The real Ken Starr

By Richard Poe

Editor’s note: The following is an eye-opening look into New York Times best-selling author Richard Poe’s revealing book, “Hillary’s Secret War.” Whereas Edward Klein’s book on the New York senator reveals previously unknown aspects of her personal life, Poe’s expose focuses on how Hillary Clinton and the left’s “shadow government” have labored to put her and her far-left agenda in the White House by controlling the still-uncensored flow of real news to Americans – via the Internet.

If that sounds too fantastic to be true, read on.

On May 26, 2003, former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr had dinner with Jordan Wright. In addition to being an attorney, businessman and high-level Democrat activist, Wright was a trusted friend of Starr’s. The former Clinton investigator opened his heart to Wright.

He told Wright that he had regrets about the Clinton investigation. His greatest regret, he told Wright, was that it had ruined his chance of being appointed to the Supreme Court. Wright later recounted, “He felt he lost control of the investigation at one point and he regrets that.”

According to Wright, Starr told him, “I would love to have dinner with President and Sen. Clinton with Alice [Starr’s wife].”

Starr must have known when he spoke these words that Wright would convey them to the Clintons. And so he did, though perhaps in a more public way than Starr had expected. Wright immediately went to the New York Post’s “Page Six” gossip section and recounted what Starr had told him.

“Ken wants to see what the Clinton charm really is like. I can’t imagine they won’t like each other …” Wright told “Page Six.” “I think it would be the mother of all dinner parties, to get the Clintons and the Starrs together. I’d like to have it at my house.”

“Page Six” ran the story on May 29, 2003. “Is nothing private?” snapped Starr, when the Post contacted him to confirm the story.

Clinton defenders got a kick out of Starr’s reaction. Imagine the snoopy Ken Starr talking about privacy! In their mirth, Clinton supporters missed a more revealing aspect of the story.

For years, major media had painted Starr as a ruthless Republican partisan, a Christian fanatic consumed with moral outrage against the Clintons. Why, then, would Starr tell an influential Democrat operative that he wanted to socialize with the Clintons? And what was he doing chumming around with Democrat operatives in the first place?

The story revealed a side of Starr which mass media had carefully concealed during the five years he served as independent counsel. It gave us a glimpse of the real Ken Starr.

The Starr myth lives on

Go to and type in “Clinton body count.” Snopes is a putatively non-partisan, apolitical website devoted to debunking “urban legends.” Journalists frequently rely on Snopes to tell them which Internet rumors they should or should not take seriously. The entry for “Clinton body count” contains these words:

We shouldn’t have to tell anyone not to believe this claptrap, but we will anyway. In a frenzied media climate where the chief executive couldn’t boff a White House intern without the whole world finding out every niggling detail of each encounter and demanding his removal from office, are we seriously to believe the same man had been having double handfuls of detractors and former friends murdered with impunity?

Later on, the entry zeroes in on the Vincent Foster case:

On 10 October 1997, special prosecutor Kenneth Starr released his report on the investigation into Foster’s death, the third such investigation (after ones conducted by the coroner and Starr’s predecessor, Robert B. Fiske) of the matter … If Foster had been murdered or if unanswered questions about his death remained, Starr would have been the last person to want to conclude the investigation prematurely. Or are we to believe Starr is part of the cover-up, too?

Snopes’ question draws its rhetorical force from the Starr Myth – the presumption that Kenneth Starr was everything major media told us he was. The mythical Ken Starr would, of course, never overlook any opportunity to charge the Clintons with wrongdoing.

But the real Ken Starr was made of mushier stuff. Much evidence suggests that Hillary’s Shadow Team succeeded in infiltrating, manipulating, intimidating and ultimately corrupting the Starr investigation – and very likely Ken Starr, himself.

As of this writing, the Snopes entry cited above is 7,561 words in length. It offers detailed rebuttals of 48 allegations of violence, suicide, murder and suspicious deaths commonly linked to the Clintons, including the death of Vincent Foster. Despite its appearance of thoroughness, however, the Snopes analysis makes no mention of former Associate Independent Counsel Miquel Rodriguez.

