In July 1993, Clinton aide Vince Foster was found dead in a Virginia park. The death was officially pronounced a suicide, but rumors abounded that Foster was murdered. Foster's death has ties to several White House scandals, including the administration's handling of "Travelgate," the Waco incident and the Whitewater affair.
Kenneth Starr, special counsel in charge of the Whitewater investigation, investigated Foster's death and what relationship it might have had with Whitewater.
In three articles in the Electronic Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reported on the investigation and the possibility of a coverup. In March 20, 1995's "Doubts Linger Over Clinton Aide's 'Suicide'", Evans-Pritchard reported:
A series of U.S. media reports has stated that Kenneth Starr, the special counsel probing the Whitewater scandal over an unsuccessful Arkansas development company half-owned by Bill and Hillary Clinton, is wrapping up his probe of Foster's death. ... But ... if anything, he has been stepping up his investigation. He has called 11 witnesses before a federal grand jury in Washington, and has elicited testimony from three of them that suggests the body was moved and that the crime scene was tampered with in a police cover-up.
[Starr's] investigators are disturbed by conflicting testimony from witnesses about Foster's state of mind before his death. Key figures have changed their stories, raising suspicions that there may have been an orchestrated attempt after the fact to make it look as if Foster was in the grip of a deep depression.
There is no doubt that Foster was suffering a degree of depression. Lisa Foster told investigators that he was sleeping badly and suffering from a pounding heart. A week before his death he told his sister, Sheila Anthony, a top Justice Department official that he wanted to talk to a psychiatrist but needed assurances that nothing revealed in counselling sessions could be flushed out by subpoena at a later date.
A psychiatrist told the FBI that he was contacted on July 16 by Anthony, who explained that Foster was working on "Top Secret" issues at the White House and "that his depression was directly related to highly sensitive and confidential matters" (FBI file29D-LR-35063).
One of the suspicious circumstances around Foster's death is that White House staffers removed files from Foster's office on the night of his death. Files may have been related to the Whitewater affair, or to a NSA project Foster was working on, PROMIS software used to track international money flows.
Initial Whitewater investigator Robert Fiske issued a report ruling Foster's death a suicide. Nine days before the Senate Banking Committee held hearings on the death, Foster's family issued a statement endorsing the suicide verdict: "The family believe that questions as to how and why Vince died are now answered as best they can be. There is now no justification for painful, repetitious examination of these issues. The principal advocates for doing this appear chiefly motivated by mean-spirited partisanship."
However, the family did not write those words. Associate Attorney-General Sheila Anthony and her husband Beryl drafted the statement. Both are Democratic insiders with close Clinton ties.
In May 1, 1995's "White House aide was murdered, say experts," Evans-Pritchard details further evidence supporting the theory of murder and cover-up:
Vincent Foster, the deputy White House counsel, was probably murdered and his body carried into a park as part of a staged suicide, according to a team of independent crime-scene experts employed to investigate the death.
The private report is being taken extremely seriously by the official investigation of special counsel Kenneth Starr, according to sources close to the inquiry.
Foster was an intimate friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton and handled their personal financial affairs at the White House. The US Park Police concluded that he shot himself in the mouth on July 20, 1993. Two subsequent inquiries endorsed the suicide verdict, but Starr has reopened the investigation and has called witnesses for the first time before a federal grand jury.
At a press conference on Thursday one of the experts, retired New York Police detective Vincent Scalice, said that in almost 30 years of police work he could not recall "ever running across a situation where we found a body in a case of suicide that was so neatly arranged, with the gun so conveniently positioned in the hand in such a straight, orderly fashion".
The report said that the lack of blood on the front of the body was "inconsistent" with death by a gun shot through the mouth, raising the likelihood that Foster's heart had stopped before the gun was fired.
The report was commissioned by the Western Journalism Center, a California group that supports investigative journalism.
The experts said that Foster was supposed to have walked 700 feet through a park, yet there was no soil or grass on his shoes. There was also no blood splatter on the vegetation and ground.
In May 22, 1995's "Secret Swiss link to White House death," Evans-Pritchard details revelations that Foster made unusual trips to Switzerland.
Foster flew to Switzerland on November 1, 1991 -- during the early stages of Bill Clinton's presidential bid -- returning November 3, giving him just one day on the ground. A year later, he did the same thing, flying to Switzerland December 7, 1992, -- during Clinton's presidential transition period -- and returning December 9. On July 1, 1993, he purchased another ticket to Switzerland, but never went. He received a refund for the unused ticket on July 8. He died less than two weeks later.
The Switzerland trips were just some of Foster's frequent flying. At the time of his death he had acquired more than 500,000 freqent flyer miles.
Foster's widow blames his depression on the massacre of the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas, according to the FBI. "Lisa Foster believes that Foster was horrified when the Branch Davidian complex burned. Foster believed that everything was his fault," the FBI wrote of their interview with Lisa Foster.
A strange form of support for that theory comes in the form of a car burglary. The July 14, 1995 News and Observer reported that White House lawyer Cheryl Mills had her car broken into after preparing for a Senate hearing on Whitewater. In addition to her wallet, the burglar stole a gym bag containing Mills' notes on the Foster affair and on Waco.
During the 1995 U.S. House hearings on Waco, Texas Rangers disclosed that when they were in dispute with the FBI about the destruction of evidence, someone in the Texas Governor's office gave them Vince Foster's phone number to contact. The hearings revealed that the only document found in Foster's Waco file was a memorandum that Foster was forwarding "Waco, the Big Lie" (a videotape charging government conspiracy) to to the Treasury Department.