Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Vincent Foster

Grim Reality

Kenneth Starr
Kenneth Starr

With the high-profile nature of Foster's death came many high-profile investigations into it. The first independent counsel, Robert Fiske, concluded Foster committed suicide in a report based on an examination of the evidence. With the political uproar that the Fiske conclusion caused, both in Congress and in the conservative media, he was removed as independent counsel and replaced with Kenneth Starr, who was given authority to re-examine the Foster death and Whitewater. Starr, as well, ruled Foster committed suicide, matching the conclusions of the Park Police, the FBI and the Democrat-led Senate Banking Committee.

The grim conclusion based on available evidence, as these reports point out, is that Foster — a perfectionist not used to career setbacks and the rough and tumble world of Washington politics — became depressed over his self-perceived failings in an administration he admired. He took a gun, perhaps given to him by his father and hidden from his family in an oven mitt found in Foster's car, from his home. He drove to Fort Marcy Park and put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Not a very sensational story — certainly not enough to sell newspapers or books for more than a few days — but a nonetheless tragic tale that left two children without a father and turned a loving wife into a widow.

Louis Freeh
Louis Freeh

In the end, almost everything raised by conspiracy theorists about Foster's death has been countered by government investigation or subsequent reporting by authors such as Moldea. Three investigations into the Whitewater land deal all ended with insufficient evidence to charge Foster or the Clintons with any illegal acts, no smoking gun emerged related to Foster on any other allegation of impropriety.

Perhaps that's the most compelling counterargument against all the conspiracists, the complete lack of proof that stands up to scrutiny linking Foster or the Clintons to any concrete nefarious plot. What, exactly, was so damaging with regard to the files the New York Post and others claimed were taken from Foster's office? After all these years, shouldn't some blockbuster revelation have surfaced? Aren't there enough enemies of the Clintons to believe that by now someone would have talked so that something could be proven? Certainly Foster's family seeks an end to the theories of his demise. The facts they know with certainty are certainly grim enough.

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