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Foster death report sees professional 'hit'

Posted By Sarah Foster On 09/15/1999 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

A three-judge federal panel yesterday unsealed a 511-page report,
submitted by Kenneth Starr grand jury witness Patrick Knowlton in June,
which — in the view of its authors — presents incontrovertible
evidence of conspiracy and cover-up by the Justice Department and the
Office of the Independent Counsel in connection with their
investigations into Vincent Foster’s death and counters the official
conclusion that the top White House official “committed suicide by
gunshot in Fort Marcy Park on July 20, 1993.”

At the same time, the panel — headed by David B. Sentelle, with
Richard
D. Cudahy and Peter T. Fay — denied Knowlton’s request that this report
be attached as an amendment to the Interim Report (the “Starr Report”)
on the investigation of Foster’s death, which was released Oct. 10,
1997. There has been no final report.

The just-released document is certain to fuel the ongoing controversy
surrounding the administration’s scenario of Foster’s death. It is a
point-by-point analysis and refutation of the 114-page, double-spaced,
Starr Report, overpowering it in both size and substance.

Knowlton’s report is, in fact, an expansion of an earlier 20-page
filing, also by Knowlton — comprised of a nine-page letter and 11 pages
of exhibits — which had been accepted by the same panel as an
attachment to the Starr Report.

Knowlton filed that report in September 1997, a month before Starr’s
Report was released. The statute authorizing creation of the Office of
Independent Counsel allows persons “named in the report” to request
permission to attach comments to reports. Over strenuous objections by
the independent counsel, the Special Division of the U.S. Court of
Appeals — the same panel of judges which authored yesterday’s ruling –
granted that permission and ordered the Office of the Independent
Counsel (OIC) to include Knowlton’s 20 pages in the appendix to the
Starr Report.

John Clarke, Knowlton’s attorney — who has worked tirelessly on the
case — discussed the significance of today’s ruling and the report with
WorldNetDaily, portions of which were provided by fax.

“The report has been under seal,” he said. “That means it had to be
kept secret until a decision was made by the court. Even the fact that
we filed it was kept secret.

“We asked them (the court) for a couple of things,” Clarke continued.
“We asked them to lift the seal as soon as they made their decision,
which they did. And we also asked them to substitute it (the report) for
our 20-page filing. They didn’t do that; they did not order it attached
to Ken Starr’s report.”

But not because they rejected the evidence, Clarke is quick to note.

“What they said was they didn’t have jurisdiction to grant relief,”
he explained. “They didn’t rule against us on the merits of what we were
asking; they just said that they didn’t have jurisdiction under the law
to give this relief.”

Knowlton charges Starr’s investigation simply added “another layer to
the 6-year-old ongoing Justice Department cover-up” — a cover-up that
began the night of the death and continued through subsequent
investigations including an initial 16-day examination by the FBI and
two probes by the two independent counsels — a reference not only to
Starr’s work, but to that of Special Counsel Robert Fiske, whose report
was issued June 30, 1994.

Knowlton’s two reports are built on charges developed in a civil suit
he filed Oct. 25, 1996, charging FBI agents, U.S. Park Police employees
and others with obstruction of justice, witness intimidation, and
personal harassment. An amended
complaint was filed last
October adding defendants and additional information.

The civil rights suit was dismissed Sept. 9. Today Knowlton was
expected to file a motion to reconsider that ruling while he prepares to
appeal the ruling of John Garrett Penn to the United States Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia.

“We’re attempting — in both these actions — to prove that there was
a cover-up surrounding events in the death of Vince Foster, and, I
think, we’ve pretty clearly done that,” Knowlton’s attorney John Clarke
told WorldNetDaily. “It’s a cover-up from one end to another.”

“The current report is more complete than the earlier one,” said
Clarke.

“The other had five points demonstrating a cover-up, but this really
nails it down. The Starr Report makes about 80 points, and not a single
one stands up to scrutiny. Not one.

“In this report we’ve proved there was a crime — though we’re
nowhere near the point where we can say who did it or why,” he said.

In Clarke’s opinion: “I think the evidence is consistent with a
professional hit.”

Foster’s body was found July 20, 1993, at 5:50 p.m. near the
northwest corner of Fort Marcy Park, Va., 700 feet from the parking lot.
He was lying on his back on one of the three earthwork berms that
comprise the fort. There was no evidence of a struggle. The official
cause of death — touted from the outset as a suicide — was declared
due to a gunshot fired into the mouth, the weapon, said to be a black
1913 Army Colt .38 Special six-shot revolver, was said to have been
found in Foster’s hand. This, despite insistence by the civilian witness
who discovered the body that Foster’s arms were at his side, palms up –
and not a gun in sight. The bullet allegedly went through the soft
palate and exited near the top of the back of his head. Depression was
the reason cited for the supposed suicide, though most of his friends
said Foster gave no indication of being depressed and were shocked when
they heard the news.

