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The Foster Investigation Continues
Three Years and Counting
By Edward Zehr, July 22, 1996
The Washington Weekly, (

Two unresolved controversies, ignored by the mainstream press, continue to haunt the Washington scene. They have taken root in the alternative media, notably talk radio and the Internet, where they continue to undermine the credibility of the national news media and call into question the capability of the federal government to investigate gross malfeasance within its own ranks.

The most egregious of these is the Mena affair, which numerous governmental agencies, both state and federal, have tried and failed to investigate, the latest being Congressman Jim Leach's House banking committee. At issue is the question of whether high government officials, including the present and previous chief executives, had guilty knowledge of the illegal importation of narcotics into this country by agents of the federal government.

The other issue involves the alleged suicide of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster on July 20, 1993, the failure of the responsible federal authorities to properly investigate his death, and the unwillingness of the mainstream media to fully and honestly report the facts involved in the case. Despite the fact that three years have now elapsed since Foster's body was discovered in Fort Marcy Park, near Washington, D.C., a definitive ruling on the cause of his death has yet to be given. The matter is still under investigation by Kenneth Starr's independent counsel's office. Although mainstream news outlets, notably the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, reported last year that Starr's investigators were about to rule Foster's death a suicide, they have yet to do so.


A new development surfaced recently when the widow of Little Rock private investigator Jerry Parks told a reporter for the London Telegraph that her husband, who was murdered in Arkansas in September 1993, had conducted a secret surveillance of then Governor Bill Clinton in 1990. According to Mrs. Parks, the surveillance was "orchestrated" by Vincent Foster, but the person who instigated it was none other than Foster's law partner, Hillary Rodham Clinton. An article in the Sunday Telegraph of July 14 quotes her as saying, "Jerry asked Vince why he needed this stuff on Clinton. He said he needed it for Hillary."

Parks had apparently collected an extensive file on Clinton in the years immediately preceding his murder. His son, Gary, accompanied him on several surveillance operations involving the use of long- range cameras to record activity at the apartments of Gennifer Flowers and other women friends of Clinton. When Park's files were stolen in July of 1993, he became paranoid. According to Mrs. Parks. "He believed that Foster had been murdered and he was afraid that he'd be next."


The recent scandal involving the alleged misuse of FBI background investigations by White House officials has revived old questions regarding the role played by the former security chief of White House personnel, Craig Livingstone, in an alleged coverup of the details relating to Foster's death.

According to an editorial that appeared in the July 12 Wall Street Journal, one of the few American newspapers that has made a serious effort to cover the Foster story, Mr. Livingstone was among the first to be told that Foster's body had been found at Fort Marcy Park. The Fiske Report on Foster's death says that Livingstone was notified of the death at home, around 9 p.m., and went to the morgue with White House official William Kennedy to identify the body. They then proceeded to Foster's home where they remained until around 2 a.m. Livingstone got very little sleep that night. In the account he gave Senate investigators, Livingstone said that he went home for a few hours sleep and then returned to Foster's residence, sitting outside in his car from 6:30 until 8 a.m., to see whether the press visited the Foster residence. (Why a visit from the press was anticipated at that hour is left unexplained). He logged into the White House at 8:14.

It is not entirely clear why it was necessary for Kennedy and Livingstone to identify the body, as it had already been identified earlier that evening. One aspect of the case that has never been explained is the discovery of Foster's car keys in his pocket, at the morgue, after the departure of Kennedy and Livingstone. Police had searched Foster's clothing earlier at the park, without finding the keys. When emergency workers first examined Foster's car in the parking lot at Fort Marcy Park, they found the doors locked. Yet, when the police searched it, less than an hour later, the doors were unlocked. The thing that puzzles many who have followed the case is how the car doors came to be unlocked if the keys were on Foster's person the whole time. If, on the other hand, Foster did not have the keys and they were not locked inside the car, how was he able to drive to the park?

While he admits that he visited Foster's suite in the White House several times that morning, Livingstone denies entering the office, or removing any documents. Secret Service officer Bruce Abbot told the Senate Whitewater committee a different story. According to Abbot's deposition, Livingstone left the West Wing that morning carrying a "leather or vinyl-type briefcase, opening from the top, much in the fashion of a litigator's bag or lawyer's briefcase." Abbot subsequently observed Livingstone leave the building with an unidentified individual carrying boxes "with what appeared to be, looked to me to be loose-leaf binders."


Although the Fiske report does not mention it, a briefcase was seen in Foster's car at Fort Marcy Park by five witnesses. Christopher Ruddy, a journalist who has written extensively on the Foster case, has identified two motorists and two paramedics who told the Whitewater grand jury in Washington that they had seen the briefcase. While others have testified that there was no briefcase at the scene, White House staffer Thomas Castleton told federal investigators in 1994 that Foster was carrying a briefcase when he left his office. That raises the question of what happened to the briefcase if it was not found in Foster's car. The Wall Street Journal editorial suggests that Livingstone might have been assigned to retrieve Foster's briefcase and sanitize it.


While this could easily be written off as mere conjecture, the numerous unanswered questions in the Foster case invite such speculation. Three years is a very long time for the violent death of a high government official to go unexplained. A complete laundry list of the incongruities in the Foster investigation would exceed the space allotted this article. In addition to Mr. Ruddy, the New York Post reporter, John Crudele, the British journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and lay investigator Hugh Sprunt have noted more than a hundred discrepancies in the report on Foster's death released by Robert Fiske, Kenneth Starr's predecessor as special counsel in the Whitewater investigation. A few of the highlights should suffice to illustrate the magnitude of the incongruities.

