IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATIVE REPORT ON VINCE FOSTER SUICIDE
Congressional Record (Vol. 140, No. 104)
House of Representatives, Tuesday, August 2, 1994
Part 1 of 2
The SPEAKER pro tempore:
Under the Speaker's announced policy of February 11, 1994,
and June 10, 1994, the gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Burton]
is recognized for 60 minutes as the minority leader's designee.
Mr. BURTON of Indiana:
Mr. Speaker, over the past several weeks there has been a lot
of questions about the death of Vince Foster and the connection of his
death to the Whitewater investigation, and I have had nine people on
my staff at the Republican Study Committee and my personal staff and
some outside sources investigating this, because the Committee on
Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs here in the House that is doing
the Whitewater investigation on a party line vote has limited the
scope of the investigation to such a degree that one Member said that
if the same principles had been applied to the O.J. Simpson case, the
one thing you could ask O.J. Simpson is "How was your trip to Chicago?"
You couldn't ask any other questions. That is how limited the
investigation is. There is a deliberate attempt to minimize the
investigation and, I think, to cover up a lot of the facts.
On the Senate side we have a similar problem. It is not
quite as bad over there, but nevertheless a lot of the information
that must come out regarding Vince Foster's death and his connection
to the Whitewater matter needs to be explored.
<19:20> (The Record indicates time of day.)
So tonight, even though I have been castigated by a lot of
the people in the media, even though some Members of the Senate
committee and the House Banking Committee have indicated that we
have made some comments that are not very understanding as far as
Mr. Foster's family is concerned, I feel compelled to go through
this tonight one more with one addition. Because we have been taken
to task because of things I have said on the floor, I went out and
found the confidential witness, the man that found Vince Foster's
body, and I got a sworn statement. He swore before God that the
things that I am going to read to you tonight are factual.
So I am going to go into the entire litany, the entire
chronology of Vince Foster's death and the connection to Whitewater.
Then I will read to you excerpts -- very important excerpts. I would
read the whole thing to you, but we would be here all night because
it is a 50-page sworn statement. But I will read to you excerpts
that verify everything I have been saying before this body.
On July 20, 1993, Vince Foster left his White House office
at 1 p.m. He was later found dead by a confidential witness at Fort
Marcy Park. The confidential witness is the person that gave this
sworn testimony to me. Nobody knows who he is except two FBI agents,
G. Gordon Liddy, and myself.
Emergency medical service personnel discovered the body
shortly after they arrived at the park at 6:09 p.m. The confidential
witness was interviewed by G. Gordon Liddy on March 27. He was
interviewed by me on July 21, and in between he was interviewed by
the FBI agents who Mr. Liddy urged him to talk to.
The confidential witness told Mr. Liddy and me that he
approached to within two and one-half to three feet of Vince Foster's
head and he leaned over and looked directly down into Mr. Foster's
eyes. He stated very specifically that the head was looking straight
up and that the hands were at his side, palms up with no gun in either
The Fiske report quotes the confidential witness as saying that
he may have been mistaken and that there may have been a gun in Foster's
hands, that he did not see because of the dense foliage and the position
of the hand.
The confidential witness told me that the FBI agents pressed him
on the issue of the gun, asking him as many as 20 to 25 times if he was
sure there was no gun. And according to the confidential witness, the
FBI said, "what if the trigger guard was around the thumb and the thumb
was obscured by foliage and the rest of the gun was obscured by the
foliage and the hand?" In other words, the trigger guard would be
around the thumb, the gun would be underneath the thumb, and a leaf
would be over that and you would not see it.
The confidential witness, after being asked about 20 to 25
times, said, "If what you describe were the case, then I suppose it
could be possible because I did not count his fingers, but I am sure
that the palms were definitely opened and facing up."
At this point the confidential witness still had not seen a
copy of the photograph of Foster's hand that was shown on ABC news.
The photo showed the right hand palm down with the thumb trapped in
the trigger guard. He had not seen that. When I went to see this
gentleman, I showed him the photo. He was sitting at his kitchen
table, and he stood up and walked around the table twice, saying,
"This is not the way it was; that is not the way it was! Those hands,
that hand was moved!"
Why did he get so angry when he saw the photo? He told me not
only that the hand had been moved, but that some of the things
he told the FBI were not mentioned in the report. For
instance, the vegetation at the bottom of the body had been
trampled like somebody had been walking around there. Why was
no mention of the trampled vegetation in the Fiske report?
