it at that. People have to make their own judgement about whether they want to believe her. So, I want to make that clear.
Jim Quinn: Well, she's a Pentecostal Christian and she's got M.S. and I'm just trying to figure out why it is she would do something like--first of all, people in Arkansas get in a lot of trouble for telling stories like this.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: And she's gotten into a lot of trouble, and after she told me this, they are clearly tapping all the phones. In fact, she was -- well, then I'd better not say this.
Jim Quinn: Oh, come on. Come on, Ambrose! Tell us.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, no, because -- no -- her phone IS tapped. And after the last time we spoke and we talked about a lot of this stuff, she says it was really serious death threats. And she, you know, requested protection from the federal government.
Jim Quinn: [laughs] Well, why doesn't THAT comfort me?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, [laughs] it is concern because when her husband was killed, there was a whole sort of raiding party came into her house that night. The FBI, the Secret Service, the IRS, ah, perhaps even the CIA. At one point there were eight federal agents in her house and they just cleaned up everything they could find.
Jim Quinn: Which of course makes you wonder what they were doing there since this was a state murder case. What did the federal government have to do with it?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, that's right. They said they didn't have jurisdiction, but in that case why were eight federal agents in her house that night? And indeed when she told the FBI agent in charge of the group, "Look, this may be connected -- this may have political ramifications," because her husband had dealings with Foster and Clinton. The guy just put up his hands and said, "Look, I don't want to hear any of this." It's quite clear that they knew already that he had these political ties, that there was a political dimension to it and they didn't WANT to investigate it. They wanted to ensure that it was basically buried.
Now, the FBI agent who was responsible for that is actually under investigation himself within the FBI right now. So you can see that this is getting a little complicated.
Jim Quinn: Yes, it certainly is, but, I mean it's pretty clear to me, and I would think to anybody who is reasonable who is listening, that this raises a thermonuclear question here! Doesn't it?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: I think it does. I think we've got a road map for the death of Foster. And I might add there was a program on A&E, the documentary last Saturday night.
Jim Quinn: There was another whitewash, wasn't it?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, it was better than "60 Minutes". But a couple of things didn't come through in that piece. First, there's an ongoing, open death investigation by Kenneth Starr. They never told us that on that piece. They made it sound as if anybody who questioned the official version of events is a conspiracy theorist. Is Ken Starr a conspiracy theorist?
Jim Quinn: No--
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: He's opened the case!
Jim Quinn: And I find it interesting that we keep hearing these rumors floated in the press in Washington about, "Well, you know, any day now Starr's going to conclude that the Fiske report was right and that he committed suicide." And, yet, oddly enough apparently Mr. Starr has no such intention.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported that, I think, in April of '95, so it was almost a year and a half ago, but it didn't happen.
Jim Quinn: No, it didn't.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: And then about five months ago he appointed a new prosecutor, Steve Parker from Memphis, just to investigate Foster's death. He's a homicide expert, one of the very few federal prosecutors who's experienced in homicide. And the Deputy Independent Counsel, Hickman Ewing, came out and said, "We'd better find out whether Foster really committed suicide or whether he was murdered." He said, "This is an open case. We have not come to one conclusion one way or the other." I just think it's dishonest for documentaries to be produced which don't tell people that. An hour discussing the case and you don't tell people it's an open case? The investigators are so concerned about this thing that they've ripped up Fort Marcy Park, they've employed one of the world's leading forensic experts, Dr. Henry Lee, to investigate blood and other issues. In other words, there are so many unanswered questions here. They feel that they have to go through everything again in greater detail than before and try and clear it up.
Jim Quinn: What about Henry Lee's credibility?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, somewhat bruised after O.J. Simpson. I'll wait and see what he does.
Jim Quinn: Now, Henry Lee, is he from Connecticut?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Yes.
Jim Quinn: O.K., now you may remember -- somebody told me, I don't know if it's true or not, so let me bounce it off you. Danny Casolaro, the writer who was found supposedly suicided in his hotel room in Martinsburg, West Virginia, apparently he was working on his story, The Octopus, which would have been a lot of what we consider today to be the connections between Vince Foster and Systematics and Jackson Stephens and BCCI and drug money and the whole nine yards, O.K.? I am told that Henry Lee was one of the people who investigated his death, as well.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Yeah, he did.