The White House account from the outset was met with a barrage of
criticism from some very vocal, outspoken critics — among them Western
Journalism Center, the parent organization of WorldNetDaily.

Another is witness Patrick Knowlton, 44, who had stopped briefly at
Fort Marcy an hour and a half before the body was discovered. He insists
Foster’s silver-gray 1989 Honda was not in the parking lot at 4:30 p.m.
when he arrived, though Foster had presumably driven it there, parked,
then walked 700 feet to the earthworks of the fort where he took his own
life. Knowlton did, however, see a mid-1980s model, rust-brown Honda
with Arkansas plates and a blue late-model sedan.

Knowlton later reported that no one was in the Honda, but the driver
of the sedan stood by that car watching him “menacingly” as he walked
into the woods seeking a secluded place where he could relieve himself,
and he was still there when Knowlton returned a few minutes later.

Knowlton notified the U.S. Park Service as to what he had seen in the
parking lot as soon as word of Foster’s death was made public on July
21, but was not contacted for a statement until the following spring.
FBI agents interviewed him in April and May 1994 prior to the release of
the Fiske Report, but falsified his account of what he saw. Despite
Knowlton’s insistence that the car he saw was a 1983-84 rust-brown
Honda, the agents in their report wrote that he had seen Foster’s 1989
Honda.

It was clearly important to establish that Foster’s car was in the
parking lot at 4:30 p.m. since the medical examiner and others later set
the approximate time of death between 2:00 and 4:20 p.m. The question is
– if Foster’s car was not at the park at 4:30 p.m., as Knowlton
insists, where was it? And if Foster did not drive to the park, how did
he or his body get there?

Those are just two of the glaring inconsistencies in the official
account, which are examined by the authors of the report: Knowlton
himself, a master-carpenter who has since become a certified private
investigator; attorney John Clarke, who wrote the report; and Washington
entertainer Hugh Turley. Turley — a magician, skilled in the art of
sleight-of-hand — was intrigued by the behind-the-scenes machinations
of those engaged in the cover-up, the “smoke-and-mirrors, now you see
it, now you don’t” aspects of the case.

“He could recognize diversionary tactics and would point out where
they (the OIC investigators and FBI) were playing hide-the-ball in their
operations and reports,” Clarke said.

In addition to the 511 pages of the analysis itself, the Knowlton
Report has an additional 600 pages of 184 exhibits, all but five of
which were generated by the government itself.

“We have worked strictly from what is in the public record,” said
Clarke, referring to the materials the Knowlton team had at its
disposal. These include testimony, depositions, reports of various
kinds, FBI interview reports, photos, laboratory reports, investigators’
memos and handwritten notes. The team also drew on accounts by witnesses
contacted in 1994 in preparation of the Fiske Report but who were never
subpoenaed to appear before the Starr grand jury.

“We set this out as a trial, showing people the evidence, asking them
to look at it,” said Clarke. “We know people have theories about what
happened, but we aren’t trying to prove any of that — only that there
was a cover-up. We show where the FBI and others falsified reports, we
show how and where there were omissions, but we’ve stayed away from
exploring any of our own theories as to who the killer was or who might
have ordered the hit.”

“Unless we had hard evidence — either a deposition, testimony or a
report — we didn’t use it,” said Clarke.

Acquiring that evidence wasn’t easy, in part because much of it is
off limits. The OIC built its case to an astonishing degree on documents
not yet released to the public, thereby hamstringing verification of its
findings by independent investigators.

“In its footnotes the Starr Report refers readers to documents that
purport to prove the conclusions it makes,” Knowlton’s Report declares.
“Of these 353 footnotes, 265, or 75 percent of them, refer the reader to
documents that are unavailable.”

In their evaluation of the Starr Report, the three researchers
focused on its inconsistencies and contradictions.

“People say, ‘Well, even if this-or-that point (in the Report) is
wrong the greater weight of evidence shows he (Vince Foster) committed
suicide at Fort Marcy Park,’” said Clarke. “They’re looking at the
evidence the right way, but they’re not looking at all of the evidence.
They’re taking on faith what Starr has to say, and they figure you have
to expect one or two anomalies. They’re right. You could expect a few –
but not every point should be an anomaly.