After Foster's body was discovered in the park, the U.S. Park Police claimed jurisdiction to conduct the investigation. Their lead investigator on the case was conducting his first homicide investigation.

The FBI were kept out of the investigation initially. The police were never allowed to conduct a proper search of Foster's office, where documents pertinent to the case are thought to have been kept before the room was swept by White House aides.

Two years were allowed to pass before inquiries were made in the neighborhood near the park to determine whether shots had been heard on the afternoon of Foster's death. (They hadn't).

The description of the exit wound in the back of Foster's head given the FBI by Dr. Haut, a physician who examined Foster's body at the death scene, contradicts that given in the Fiske report. The paucity of blood and tissue under the head, the absence of "blowback" (blood and tissue expelled from the mouth) as well as the relatively small amount of blood found on Foster's shirt, seem inconsistent with a head wound inflicted upon a living person by a .38 caliber bullet.

While parts of the skull were missing, no skull fragments were found at the putative death scene. The fatal bullet has not been found either, despite exhaustive searches made by the FBI until as recently as last year.

Although a .38 caliber revolver produces a substantial recoil, no damage was noted to the teeth. This, despite the fact that the 4- inch barrel of the revolver was said to have been inserted into the mouth of the victim all the way to the soft palate.

The attitude of the body, laid out straight with the arms at the sides, is said by some veteran homicide investigators to be a highly unlikely position for the body of a head-shot victim to assume.

Paramedics reported seeing a small wound in Foster's neck, although this was not mentioned in the Fiske report. An enhanced polaroid photograph is said to depict such a wound as well.

Although Foster would have had to traverse 700 feet of bone-dry soil to get from the parking lot to the location in which his body was found, no dust from the park was found on his shoes. Visitors to the scene all attest that it is impossible to walk this route without getting dirt on the shoes.

Foster's glasses were found 19 feet from his body. A particle of unexploded gunpowder found on the glasses was not from the bullet fired by the gun found in Foster's hand.

Foster's fingerprints were not found on the gun, nor was there any blood found on the supposed death weapon.

The gun found in Foster's hand was never positively identified. His widow described his personal weapon as being silver in color, yet the revolver shown in a photograph that was leaked to the press and shown on TV by ABC News was of a dark blue color. It turned out to be a composite weapon, made up of parts from several old revolvers and is essentially untraceable.

The first person to view the body reported that there was no gun in Foster's hand, as did the first police officer on the scene.

All of the 35mm photos taken at the scene were underexposed. Underexposed images can be recovered using modern techniques of computer enhancement, however it is not known at this time whether that has been done. Many of the polaroid photos taken at the scene were "lost". Those that remain are said to be of poor quality.

Foster's clothing and underclothes were covered with blonde hair and carpet fibers. The official explanation is that the fibers may have come from a new carpet in his house, but the quantity found on his clothing indicates that he must have been lying on the floor. It was also suggested that his underclothes may have picked up the hair and fibers when they were bagged with the rest of his clothing at the police lab, but fibers were also found on his jacket and tie which were not bagged with the other items. According to the Fiske report, the FBI made no attempt to determine the origin of the hair or fibers.

Much has been made of Foster's supposed state of depression just prior to his death, yet some members of his family found his behavior to be quite normal. His youngest son, Brugh, talked with Foster the night before his death and found his mood to be calm as he made plans to buy a boat that the family could use on weekends. He seemed to be in a good mood as he drove his daughter Laura to work the following morning. His sister, Sharon Bowman, had flown to Washington from Little Rock with her daughter on July 20 to visit with the Fosters. She arrived on the evening the body was found. Jim Lyons, a friend of his, was traveling all the way from Colorado to meet him the next day. A letter which Foster mailed to his mother just prior to leaving his office for the last time gave no indication of his impending death.

Two Arkansas state troopers have sworn by deposition that they were informed of Foster's death at around 6 p.m. by Helen Dickey, a White House employee. Yet the White House maintains that they were not notified of the death until after 8:15 p.m. at the earliest. Dickey has said in testimony given the Senate Whitewater committee that she made the call much later, but the two troopers were never called to testify. The committee's minority counsel Ben-Veniste maintained that an attorney for trooper Roger Perry had indicated that Perry did not wish to testify, but Perry vehemently denies this.

Although the Park Police searched the briefcase in Foster's office without finding it, a "suicide note" was subsequently discovered by White House aides, torn into 28 pieces, one of which is unaccounted for. Foster's fingerprints were not on the note. Three certified handwriting experts subsequently pronounced the note to be a forgery. Because their work was commissioned by the "right-wing" Strategic Investment newsletter, most of the mainstream press have chosen to ignore it. Several "left-wing" newspapers have alleged that at least one of the experts is not qualified, however, he is at least certified, which is more than can be said for the police "expert" who originally pronounced the note to be genuine. It seems that handwriting analysis is a hobby with him - he has no official certification whatever.


It would be wretchedly excessive to go on with this litany of deception and incompetence. What actually happened to Vincent Foster on that July afternoon three years ago is the darkest of mysteries and it will remain so if the federal government and the mainstream media continue to have their way. The only person who can shed any light on the matter at this point is Kenneth Starr. Whether or not he intends to do so remains to be seen. The fact that he has not yet issued the long anticipated report on Foster's death must be a source of anxiety for a number of people at the White House.

The most explicit comment by anyone close to the Foster case was made immediately following Foster's death by Clinton's close friend, then Assistant Attorney General Webster Hubbell (presently serving a term in a federal institution of an entirely different sort): "Don't believe a word you hear. It was not suicide. It couldn't have been."

[Printed in the July 22, 1996 issue of the Washington Weekly]