The whistleblower

Rodriguez blew the whistle on Ken Starr in March 1995. But no one listened.

Starr hired Rodriguez in September 1994 to lead the grand jury investigation of Vincent Foster’s death. A Harvard Law School graduate with a keen interest in civil-rights cases, Rodriguez was, as founder Christopher Ruddy wrote in “The Strange Death of Vincent Foster,” “a bohemian among law enforcement types – the only federal prosecutor who wore a pony-tail.”

“He had no ideological investment in the matter,” writes British journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in “The Secret Life of Bill Clinton.” “Indeed, when he arrived from California with his ponytail, his earring, and his leather jackets, there were comments among the hard-liners that Kenneth Starr had gone too far in his efforts to recruit Democrats, liberals and ethnic minorities to his team.”

The hard-liners were wrong. Rodriguez turned out to be an unusually honest and courageous public servant. He resigned in protest after less than six months on the job, calling the Foster probe a sham. Major media refused to run his story. His career stopped dead. Rodriguez returned to his old job of assistant U.S. attorney in Sacramento, where he remains to this day.

Many people, when confronted with Rodriguez’s story, ask how such a massive cover-up could occur without more people stepping forward. Rodriguez addressed that question in a taped statement that was later posted to the Internet.

“Everyone makes a very big mistake when they believe a lot of people are necessary to orchestrate some results,” he said. “All people need to know is what their job is, not why – be a good soldier, carry out the orders.” A couple of people in positions of authority would suffice, says Rodriguez, to “control the central figures in the investigation.”

Regarding the claim that several investigations ruled Foster’s death a suicide, Rodriguez says, “In fact, all of the investigations were done by the same people, the FBI.”

Servant of power

During the Clinton impeachment, major media portrayed Kenneth Starr as an aggressive prosecutor and a determined Clinton foe. He was neither.

When Starr took charge of the Whitewater investigation, he had never prosecuted a criminal case in his life. He worked on the Clinton probe half-heartedly and part-time, allowing subordinates to do most of the work, while Starr focused on his private law practice. Starr’s right-hand man, Deputy Independent Counsel Mark H. Tuohey III, was a left-wing Democrat with close personal ties to the Clinton White House.

Starr’s team abounded with Washington bureaucrats who, in Rodriguez’s words, “will say and do what they have to, to move up the ladder …”

A consummate Washington insider and team player, Starr strove, above all, to avoid making enemies. When things got hot, he tried to abandon the investigation half-finished.

He announced in January 1997 that he had accepted a deanship at Pepperdine University and would resign as independent counsel as of Aug. 1. Only a hailstorm of criticism from conservatives shamed Starr into withdrawing his resignation and agreeing to stay on the job. In hindsight, it would have been better to let him leave.

“He is by character a servant of power …” wrote Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in 1997. “He will never confront the U.S. Justice Department, the FBI, and the institutions of permanent government in Washington. His whole career has been built on networking, by ingratiating himself. His natural loyalties lie with the politico-legal fraternity that covered up the Foster case in the first place.”

Good cop, bad cop

In August 1994, when the three-judge panel charged with selecting independent counsels picked Kenneth Starr, the White House spin machine went into overdrive. Clinton spinmeisters made a great show of outrage, accusing Starr of being a “partisan” Republican with a vendetta. But it was all an act, “the greatest Mutt and Jeff, Good Cop-Bad Cop routine ever perpetrated on the American public,” according to Christopher Ruddy.

Privately, the Clintons celebrated Starr’s appointment. So says Nolanda Hill, longtime lover and business associate of late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. “[W]hen Starr was appointed, they were opening champagne bottles in the White House, they were celebrating,” she told Ruddy, who quoted her in a July 1, 1999, column titled, “Ken Starr – Clinton’s Accomplice.”

In fact, said Hill, Starr had been on Janet Reno’s “short list” for special counsel before she appointed Robert Fiske to the post. “They would never have put him on the short list if they were worried about him,” said Hill.