“Yet every point the Starr Report makes is, in fact, an anomaly, with
inadequate explanations and downright lies. From one end to another
there’s nothing in there that’s true,” he said.

“We don’t know where Foster was killed or when,” he continued. “It
could have been at the White House compound and his body was brought to
the park along the back road; or he could have been driven to the park
while he was still alive. We simply don’t know. However, we do know
that there is no record of his driving his car from the White House —
only that his body shows up five hours after he was seen alive by a
Secret Service man at 1 o’clock.”

To Clarke it’s “obvious” what happened — even though he doesn’t know
where or when. Foster died from a gunshot wound to the right side of the
neck, near the jawline, between the ear and the chin — with the
trajectory of the bullet going upwards through the tongue and into the
brain. It struck the skull about three inches below the top of the
skull, fracturing it, but not exiting. Blood drained from the entrance
wound onto his neck and right shoulder and also accumulated in his
mouth. The gun used was a .22 or other low-caliber “which would account
for the small amount of blood reported by the paramedics and Park Police
officers who were among the first at the scene,” Clarke explained.

Since Fort Marcy is a national park, law enforcement within its
boundaries is the responsibility of the U.S. Park Police, a federal
agency.

“Over 20 people (Park Police and paramedics) saw the body at the park
and nobody reported a large exit wound at the back of the head,” Clarke
said emphatically. “Plus, the bullet was never found.”

Continuing on this theme, Clarke observed there is some testimony
indicating the bullet may have exited the back of Foster’s neck and did
not remain in the skull, even though it was not found at the park. “But
that’s not the point,” he said. “The point is there was a bullet entry
neck wound and everyone from the Park Police to Kenneth Starr has tried
to cover that up.”

Asked what he considered the most significant findings in the report,

Clarke drew attention to the section about the gunshot residue on
Foster’s hands, which the OIC maintains is proof that he fired the gun.
The Knowlton Report offers an interpretation its authors believe is more
in keeping with the facts.

“Foster couldn’t have fired the weapon with the gunshot residue the
way it was left on his hands,” Clarke said. “The residue was caused by
Foster holding his hands consistent with a defensive posture.” That is,
“His hands were spread open; he wasn’t touching the gun, though he seems
to have been pushing the barrel away when the gunman pulled the
trigger.”

Foster Nolton Report
From page 250 of the Knowlton Report: “Mr. Foster held his hands with the palms facing the revolver’s cylinder — consistent with his hands being in a defensive posture.”

To clarify this interpretation, the Report includes an illustration showing the likely position of Foster’s hands.

Clarke also characterized as “significant” the fact that the
manufacturer (Remington) of the bullets that were found in the official
death weapon has never used what is called ball smokeless powder.

“Ball smokeless powder is what was found on Vince Foster’s body and
clothing,’ said Clarke. “We think that’s significant because it’s used
for reloads. But professional hit men also use it to get particular
firing characteristics out of a gun. That would be consistent with there
being no exit wound. They’d put a light powder charge in the gun so that
it wouldn’t blow the back of his head off as it would, had it been stock
ammunition. That’s why I think it was a professional hit.”

A third major finding, in Clarke’s opinion, was the role played at
the Fort Marcy Park crime scene by Sgt. Robert Edwards — a role the FBI
and later the OIC tried to conceal. By carefully going over the
statements of the “firefighters” (emergency medical technicians),
paramedics and Park Police officers, the Knowlton team was able to
compile a minute-by-minute timetable of who arrived when, where they
went, what they did, who and what they saw, and so on.

Comparing the timetable with the witness accounts of the state of the
body, “We found out that the body had been tampered with at Fort Marcy
Park and by whom,” said Clarke. “It was Sgt. Edwards. We have flat-out
proved that.”

Edwards has long been recognized by Foster-death skeptics as a
mystery man. He was with the Glen Echo Station of the U.S. Park Police,
but was not the shift commander that evening nor was he one of the
detectives on the case.

“I still don’t know who he is,” said Clarke. “(Investigator John)
Rolla testified he had never seen him before and nobody knew who he was
– but I don’t know if he (Rolla) was right on this because there was
never any follow-up on the depositions.

“But he (Edwards) was definitely assigned to the Glen Echo station,
because I called there and learned he had been transferred to Georgia.”

Specifically, Edwards was transferred to the Federal Law Enforcement
Training Center at Glynco, Ga., to serve as an instructor, according to
a statement obtained by WorldNetDaily though a Freedom of Information
Act request in 1997.