The confidential witness also reported that he saw a wine
cooler bottle near Mr. Foster's body. Such a bottle was not noted in
the Fiske report. We are going to talk about these wine cooler bottles
a little later. There was, in the Fiske report, a blood stain on
the right side of Mr. Foster's face. Mr. Fiske's report noted that
the blood stain on Foster's right cheek and his right shoulder were
inconsistent with the head being upright. In other words, if the
head was sitting up, how did the blood get on the cheek and the
right shoulder? So somebody had to move the head.
But the problem is, before the police or anybody got there,
the head was already straight up. So who moved the head? The report
describes the stain on his cheek as a contact stain, typical of having
been caused by a blotting action such as would happen with a blood-
soaked object brought in contact with the side of the face and taken
So at sometime his face had to be in contact with his shoulder,
according to the report. Mr. Fiske's report assumes that one of the
early emergency personnel that came to the park move the head. But
the confidential witness said the head was already moved. And he was
the first person to see the body before anybody got there.
In addition, Mr. Fiske, after interviewing all the people at
the scene, fails to identify anybody that admits to touching the body
and moving the head. So he assumes it was moved by somebody after the
body was found, but he does not know who it was. Yet the confidential
witness that found the body said it was already straight up. Why did
Mr. Fiske assume that one of the persons who arrived after the
confidential witness moved his head, when the confidential witness was
the first person to find Foster's body? He said the head was facing
straight up at the time.
Now, the FBI did not find the bullet or skull fragments at
the park. On July 20, 1993, the park police conducted a search for
the bullet that killed Foster using only one metal detector. And they
found nothing at all after a lengthy search. Why did they only use one
metal detector? This is one of the highest-ranking people in the
Clinton White House. They had one metal detector running around
through the woods there, and this did not find anything. Then, nine
months later, on April 4, 1994, sixteen FBI agents and experts searched
Fort Marcy for the bullet and they found twelve -- not one, not two,
but twelve -- modern-day bullets. But they did not find the one that
killed Vince Foster.
The FBI searched immediately beneath where Foster's body was
found by digging and hand-sifting the soil and other debris. They
excavated down a foot and a half. They found no bullet and no bone
fragments. In the search for the bullet, the FBI personnel marked out
a grid of the most likely area for the bullet to be found after passing
through Foster's skull. The area was searched using a metal detector.
Once again, twelve modern-day bullets were found, but the FBI lab
determined that none were the one that shot Vince Foster or came out
of his gun.
Now, I contacted a ballistics expert in California who stated
that after passing through a man's skull, a .38 caliber bullet should
travel no more than 1,200 to 1,600 feet -- or about 300 to 500 yards.
The FBI should have been able to find that bullet with all the people
that were out there and all the expertise they had, if the bullet was
in the park. So why was it not found?
Get this. Once again, this is very important. There were no
fingerprints on the gun, and there were no fingerprints on 27 separate
pieces of the suicide note. Can you imagine a suicide note torn into
27 pieces without a fingerprint on it? You would have to wear surgical
gloves. Here is how he explained that. The FBI found no fingerprints
on the .38 caliber Colt revolver. The Fiske report states, "the
latent fingerprints can be destroyed due to exposure to heat."
So if it was a real hot day, they are saying, the fingerprints
could have melted off the gun. Yet they do not explain why,
when they took the trigger guard off the gun, there was a
fingerprint on it that had been on there probably for years. But the
fingerprints that Vince Foster allegedly put on the gun were melted
off. I went out to the site and walked all over that area. There is
no sun that hits the place where they found his body. The sun could
not have done that. Even on a hot day, it is very doubtful, according
to forensic experts I talked to, that there would be no sign of any
fingerprints on the gun, but it was completely smooth, no
fingerprints on the gun, except a little bit on the trigger guard
where they found his thumb. I do not know how you could hold a gun
with on or both hands and not leave one fingerprint.
In addition, the note that was found in Foster's briefcase
was torn, as I said, in 27 pieces and had no prints. It was not
exposed to the heat. So why were no fingerprints found on either
the gun or the note? Makes no sense.
There was no dirt on his shoes. There was a little bit of
mica, but there was no dirt on his shoes. When Mr. Foster's clothing
was examined by the FBI lab, "it did not contain any coherent soil."