If Hill’s story is true, it suggests that the Clintons believed they had a hold over Starr, something with which to control, pressure, or blackmail him. But what was it?

Conflict of interest

Ruddy notes that Starr shared some unlikely business partners with the Clintons. “During the time Starr was investigating the Clintons, Starr was working for a company wholly owned by China’s Peoples Liberation Army and notorious arms dealer Wang Jun,” writes Ruddy.

Wang Jun was one of Starr’s personal legal clients. While serving as independent counsel, Starr simultaneously argued a case before the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of one of Wang’s companies, CitiSteel, a subsidiary of CITIC. Wang Jun serves as chairman of CITIC, but the company is wholly owned by the Peoples’ Liberation Army of China. Starr won the case for his Chinese clients.

In addition to being a major arms dealer, Wang Jun is also a high-level Chinese military intelligence operative and one of the major players in the Chinagate scandal. In ordinary times, the mere fact that Ken Starr was on Wang Jun’s payroll would have disqualified him from acting as independent counsel. But these were not ordinary times.

Hill told Ruddy that Starr’s entire investigative team had been infiltrated by Clinton operatives. Even the FBI agents assigned to Starr “were not working for Ken Starr in his Whitewater probe but for Reno and the White House, giving the Clinton administration de facto control over the Starr investigations,” writes Ruddy.

Case closed

Ken Starr hired Miquel Rodriguez as lead prosecutor for the Vincent Foster investigation in September 1994. Soon after, Rodriguez was told that he was expected to back up the conclusion of the earlier Fiske report – that Foster had committed suicide. Rodriguez refused. He insisted on conducting a real investigation. But the harder he tried, the more resistance he got from Starr’s team.

The last straw came on Jan. 5, 1995, when the Scripps Howard News Service ran a story claiming that “sources familiar with the Starr inquiry,” said that Kenneth Starr was ready to announce that Vincent Foster “committed suicide for reasons unrelated to the Whitewater controversy.”

Rodriguez was furious. He had just begun grand jury proceedings the day before. Who on earth would have leaked the news that the probe was finished? Rodriguez stuck it out for a few more weeks, but finally resigned in March. “As an ethical person, I don’t believe I could be involved in what they were doing,” he told Ruddy.

Rodriguez’s sudden resignation could have exploded in scandal. But Big Media virtually ignored it. Indeed, Rodriguez claims that he tried to go public with his story, giving extensive interviews to reporters from Time, Newsweek, ABC’s “Nightline,” the Boston Globe, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the New York Times. Rodriguez says he spent six hours with the New York Times reporter alone. To all of them, Rodriguez told the same story: Starr’s probe of Vincent Foster’s death was a sham.

“I was told what the result [of the Starr investigation] was going to be from the get-go,” Rodriguez later said in a taped conversation, posted to the Internet. “This is all so much nonsense – I knew the result before the investigation began, that’s why I left. I don’t do investigations to justify a result.”

None of the news organizations which interviewed Rodriguez aired or published his account. Several reporters admitted to Rodriguez that their editors had spiked the story. Rodriguez also claims that FBI agents bullied him, making threats against his family and his “personal well-being,” if he did not shut up. “The FBI told me to back off, back down. I have been communicated with again and been told to be careful where I tread,” says Rodriguez.

To this day, Rodriguez still serves as an assistant U.S. attorney in Sacramento.

On July 15, 1997, Ken Starr reached his inevitable conclusion. He issued a statement saying, “Mr. Foster committed suicide by gunshot in Fort Marcy Park, Va., on July 20, 1993.”

That ended the matter for official Washington. But the Web Underground, which had followed the case closely from the beginning, boiled with rage. Foster’s unsolved death would take on a significance among the cyber-rebels not unlike that of the Alamo for Texas freedom fighters.

Hillary Clinton likewise displayed an obsession with Foster’s death, for reasons which have never been satisfactorily explained. The obstruction of any and all serious efforts to probe Foster’s death remained the highest priority of Hillary’s Shadow Team for years.

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