Jim Quinn: Now THAT'S curious.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: It is. Yeah, he came to some convenient ruling about -- I think Casolaro slit his wrists.
Jim Quinn: Well, apparently with a broken beer bottle, or something. He was a guy who had a pathological fear of cutting himself and, yet, he committed suicide that way.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: I mean, Henry Lee managed to find some way of explaining this, how it could be consistent with suicide. He's really good at doing that, which is he will basically do whatever his clients want him to do. That was my concern about him. You know, he will try and find a way of standing up whatever the position of the client is.
Jim Quinn: Right.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Whether it's debunking something or whether it's upholding something, he will tend to do that.
Jim Quinn: Well, let me ask you about Ken Starr. Now, Chris Ruddy -- you know Chris.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Right.
Jim Quinn: I like Chris a lot, but Chris really has a terribly low opinion of Starr. What is your take on what Star's been doing and the way he's been doing it and how he's proceeding?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, I have a lot of concerns about Ken Starr. Chris Ruddy's been very critical, but unfortunately he's too often been proved right. We optimists have actually been disappointed so many times. My concern about Starr is he completely devolved the Foster investigation to the Washington office. And, when he took over the Washington office -- he has two offices, one in Little Rock, one in Washington --
Jim Quinn: Right.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: He just kept on the same old team that Robert Fiske had appointed. And Robert Fiske had kept on this same old team of FBI guys who had done the original Foster investigation. So there's never any cleaning of house. The thing was contaminated from the beginning.
Jim Quinn: Well, is the Foster investigation continuing in Washington or in Little Rock?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: No, what's happened, finally Steve Parker was appointed. He's now working in the Little Rock office. He came up to Washington, but he worked kind of on his own. He wasn't reporting to John Bates, who runs the Washington office. He was just sort of sitting there doing his own thing, and they resented him. They didn't get on with him and he eventually left because they didn't get on. He went back down to Little Rock. But you see, he's conducting a sort of parallel investigation that's not answering to them at all, with his own FBI guy from Memphis he's brought in and using staff down in Little Rock.
Jim Quinn: Well, I would think that that's good.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: I think it's good, but what's happened, I think, is Starr realizes that he deligated everything to an operation that has been compromised -- the Washington office -- and he was working part time on this case, which I do criticize him for. It was so important, he should have given up his corporate work and just dedicated himself entirely to this.
Jim Quinn: Oh, yeah, it is. I mean, what we're looking at here, if it's murder, we're looking at a political hit. We're looking at the kind of thing that happens in a third world narco-republic that has happened to this country. And which may be personified by this administration, but may also include people from a vast number of areas of the Washington, D.C. establishment that go far beyond the Democratic Party, into the Republican Party and who knows where?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, that's right. Even in just Whitewater itself, you're talking about the President and the First Lady, I mean this is something where you've got an enormous responsibility. And I think he didn't dedicate himself to this with enough serious responsibility at first, I don't think. He handed it all over the Washington office. They screwed it up, whether deliberately or not, I don't know. And I think it's dawned on him that he's been let down by these people.
Jim Quinn: Let's hold it right here. Can you stick around for a while?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Yeah, what's the time?
Jim Quinn: It's about twenty-eight minutes after the hour.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: That's all right, yeah.
Jim Quinn: We're going to put you on hold and get right back after we do the news. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the Washington Bureau Chief for the London Sunday Telegraph with us here this morning, and we will continue....
Jim Quinn: Let's go back to the phone. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the London Sunday Telegraph's Washington Bureau Chief... What is your take on the American polls? Do you have any take on that? Because I find that the Zogby from Reuters doesn't really show a gender gap and it shows Dole closing very close -- what? -- five to eight points.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: When you get one poll that's completely out of line with the others, it's usually just an aberration. No, I don't think that the thing is significantly closed.
Jim Quinn: O.K., so you don't believe that?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, no, I think the other polls are showing there's still a substantial gap, fifteen points or so, and I really thing that's what's happening.