Despite his somewhat ambiguous position at the Glen Echo station, at
6:28 p.m. Edwards arrived and took charge of the investigation — only
to disappear 20 minutes later as quietly as he had arrived. For over 15
minutes he was alone with Foster’s body.

It was not his earliest involvement in the case. According to Clarke,
it was Edwards who granted Park Police Officer Kevin Fornshill
permission to respond to the scene, even though Fornshill was on duty
guarding the CIA headquarters which is not far away. Fornshill
reportedly had heard the report on the police radio at 6:05 p.m. of a
dead body at the park and asked leave to attend.

With permission from Edwards, Fornshill left his assigned post and
arrived at Fort Marcy either by unmarked car or scooter (accounts vary),
possibly before the Fairfax County emergency response team four minutes
later. Fornshill told firefighter Todd Hall and paramedic George
Gonzalez, who were among the first arrivals, to go in one direction to
look for the body, while he went in another and discovered it before
anyone else.

Here is a synopsis of the following 45 minutes:

Upon finding the body, Fornshill called Hall and Gonzalez over to its
location and radioed word that it was an apparent suicide. Hall noticed
a gun in Foster’s hand — something the civilian who discovered the
body, in later interviews by the FBI, adamantly denied was there.

Clarke recreated the scene for WorldNetDaily: “Fornshill all of a
sudden appears with these two firefighters, he just appears out of
somewhere in the park proper — not in the parking lot as some people
reported — he appears in the park, directs the two paramedics to go one
way, he goes the other way and finds the body.

“Then he calls the two paramedics over; they come over; through the
trees Hall sees people running away from the body site; and Fornshill
who was at the body for over 10 minutes, sometimes alone, claims never
to have seen the weapon — and he radioed it (the death) an apparent
suicide.”

At 6:17 Officer Franz Ferstl — the patrol officer on the beat –
arrived and at 6:24 began taping off the scene. Fornshill’s supervisor,
Sgt. Edwards, radioed he had arrived, and Fornshill began walking to the
parking lot.

Between 6:24 and 6:29 Ferstl taped off the scene and took seven
Polaroid pictures. Several paramedics and firefighters arrived; they saw
dry blood on the right side of Foster’s shirt. Paramedic Richard Arthur
saw a small caliber bullet wound in the right side of the neck, just
under the jaw line. He also noticed a large caliber semi-automatic
pistol in Foster’s hand and concluded it didn’t match the smaller
caliber bullet hole in the neck.

At 6:25 Richard Arthur and his team returned to the parking lot.
Fornshill, too, had left the body site and met Sgt. Edwards as he was
approaching it. Edwards told Fornshill to return to his post at the CIA.

At 6:26 Edwards arrived at the site while Ferstl was taking pictures.
He asked Ferstl to hand over the seven Polaroids and ordered him to
return to the parking lot. The photos were not inventoried and Edwards
never turned them in as evidence.

From 6:27 until 6:43, Edwards was alone with the body. How did he
spend that time?

According to the Report, “Sometime during the over 15 minutes
Sergeant Edwards was alone with the body, an untraceable .38 caliber
black revolver replaced the automatic pistol in Mr. Foster’s hand.
Edwards also moved Mr. Foster’s head to the right side, causing blood to
flow out of the mouth onto his right side (and leaving a stain on the
right cheek from its contact with the bloody right shoulder). This made
it appear that the blood already on the right side, which had in fact
drained from the right side neck wound, had come from the mouth. He thus
concealed the existence of the neck wound (inconsistent with suicide),
and made it appear as if Mr. Foster may have been shot in the mouth
(consistent with suicide). The official explanation for the contact
blood stain on the right cheek is that it had appeared when an unknown
fire-and-rescue worker checked the pulse.”

Of those witnesses who saw Foster’s body before 6:27 p.m.,
investigator Christine Hodakievic was the only one who saw it after
Edwards had been alone with it. Her report addressed the activities in
the parking lot, however, not the appearance of the body at the site.
When she saw photographs of the body later, she said the appearance of
the body had changed from when she saw it.

Park Police officers who were now arriving later reported that
Foster’s shirt had fresh wet blood on it as well as the older, dark
dried blood the earlier witnesses had seen. No one recalled seeing bone
fragments, brain matter or an exit wound. Investigator Rolla examined
Foster’s head and found only a “mushy spot” near the top of the skull at
the back, which would be consistent with there being a fracture.

Sgt. Edwards disappeared as mysteriously as he arrived. He was
observed taking Polaroids — which he later reportedly denied. No one
knows when he left, but it was some time around 6:50.

For all his involvement at the scene, there is no public record of
his being interviewed by the FBI or Fiske investigators.

