By RONALD KESSLER
- Documents describing Hillary Clinton’s role in the death of White House counsel Vince Foster have vanished, Daily Mail Online has learned after an extensive investigation
- Foster is believed to have shot himself with a .38 caliber revolver at Fort Marcy Park along the Potomac River on July 20, 1993
- Two former FBI agents involved in the investigation tell Daily Mail Online they issued reports linking Hillary’s tirade to Foster’s suicide
- Days before his death, then First Lady ridiculed him mercilessly in front of his peers, say former FBI agents and detailed it in their report’
- You have failed us,’ Hillary told Foster, former FBI Jim Clemente told Daily Mail Online
- Archived material related to the case, housed at National Archives in College Park, Md. were examined by the author to no avail
- After filing a Freedom of Information request, it was determined that the agents’ reports have gone missing
Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, is the New York Times bestselling author of The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents and The Secrets of the FBI.
FBI agents’ reports of interviews documenting that Hillary Clinton’s stinging humiliation of her friend and mentor Vince Foster in front of White House aides triggered his suicide a week later are missing from where they should be filed at the National Archives, Daily Mail Online has learned exclusively.
On two separate occasions, this author visited the National Archives and Records Service in College Park, Md., to review the reports generated by FBI agents assigned to investigate the 1993 death of Bill Clinton’s deputy White House counsel.
On the first visit, archivist David Paynter provided the box of records that he said contained the FBI reports of interviews conducted by FBI agents on Foster’s death.
On a second visit, archivist James Mathis provided what he said were those same documents.
While the box contained dozens of FBI reports concerning Foster’s death – including interviews with the medical examiner, U.S. Park Police officers, and White House aides about the contents of Foster’s office – the reports on Hillary Clinton’s role in his death were absent.
After filing a Freedom of Information request with the National Archives, Martha Murphy, the archives’ public liaison, reported that she directed a senior archivist to conduct a more thorough review of the relevant FBI files, including those that had not been previously made public in response to FOIA requests.
‘He examined all eight boxes but found no interviews by any investigator that detail either a meeting between Hillary Clinton and Vince Foster or the effects of a meeting between Hillary Clinton and Vince Foster on Vince Foster’s state of mind,’ Murphy reported in an email.
‘We did not limit ourselves to interviews by the two individuals [FBI agents] you mention.’
While Murphy said the archives searched for ‘the records that would be responsive to your request’ and concluded that they could not be found, when asked for comment, John Valceanu, the archives’ director of communications and marketing, said, ‘We do not agree with your conclusion that the records you requested are missing from the National Archives simply because we were unable to locate any responsive records in response to your request.’
While confirming that the records could not be located, Valceanu held out the possibility that the FBI interviews were not filed where they should have been and were somewhere else in the more than 3,000 boxes of records amounting to 7.5 million pages generated by the Starr investigation.
This is not the first time documents related to the Clintons have apparently vanished from the National Archive.
In March 2009, the archives found that an external hard drive from the Bill Clinton White House containing confidential documents was missing.
When it could not be located, the inspector general’s office announced that it had opened a criminal investigation.
Offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to recovery of the hard drive, the archives asked that tips be reported to the Secret Service. At the time, the archives said it had a backup drive.
FBI agents’ reports of interviews documenting that Hillary Clinton’s stinging humiliation of Vince Foster are missing from the National Archives, Daily Mail Online has learned
President Clinton, First Lady Hillary and Chelsea attended Foster’s funeral
The FBI investigation into Foster’s death was conducted for independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr’s probe of the Clintons’ investments in the Whitewater real estate development.
For unknown reasons, Starr elected to conceal the FBI’s findings in his final report.
But in interviews for my book The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents, the FBI agents revealed the truth about Foster’s death on July 20, 1993 when he shot himself at Fort Marcy Park along the Potomac River.
In interviewing Clinton White House aides and Foster’s friends and family, the FBI found that a week before Foster’s death, Hillary held a meeting at the White House with Foster and other top aides to discuss her proposed health care legislation.
Hillary angrily disagreed with a legal objection Foster raised at the meeting and ridiculed him in front of his peers, former FBI agent Coy Copeland and former FBI supervisory agent Jim Clemente told me. Copeland was Starr’s senior investigator and read the reports of other agents working for Starr.
Foster committed suicide on July 20, 1993 in Ft. Marcy Park along the Potomac River by placing a .38 caliber revolver in his mouth and pulling the trigger
During the White House meeting, Hillary continued to humiliate Foster mercilessly, according to both former FBI agents, who spoke about the investigation for the first time.
‘Hillary put him down really, really bad in a pretty good-size meeting,’ Copeland says. ‘She told him he didn’t get the picture, and he would always be a little hick town lawyer who was obviously not ready for the big time.’
