Do you have the feeling, as I do, that Linda Tripp knows a lot more than she is telling about activities at the White House?
In a New York Times story last Sunday it was disclosed that the former secretary to the late Vincent Foster has been working on a tell-all book, “Behind Closed Doors: What I Saw at the Clinton White House,” under the pen name “Joan Dean.”
“After Foster’s suicide,” the Times reported, “Ms. Tripp openly criticized the way senior aides ran the investigation of his death. And in her book proposal, Ms. Tripp discussed the origins of her early suspicions.”
Now listen to this, folks: “I don’t know who killed Vincent Foster,” she writes. “I don’t know why he committed suicide. I just know that everything that happened after his death was strange and suspicious. Clinton’s senior staff kept saying it was a straightforward suicide, an open-and-shut case. But they didn’t act that way. They acted like they had something to hide.”
Here we go again. Here is a principal witness in the investigation into the death of the White House deputy counsel saying, not only that there was “strange and suspicious” activity in the White House after Foster’s death, but, that she has grave reservations about whether he indeed took his own life.
Some of that strange activity involved Tripp herself. At first, she was left without a real job at the White House. After Foster’s death, she had no specific responsibilities, and it bothered her. A friend reported that she became depressed and read books about depression and suicide.
When Lloyd Cutler took over as White House counsel in 1994, he brought his own secretary with him — leaving Tripp with a desk, but even fewer responsibilities. But that situation did not last long. It became a top priority to find Tripp a position — not just any job, mind you, but one that included a big raise.
“In August 1994, the Pentagon press office was informed that it would be receiving a ‘priority placement,’” the Times article reported. “There was no opening, but there was no choice either. She was to be paid $69,427, a huge pay increase, and made a ‘public-affairs specialist.’”
Nevertheless, Tripp was still not happy. She told colleagues that she had been moved out of the White House because she knew too much about Whitewater and Foster’s death.
Then came Monica Lewinsky and a whole new level of celebrity and controversy for Tripp. Now the Pentagon, which once rated her as a model employee, is investigating her for lying on her security clearance application at the White House in 1987. Someone, somewhere, somehow discovered she had been arrested nearly 30 years ago and didn’t mention it in her application.
But, even more interesting in the Times report was what life has been like for Tripp since the Tailgate scandal broke.
“Since the scandal became public, Ms. Tripp has told friends she has received a torrent of death threats and hate mail and has gone underground,” the report said. “Fearing for her safety, her lawyers say, she has abandoned her home in suburban Maryland and not returned to her desk at the Pentagon. She moved every few days to a new refuge — her mother’s house in New Jersey, a hotel room paid for by the FBI and the homes of several friends.”
Hmmmm. Wonder why all that is necessary? Who, on earth, would want to hurt Linda Tripp?