They did find small parcels of mica, which is off of leaves,
on much of Foster's clothing, including his shoes, which is consistent
with the soil in Fort Marcy Park.
The Fiske report states that it was dry on the day Foster died
and that foliage leading up to and around Foster's body was dense.
It concludes that "it was unlikely that there was a great deal of
exposed moist soil in the park that would have soiled Foster's shoes."
Foster would have had to walk a long way from his car to the
second cannon. I walked all the way from the parking lot up to that
second cannon, and it was a dry day and I had dust all over my shoes.
It is about 300 yards.
For them to say there was no dirt on his shoes does not make
any sense, unless possibly he had been moved to that position. Even
on a dry day his shoes would have been stained by either grass or dirt
or at least dust. Why was no dirt or dust or grass found on his shoes?
Now, there was blond to light brown hair that did not match Mr.
Foster's hair found on his tee shirt, pants, belt, socks, and shoes.
In response to a question from Robert Novak, Mr. Fiske said, "While we
have not concluded where the blond hair came from, there is not evidence
to suggest that it provides any evidence of circumstances connected to
his death." How does he come to that kind of a conclusion?
Carpet fibers of various colors were found on his jacket, tie,
shirt, shorts, pants, belt, socks, and shoes. Did they check his
office to see if the carpet fibers were off of his office carpet?
Did they check his home to see if the carpet fibers were out of his
home, and if they were not from either one of those places, where did
those carpet fibers come from?
It is not mentioned in the report. You just forget about that.
Yet everybody, the media and everybody, is accepting this report at face
value, even though the confidential witness that found the body said the
hands were moved and so was the head.
Why didn't Mr. Fiske attempt to find out who the blond hair
belonged to? Why didn't Mr. Fiske attempt to determine where the carpet
fibers and wool fibers found on Foster's body came from? Why would Mr.
Fiske assume that this evidence was not relevant without investigating
Then 70 pages of the report are devoted to the credentials of
the four forensic experts that wrote the report on Mr. Foster's death.
They had four experts that wrote a report saying it was a suicide at
Fort Marcy Park, but they based their conclusions, probably 90 percent
of them, on the coroner's report.
Now if the coroner made a mistake and he screwed up the report,
then their report has to be questioned as well. Let us check on the
coroner. He testified two days ago before the Senate.
Fiske goes to great length to highlight the credentials of thee
four pathologists, as I just mentioned. Their resumes take up 70 pages
of the report. Yet none of these people ever saw Foster's body, because
he had been dead and buried for 9 months before they wrote the report.
Their findings were wholly reliant on Dr. James Beyer, northern
Virginia's deputy medical examiner.
He said that Vince Foster's death was consistent with a self-
inflicted would, but according to the Washington Times, Dr. Beyer, to
coroner, overlooked critical evidence in the 1989 Timothy Easley
stabbing and supported a police finding that the death was a suicide.
The death was later changed to murder -- homicide -- after an outside
expert, Dr. Harry Bonnell, noted that Dr. Beyer's original report
contained glaring errors, including a missing stab wound in the
victim's hand where he was defending himself and getting the color
of his hair wrong.
The coroner did not even get the color of his hair right.
This is the guy on which they are basing the entire forensic report
of Vince Foster. The autopsy report said Tim Easley's hair was gray
when his hair was dark brown.
Regarding the stab wound in his hand, Dr. Bonnell said, "I
cannot understand how any competent forensic pathologist would miss a
stab wound in the hand." Dr. Beyer later said, "The cut on Easley's
right hand was consistent with a needle mark," though he noted no such
mark on his report. Forensic pathologists are supposed to make note of
everything in their reports.
Dr. Bonnell also said that it was doubtful that the Easley
stab wound to the chest could have been self-inflicted. He said it
could not have been self-inflicted, and yet the coroner said it was.
Eventually, it was found out that Easley's girlfriend, Candy
Wharton, was the killer, and she admitted stabbing Easley to death.
So he missed it.
He made a terrible mistake, and he missed very important
things that any forensic expert would have found, according to Dr.
Bonnell -- any competent expert.
Then in December 1991, in another autopsy, Dr. Beyer ruled
the death of Thomas Burkett, Jr., as "consistent with a self-inflicted
wound," and this was a gunshot to the mouth, much like Vince Foster's.