Indeed, Hillary went so far as to blame Foster for all the Clintons’ problems and to accuse him of failing them, according to Clemente, who was also assigned by the FBI to the Starr investigation and who probed the circumstances surrounding Foster’s suicide.
‘Foster was profoundly depressed, but Hillary lambasting him was the final straw because she publicly embarrassed him in front of others,’ says Clemente.
‘Hillary blamed him for failed nominations, claimed he had not vetted them properly, and said in front of his White House colleagues, ‘You’re not protecting us’ and ‘You have failed us,’ Clemente says. ‘That was the final blow.’
After the White House meeting, Foster’s behavior changed dramatically, the FBI agents found. Those who knew him said his voice sounded strained, he became withdrawn and preoccupied, and his sense of humor vanished. At times, Foster teared up. He talked of feeling trapped.
On Tuesday, July 13, 1993, while having dinner with his wife Lisa, Foster broke down and began to cry. He said he was considering resigning.
Ken Starr (left) Starr issued a 38,000-word report, along with a separate psychologist’s report on the factors that contributed to Foster’s suicide. Yet Starr never mentioned the meeting with Hillary. Former FBI supervisory agent Jim Clemente (right) told Ron Kessler Hillary violently disagreed with a legal objection Foster raised at the meeting and ridiculed him in front of his peers
That weekend, Foster and his wife drove to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where they saw their friends, Michael Cardoza and Webster Hubbell, and their wives.
‘They played tennis, they swam, and they said he sat in a lawn chair, just kind of sat there in the lawn chair,’ Copeland says. ‘They said that just was not Vince. He loved to play tennis, and he was always sociable, but he just sat over in the corner by himself and stared off into space, reading a book.’
Two days later, Foster left the White House parking lot at 1:10 p.m. The precise time when he shot himself could not be pinpointed. After Park Police found his body, they notified the U.S. Secret Service at 8:30 p.m.
Based on what ‘dozens’ of others who had contact with Foster after that meeting told the agents, while Foster was already depressed, ‘The put-down that she gave him in that big meeting just pushed him over the edge,’ Copeland says. ‘It was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.’
‘Foster was profoundly depressed, but Hillary lambasting him was the final straw because she publicly embarrassed him in front of others,’ says Clemente
No one can explain a suicide in rational terms. But the FBI investigation concluded that it was Hillary’s vilification of Foster in front of other White House aides, coming on top of his depression, that triggered his suicide about a week later, Copeland and Clemente both say.
Starr issued a 38,000-word report, along with a separate psychologist’s report on the factors that contributed to Foster’s suicide. Yet Starr never mentioned the meeting with Hillary, leaving out the fact that his own investigation had found that Hillary’s rage had led to her friend’s suicide.
Why Starr chose not to reveal the critical meeting and his own investigators’ findings remains a mystery. Asked why he excluded what led to Foster’s suicide from his report, Starr did not respond. A spokesman for Hillary Clinton had no comment.
Starr’s report recounted how the FBI ran down even the most bizarre theories about Foster’s death and conducted extensive ballistics tests that refuted assertions that Foster had not committed suicide.
Starr retained Dr. Brian D. Blackbourne, a forensic pathologist who is the medical examiner for San Diego County, California, to review the case. Blackbourne concluded that ‘Vincent Foster committed suicide on July 20, 1993 in Ft. Marcy Park by placing a .38 caliber revolver in his mouth and pulling the trigger. His death was at his own hand.’
Starr also retained Dr. Henry C. Lee, an expert in physical evidence and crime scene reconstruction who then was director of the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory.
Lee reported that after a ‘careful review of the crime scene photographs, reports, and reexamination of the physical evidence, the data indicate that the death of Mr. Vincent W. Foster Jr. is consistent with a suicide. The location where Mr. Foster’s body was found is consistent with the primary scene,’ meaning the place where he committed suicide.
National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland
But in his report, Starr never referred to the meeting where Hillary humiliated Foster in front of aides, nor to the change in his disposition after that.
Starr never told Copeland or Clemente why he decided to exclude the material from his report, and the former FBI agents can only speculate on his reasoning.
‘Starr was a very honorable-type guy, and if it did not pertain to our authorized investigation, he did not want to pursue it,’ Copeland says. ‘And I think he felt that Hillary’s personality and her dealings with subordinates in the White House were immaterial to our investigation.’
‘Starr didn’t want to offend the conscience of the public by going after the first lady,’ Clemente says. ‘He said the first lady is an institution. He acted most of the time as a judge instead of as an investigating prosecutor, and then he hired attorneys who went to the other extreme.’
Hillary’s denunciation of Foster in front of White House aides is consistent with her treatment of the Secret Service agents who protect her. As detailed in The First Family Detail, the presidential candidate is so nasty and abusive to her own Secret Service agents that being assigned to her detail is considered a form of punishment.