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Today In History: Vincent Foster

Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the death of Clinton White House counsel Vincent Foster.His body was found in Fort Marcy Park, and the death was ruled a suicide. I remember I found out from my parents. My father told me about it and I remember my mother finding it poignant that he had gone to Davidson College (my father is from Davidson and grew up around that college.) My grandfather had probably met him, although I wouldn't know. (My grandfather died in 1969, before anyone knew who Vincent Foster was, so he would not have told me).

His death was ruled a suicide, although many have questioned that. Some say he died under embarrassing circumstances and his body was moved to Fort Marcy Park. Others say he was murdered.

I don't know what happened to him, but I don't believe the official version and have doubted it  for a long time. My suspicions began with the identification of the gun he was found with. The original report says that his wife gave a positive ID of the gun. The problem is, the gun he was found with is NOT the gun his wife was shown. He was found with a black gun, and in the 302 of the FBI interview with his wife Lisa Foster, she said it "may be the silver gun she brought up with her other belongings when she moved permanently to Washington".  This is a description of the gun being shown to her. Earlier, she had been shown the actual crime-scene gun by park police. In the Park Police notes, it says "not the gun she thought it must be. large, six-gun, silver barrel".   In other words, a description of the gun she was later shown (not the one at the crime scene) and identified.

As I said, this is the first piece of evidence that suggested to me that there might be more to the story of his death than suicide. I learned about the gun anomaly first on a web site, and then went to the library to look through the government documents to see if it was authentic and in context.

This is not the only piece of evidence that makes me suspicious. There were problems with the X-rays. There were none. However, one of the coroners, James Beyer, explained to the Senate Whitewater committee that the X-ray machine wasn't working, but earlier had expressed an opinion to the park police based on x-rays that  WERE taken. He made this statement under questioning by Lauch Faircloth, the most underrated (and it must be said, least telegenic) senator of all time.

There are many other anomalies which suggest Foster did not commit suicide in Fort Marcy  Park. One of the most bizarre developments involved the Supreme Court. The Wall Street Journal had gone to the Supreme Court, asking to see Robert Fiske's report. The court apparently ruled against them. One can only say "apparently", because the actual ruling was sealed!

Many point to Ken Starr's conclusion,  agreeing with  the previous suicide conclusions, that suicide must indeed be that case. The reasoning was that  Ken Starr was determined to get the Clinton's, and if someone like that accepted the official explanation, it must be true.

There are a couple of  problems with that argument. The first is that it's arguable that  Ken Starr was not  the pit bull that Clinton fans said he was. In fact there is evidence that he really wanted to  prove that Foster committed suicide. He spent a lot of money on bulldozers and metal detectors in Fort Marcy Park to find the bullet that killed Foster. Finding a bullet would have bolstered the case that  Vincent Foster did in fact shoot himself in Fort Marcy  Park.

Moreover, the  finding that Foster's death was suicide closed the case. If there were a finding that it wasn't suicide, that would have left open the question of  what did happen. The pressure on Starr to answer that question would have been enormous. He had very good reason to punt.

When his report was issued, Starr was ordered by  a panel of judges to include an appendix by witness Patrick Knowtlon that provided evidence against  Starr's conclusions.