“There’s something very strange there,” Clarke observed.

Here are some other “very strange” happenings and OIC contradictions
detailed in Knowlton’s report:

The cars at the park: Foster’s silver-gray 1989 Honda was
allegedly found in the parking lot, though even that isn’t certain.

Commented Clarke: “The Park Police describe the car that was found as
silver. Almost everyone else — including Patrick — describes it as
red, rust-brown, or brown. We make the point that it really doesn’t
matter when Vince Foster’s car arrived, if it ever arrived. One theory
is it never arrived — that they brought it in at night and photographed
it there at night. But I don’t know that for sure.

“The point is it wasn’t there at 4:30 when Patrick was there and
Foster was presumably dead.”

Foster’s missing keys: Investigator John Rolla checked
Foster’s pockets at the site and found no car keys, though Foster
carried two rings of keys. Later that evening — following a visit to
the morgue by William Kennedy and Craig Livingstone — Rolla checked
Foster’s pockets again and discovered both key rings.

“We don’t know that Livingstone or Kennedy put the keys in his
pocket,” said Clarke. “We know — and documented — that those two men
were there at the morgue before Rolla arrived, something the OIC tried
to conceal.”

The guns at the park: Only two of the witnesses who saw the
gun before Edwards was there remembered what type of gun it was. Said
Clarke, “One of them, (paramedic George) Gonzalez called it a revolver,
and (paramedic Richard) Arthur is 100 percent sure it was a
semi-automatic and even drew a picture of it while under oath. He was
adamant about it.

“So it looks like what Arthur saw was a semi-automatic, which is what
the Park Police carry,” Clarke observed.

Lack of fingerprints: Foster’s fingerprints were on neither
the official gun nor its ammunition. The FBI lab explained that problem
away, saying latent prints could be “destroyed” by the summer heat;
however, one print was found on the pistol grip. Tests showed it did not
match Foster’s or the prints of any of the investigators handling the
gun. “To this day, that print still has not been compared to those on
file in the FBI database,” the Report charges.

The Autopsy: “The Starr Report hides the fact that the autopsy
began before the police arrived, in violation of the requirements of the
Medical Examiner’s Office,” observes the Knowlton Report; moreover, the
autopsy was begun a day ahead of schedule and without the two
investigating officers being in attendance.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, July 22, Fairfax County Medical
Examiner Dr. James Beyer, with only an assistant whose name he refused
to divulge, began the autopsy some time before 10 a.m., Wednesday. By
the time investigators did arrive, Beyer had destroyed considerable
evidence about the alleged gunshot in the mouth.

“Prior to our arrival the victim’s tongue had been removed as well as
parts of the soft tissue from the pallet,” Officer James Morrissette
reported. The OIC carefully omitted Morrisette’s sentence from its
report, saying six people attended the autopsy, but neglecting to
mention they weren’t all present when Beyer began his work.

Missing X-rays: There are “conflicting reports” explaining the
lack of x-ray evidence: x-rays were taken and readable (but lost);
x-rays were taken but unreadable; the x-ray machine was broken; and that
it worked “sometimes, but not for Mr. Foster’s autopsy.” Testifying
before a Senate committee in 1994, Dr. Beyer said, “the machine wasn’t
working — and I saw no need to take an x-ray.”

It’s now “up to the American people,” said Clarke.

“We’ve shown a crime was committed. Congress has failed in its
responsibilities and is not going to look at this until enough people
know what happened and start demanding answers. The news media have
failed — they won’t look at it because they have so much to lose. And
the Office of Independent Counsel has failed. If word doesn’t get out,
it means that the Office of Independent Counsel is infected with the
kind of corruption it is designed to expose and prosecute.

“Now that it’s been unsealed the Report will be on the Internet and
in bookstores. But until we get our website finished Accuracy In
Media
will be taking orders for it.

“So we’re asking the American people to look at this (report), link
to it, print it out — even sell it — we don’t care,” said Clarke. “But
it’s up to them to spread the word and get the truth out.”

Clarke said he’s challenging Americans not to believe him and his
friends — not personally, that is.

“One of the reasons why this document is so long is we didn’t want to
leave it for anybody to read it to believe us,” he said. “We’re saying
don’t believe us. We don’t want you to believe us — just read the
evidence.”

Clarke is confident that “No really open-minded reader can walk away
having read this document and think there is no cover-up.”

Knowlton’s 511-page filing, unsealed yesterday, will soon be
available on the Internet at
FBIcover-up.com and can be ordered now from Accuracy In
Media by calling 800-787-4567, ext. 100, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., EDT.

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