Jim Quinn: Yeah, but I mean this is the same media that's managed to control out of the mainstream a lot of the things that you've written about. I wonder, you have media polls, you have media coverage. If you can spin coverage, why can't you spin a poll?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, the polls are a bit misleading because they don't really measure likely voters. They have a real tendency to overstate the Democrat advantage.
Jim Quinn: Um hmm.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Especially in Congressional elections. Historically there's an eight point gap, in other words, the Republicans do eight points better in Congressional elections than the polls put forward suggested. What they call the generic ballot. Yeah but, however you slice it, Dole is in bad shape.
Jim Quinn: Well, considering the way the campaign's been handled, it's hardly a surprise.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, they've fallen between two stalls. They don't really want to get agressive. But they've been just sufficiently aggressive for people to say, "Well, there's that mean streak in Bob Dole." I mean, he's neither one nor the other. He hasn't really drawn blood, but he's shown enough of it to turn some people off.
Jim Quinn: Well, whether he's really turned people off or not, the bottom line with Dole is, Dole's got to attack Clinton -- there's so many vulnerable areas where Clinton could absolutely be slam dunked, and Dole won't do it for fear of being called mean. And the problem here is that, no matter what he does, he gets called mean, so what's the problem? Go for the jugular. And, of course, Democrats are out there saying, "Well, we certainly hope that Bob Dole doesn't get into any of these character issues. We certainly wouldn't want to see anything bad happen to Bob Dole." Hey, B.S.! They don't want to see anything bad happen to Bill! And, unfortunately, it's amazing how Republicans take advice from Democrats.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Right. Well, they really need surogates to do it. It's a problem for him to do it himself. He needs the press to do it. But the conservative press in the United States is so pusillanimous, ah --
Jim Quinn: Now, wait a minute. Now there's a twenty-five cent word.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Pusillanimous.
Jim Quinn: Pusillanimous. I have no idea what that word means. I thought I had a pretty good vocabulary. What is it?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: It's feeble. It doesn't have confidence. It doesn't understand that it can set its own news agenda. It simply reacts to the news agenda set by the mainstream liberal press.
Jim Quinn: Yeah, like AP and --
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Right, and the New York Times and Washington Post. The conservative pundits react to that agenda. What's missing in America is a really aggressive, gutsy conservative news media that just says, "To Hell with what the Washington Post writes. We're going to write about what we think is interesting and set our own agenda." In Britain or in France or in Italy, you have conservative papers and you have liberal papers, and they each write their own news. They don't just copy each other. And that's what's missing here, and I blame the conservative press. You can never -- you can't expect the liberal press to hold one of their own people to account, not seriously. It's against human nature. It's got to be done by conservatives. And they don't do it.
Jim Quinn: Let me ask you a question. Do you think there's going to be any indictments or anything happen between now and November. Will there be an October Surprise coming from Mr. Starr?
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, I think it's unlikely, but there was an interesting column a week ago in the Wall Street Journal by Terry Eastland, a close friend of Ken Starr, a very close friend of Ken Starr, debating this question whether or not Clinton's talk of pardons and his sort of campaign to blacken the reputation of Ken Starr has in effect politicized this and forced Starr's hand, and given him no alternative but to proceed with indictments before the election, if he's ready. Now that was a very important column and it's worth reading. It was last Thursday.
Jim Quinn: Well, Democrats weren't above indicting Caspar Weinberger four days before the election.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Yeah but Lawrence Walsh, who did that, was excoriated for years afterwards for having done it. And it sort of backfired. I don't think Starr wants to be in that position. But, you know, if he's basically -- if the Clinton administration, Bill Clinton, is covertly obstructing justice by signalling that he intends to pardon everybody so they won't cooperate, well then Starr's hand is forced. And if there's some danger that the whole thing is going to be closed down afterwards, straight after an election, everybody's going to be pardoned and that the investigation is going to be closed down, which is a serious possibility, then Starr will have to decide whether or not to put out the indictments on the record before the election. Now my reading of that column was that it was a sort of shot across the bow to Clinton, that if he continues with this, Starr will indict now. I didn't read it as -- I didn't get the impression that he's about to do it, but that he's thinking of doing it.
