Witnesses and potential witnesses to Clinton administration corruption continue to drop like flies -- with nary a hint of concern or suspicion expressed by the Congress, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr or the government-media complex.
Yesterday, key Whitewater witness David Hale, about to face an Arkansas trial that looks suspiciously like retribution for his testimony against President Clinton, was stricken with chest pains. He was hospitalized and the trial delayed.
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If Kenneth Starr doesn't surround Hale, one of his most cooperative witnesses, with armed guards and the best medical care the government's money can buy, something is really fishy.
Why should Starr be concerned? Just look at the growing list of mysterious deaths of those who threaten President Clinton politically:
- James McDougal, Clinton's former business partner and the man who first blew the whistle on Whitewater corruption to The New York Times, died in solitary confinement a few weeks ago. There has been no final report on the cause of death, and far too little curiosity.
- Johnny Lawhon, 29, the Arkansas transmission specialist who discovered a pile of Whitewater documents in the trunk of an abandoned car on his property and turned them over to Starr, was killed in a car wreck last month. Details of the "accident" have been sketchy -- even from the local Little Rock newspaper.
- Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was reportedly ready to implicate Clinton in corruption when his plane crashed in Croatia. His death, along with 34 others on board, was assumed to be a tragic accident, until revelations late last year that a perfectly circular hole the size of .45-caliber round was found in his head.
- Barbara Wise was a 14-year Commerce Department employee found dead and partially naked in her office following a long weekend. She worked in the same section as John Huang. Officially, she is said to have died of natural causes. Yet, why was she partially undressed?
- White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster was up to his neck in Whitewater, Travelgate and other Clinton administration scandals. Serious questions about the official ruling of suicide have never been addressed -- not by Special Counsel Robert Fiske, not by Senate investigators and not by Starr's office.
- One of the most dramatic deaths associated with the administration occurred in September 1993. Jerry Parks, who headed security for the Clinton-Gore campaign the year before, was gunned down execution-style while returning home from church near Little Rock. His wife said he feared for his life after a phone conversation with Foster the night before his death. His son said Parks had been investigating Clinton's sex life.
- Kathy Ferguson probably would have been a key witness for Paula Jones -- had she lived. The former wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson, she reportedly was sexually harassed by Clinton. In May 1994, she was found dead of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. It was ruled a suicide, but friends and members of the medical team which examined her have their doubts.
- About a month after Ferguson's death, her boyfriend, Bill Shelton, was found dead at her grave -- again with a gunshot wound to the back of the head. This, too, was ruled a suicide.
I could go on and on. I have seen lists of dozens of curious -- even mysterious -- deaths associated with Bill Clinton. It's all rather circumstantial, of course, but, statistically speaking, it is something of an anomaly -- certainly enough to begin raising serious questions.
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But I don't hear the questions being asked -- at least not by the people who count, in Congress, Starr's office and in the press. Until they are asked, there's not a chance this administration will be any more accountable to the people than it has been for the last six years.
I'm not certain if these deaths are all related to politics. But another wise man, former CIA Director William Colby -- himself a suspicious fatality -- once said that high-profile political deaths should be assumed to be murders until proven otherwise. Colby, closely associated with Strategic Investment, a muckraking newsletter on the cutting edge of the Clinton scandals, was killed two years ago -- supposedly the victim of a boating mishap.
Some people on Capitol Hill have suggested to me that the American people simply cannot handle the truth. But I don't think we, as a nation, can afford not to.