Here we go again. For two years now, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has been leaking to select members of the press that his investigation into the death of White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster is closed and that his office is about to issue a final report concluding that it was a case of simple suicide.
Simple suicide, huh? I’ll get into that later. But, for starters, let’s examine this delay.
Now, keep in mind, if you call Starr’s office — at least as of yesterday — the official word is that the case is still open. You’ll be told that the investigation is ongoing. They’ll tell you that there is absolutely no truth to the continuing leaks about an imminent report. So, what gives?
It sounds to me like another in a long line of trial balloons floated by a very political independent counsel — one who never seems sure about anything. This is the guy, remember, who was quitting this vitally important position to take a nice cozy job at Pepperdine University. Then the criticism began and he changed his mind.
This is the guy who has told us perhaps a dozen times that the Whitewater investigation was at a “critical turning point.” Then, nothing happens.
This is the guy who, before taking this job, had never investigated anything in his life and never prosecuted a case.
This is they guy who has allowed his investigators to stumble around aimlessly — checking on Bill Clinton’s sex life, for instance, when substantive matters went unaddressed.
This is the guy who hired the pride of the O.J. Simpson defense — pathologist Henry Lee — to examine the forensic evidence in the case.
This is the guy whose team of prosecutors attempted to discredit witness Patrick Knowlton because his testimony about what he saw on the day Foster’s body was found contradicted the simple suicide finding.
This is the guy who waited months before making his investigators question residents near Fort Marcy Park about what they may have seen or heard on the day Foster died.
This is the guy who waited months to dig up the park in search of the elusive bullet, which, of course, remains elusive.
And, most importantly, this is the guy who forced the resignation of prosecutor Miquel Rodriguez because he wanted to question U.S. Park Police officers aggressively during the grand jury phase of the investigation.
Is it likely someone who did all of these things would ever get to the bottom of such a sensitive case? I never thought so. Neither did Christopher Ruddy, the only U.S. reporter to cover the case full-time for years and perhaps the most knowledgeable person in the country on Foster’s death. And neither did Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the British journalist who also did a yeoman’s job breaking stories that contradicted the official findings.
In any case, Starr’s final report has a lot of explaining to do. Such as?
- Why do photos of Foster in possession of investigators show a neck wound?
- How did Foster fire a gun into his mouth without leaving his fingerprints on the gun?
- Why was there so little blood found at the scene?
- Why weren’t Foster’s car keys found by investigators until after his body was at the morgue?
- How did his glasses manage to fly off his face after the gun was fired?
- Why wasn’t there any soil on Foster’s shoes and clothing if he walked through the park to the crime scene?
I could go on and on and on. Special Counsel Robert Fiske’s report was a joke — a sad joke perpetrated on the American people, who deserve better explanations when high-ranking government officials die under mysterious circumstances. Starr better realize this. There’s enough cynicism out there in this country, already. We don’t need another cover-up to alienate millions of other Americans.
Have I already made up my mind about Starr’s report before reading it? Let’s just say I remain skeptical — with good reason, I think — given the appalling job Starr’s investigation has done during the last two years. But I have an open mind. All Starr has to do is to answer the tough questions about this case that, so far, no one has been willing or able to address.