Jim Quinn: And that he needs to do it.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: He's warning them, "You be careful or I will."
Jim Quinn: Well, yesterday I speculated that everybody's looking to the Republicans to come up with an October Surprise, and I speculated yesterday that we may be looking in the wrong direction here. Knowing Bill Clinton as I do, the kind of personality that he has, he may leave foreign policy to chance, but he's never going to leave his election to chance. And if you know how things operate in Arkansas, you know that political opposition in Arkansas suddenly finds themselves stopped by a state trooper and, lo and behold, there's a bag of cocaine in the back seat, or a flash bulb goes off when they're with the wrong young lady in the wrong place --
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Right.
Jim Quinn: And all of a sudden the fix is in or there's a story about homosexuality or whatever that gets floated in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette or shows up on one of Mack McClarty's television stations. Whatever it is, sooner or later the opposition is dealt with, and I've got to wonder if Bill Clinton has got a bomb in his back pocket there just in case the polls get too tight.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Oh, they'll find some way, some diversionary spectacle, but I don't think that the Republicans have got any October Surprise worth a damn. I don't think they've got any way of defeating Bill Clinton.
Jim Quinn: Well, it's sad. If they lose this election -- I know I, for one, I'm going to go out and vote and I'm not going to give up and I'm not going to be demoralized by this -- but I've got to tell you, if they blow this election, they have squandered the biggest opportunity probably that they'll have in another forty years.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, I don't think so. I think in the end that this may consolodate their position because if Clinton went quietly at the end of this term, it wouldn't do that much damage to the Democratic Party. But I think what's going to happen in the second term is going to be so devastating that ultimately the Republicans will come back winning everything, the presidency and the Congress.
Jim Quinn: Well, and here's the other thing, too, I don't think he can get rid of Filegate, can he? I mean, he might fire Kenneth Starr but he's not going to get rid of Filegate.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, a lot of it depends on whether the Republicans control Congress, which I think they will. If he fires Ken Starr, pardons everybody, closes it all down, and there's a Republican Congress then you're going to have a huge fight.
Jim Quinn: Then you're going to have an impeachment, because the President has the power to pardon but the Congress can also determine whether the pardon was applied properly.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Yes, it would be very bloody, actually, and especially with Dan Burton becoming Chairman of the House Oversight committee.
Jim Quinn: Yes, Dan Burton apparently has really got a burr in his behind for Mr. Clinton and the whole Foster story, Mena and everything else.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: He'd be really agressive. The current Chairman, Bill Clinger, has decided he doesn't want to get into the Foster death. In fact his staff wrote a rather silly report two years ago whitewashing it -- a very ill-informed report, I might add.
Jim Quinn: Yeah, and he ended up on "60 Minutes" doing the same thing, which I found disappointing.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well, they don't know what they're talking about. You know, his staff apologized now and said, "Look, this gives us credibility on the Filegate thing because we didn't go after the Foster thing." Well, that's all very well, but what about the TRUTH?
Jim Quinn: Yeah, exactly! How about the truth, guys? Well, you know as well as I do that the last thing that anybody inside the Beltway wants to hear EVER is the truth.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: By the way, can I just say something about Ken Starr?
Jim Quinn: Sure.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: One thing that still concerns me, you know, the man he appointed to investigate Foster's death, the Associate Independent Counsel, Miquel Rodriguez, uncovered very serious evidence of foul play. He went to Starr and said, "look, I'm being obstructed. The FBI are undercutting me. The Washington office run by Mark Tuohey is undercutting me. They're not allowing me to pursue the leads. They're making it impossible for me to pursue my job." He begged Starr to back him, but Starr just washed his hands of it like Pontius Pilate. Now, Rodriguez resigned in disgust and went home to California. Now, I have some very -- it's quite clear to me that Starr's still not dealing with this thing properly. There's a crime scene photograph which shows a wound in the side of Foster's neck which is not in the autopsy report and is being suppressed. The independent forensic expert Starr has brought in to review the case is not being shown this photograph. I want to know why not. Why is the most important single piece of forensic evidence in the whole case not being shown to these experts? You know, Brian Blackbourne, the San Diego medical examiner, told me he's not been given the photograph. Now, what's going on here? Is Starr aware of this?
Jim Quinn: That's a good question.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: I mean, if he is aware of it and this photograph is being withheld from the medical examiners, then it's just a cover-up.
Jim Quinn: Well, you know as well as I do that when you start to dip you foot into the Vince Foster waters, it's a bit like taking a leak on an electric fence. This is -- apparently what this is is so big and so absolutely, if you'll pardon me for saying this again, thermonuclear that neither side wants this out.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: You know, I've been thinking about this a lot. I'm not sure it is that big, I mean in terms of all the people involved. I mean, I think it's very serious, you know, here you've got a death, a violent death. But I'm not sure it goes to national security or it goes to all kinds of instutional interests.
Jim Quinn: So you don't think that there's a huge government corruption story here and that Vince Foster is just kind of like a lesion that broke out there --
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: To the extent that, in the Park Police, the Secret Service, the FBI basically cut some corners and maybe worse in the original investigation, and then people from the Justice Department compounded that by continuing the cover-up, they now have a vested interest in protecting this. You know, you've got too many people whose own careers are on the line and they can't go back and admit they're wrong.
Jim Quinn: Yeah.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: To that extent, you've got these institutions committed to a position. But, beyond that, I think what's behind the death of Foster is not some grand national security issue. I think it's organized crime in Arkansas and I don't see why they can't grab the bull by the horns and deal with this.
Jim Quinn: Well, because organized crime in Arkansas and Bill Clinton are very close.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Well --
Jim Quinn: I mean, that leads right to Bill Clinton. Look at the connections with guys like Coia. People in Washington tell me that the Mob's got their first president and they're laughing about it.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: [laughs] Well, yeah, I mean there is that. The whole drug smuggling issue in Arkansas we haven't yet gotten to the bottom of it and I do think that this clear evidence that Clinton knew a lot about it and gave some cover to it, and that hasn't fully investigated. It certainly hasn't been fully exposed in the mainstream press in this country.
Jim Quinn: No, not at all.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: And it needs to be.
Jim Quinn: Well, if anything's going to bring it out it's going to be this CIA/Los Angeles story. Because now you've got liberals upset about it and that's a whole different ball game.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Right, I don't think the CIA is the heart of the matter. I think the CIA used these contract operatives to fly stuff down to Central America, who took advantage of that position to fly back dope, and the CIA sort of turned a blind eye to it. I don't see them as being in an instutional way, consciously and deliberately bringing drugs into the country.
Jim Quinn: Well, I'd argue that with you if I had more time.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: I think Barry Seal is an example. He was doing, as I understand it, military intelligence work spying on Soviet and Cuban installations in Nicaragua. And, you know, basically the Pentagon had to rely on drug smugglers for certain kinds of intelligence work because they had the best cover.
Jim Quinn: Can you hold on? We need to take a break. We really are running late.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: I have to take my son to school.
Jim Quinn: Oh! All right, [laughs] well that's more important than this show. Good Lord, yeah, take your son to school, and I want to thank you for joining us this morning. It's always a pleasure. I hope you'll come back on again as you continue to uncover more.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: We'll get back to this theme of Mena and the CIA later. It's not that I whitewash them completely, it's just that I don't accept -- I don't buy the whole story. You see what I mean?
Jim Quinn: O.K. That's perfectly fine. I'm interested in the truth. But please drive carefully and take your son to school, and maybe one of these days we can get you to come up and visit with us.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: I'd like to smoke a cirgar with you at one of your, ah, evening specials [the Thursday Night Think Tank which Jim Quinn hosts at a local Pittsburgh, PA area night spot].
Jim Quinn: You're absolutely welcome at any time, and I'll turn this over to Rose, our producer, and she'll get back to you.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: O.K. Thanks. Good-bye.
Jim Quinn: 'Bye. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Washington Bureau Chief for the London Sunday Telegraph.