According to the New York Post, a second autopsy conducted by a Dr.
Erik Mitchell detailed serious omissions in the Beyer autopsy.
This second autopsy came after the family had the body exhumed.
They dug him up. It noted trauma and discoloration to this gentleman's
right ear, which could indicate he was beaten to death before the shot
was fired into his mouth. His ear had been all smashed up, and at the
funeral they noticed it and they thought he had been shot in the ear.
But he had not been. He had been shot in the mouth.
Burkett's family noted that the ear was so disfigured and
bloody, they thought he had been shot there. Dr. Beyer never even
mentioned the trauma to the man's ear in the report.
Dr. Beyer also failed to identify a fractured lower jaw. His
jaw was broken. He did not mention that in the report, which could
also indicate a beating.
The second autopsy also noted that Burkett's lungs had not been
dissected, although the report said they had been. He said he did a
complete autopsy, cut open the man's chest, checked his lungs. When
they exhumed the body and did the second autopsy, they found he lied.
He did not even do that. This is the man on whom they based their
findings in the Vince Foster case.
The second autopsy in this case also found no trace of gunpowder
in the mouth, and Dr. Beyer said he inadvertently left the section
for powder burns off the gunshot wound chart.
So why did Mr. Fiske's pathologists base so much, if not all,
of their report on the conclusions of a medical examiner who has been
challenged in this past for flawed and erroneous autopsies? Why did Mr.
Fiske's pathologists base so much of their report on the autopsy of a
medical examiner who has a history of omitting important evidence from
his autopsy reports?
The Fiske report states that Dr. Beyer was unable to take x-
rays of Mr. Foster's head because his x-ray machine was broken.
However, the Park Police report, which was submitted last summer,
quotes Dr. Beyer as stating that the x-rays of Mr. Foster's head
indicated that there was no evidence of bullet fragments in his skull.
Determining if there are bullet fragments in the skull is very
important to determining how far the bullet would have traveled. Did
Dr. Beyer take x-rays of Vince Foster's head or didn't he? At the
Senate the other day, he said he did not, so why did he tell the Park
Police he did? I don't know.
Mr. Speaker, the security guards, directly, about 100 yards
away from the place they found Vince Foster's body, across Chain Bridge
Road -- there is the Saudi Arabian Ambassador's residence. There are
five trained security guards there all the time. There are three that
roam around, one in a van and one in a little security guardhouse there.
Their people were there all the time. They even checked that
park across the street occasionally, because they were concerned about
somebody trying to get to the Saudi Arabian Ambassador, and they said
that day they heard no gunshot. The Fiske report says that as a result
of traffic out there and construction traffic, and because with a gun
in the mouth in that position there would not have been a lot of noise.
We, at my house, with a homicide detective, tried to re-create
a head and fired a .38 cal barrel into that, to see if the sound could
be heard from 100 yards away. Even though there was an earth mover
moving around in the background, making all kinds of racket, you could
hear the bullet clearly.
Now, this is the information that I have used in the past. I
went out to see the confidential witness, and when I showed him the
picture, he was upset. He told me that rather than me writing down a
statement for him to sign, he wanted to give me a statement in his own
words. I let him dictate a statement to me in his own words and he
I came back to this body and I gave my colleagues that signed
statement. I did not give his name, because I promised I would keep
his confidence. However, I read into the record what he said, and I
sent it out to many people in the media.
Mr. Speaker, some people said, "We don't know if Burton is
credible or not, we do not know if he is making this up," so
they started questioning whether or not I was just once again beating
a dead horse.
What did I do? I called the confidential witness there to get
his sworn statement.
So last Thursday night on July 28, I took two other Congressmen,
Congressman DANA ROHRABACHER of California and Congressman JOHN MICA
of Florida, with me, and we took a court reporter from the Block Court
Reporting Services and we recorded 49 pages of statements from the
So tonight, Mr. Speaker, I want to read into the RECORD
excerpts from that which will verify everything that I have said.
This man was sworn and he took an oath before God that what he is
saying is absolutely correct.
So we started off. I said, "Why don't we start off by reading
into the record what you said?" Here is the confidential witness
reading into the record:
"Involving the statement about the gun in Vince Foster's hand,
I made it very clear that the palms of his hands were facing up and at
his sides. The agents investigating stated that the gun was hooked
on his thumb and partially obscured by the back of his hand. Based on
their explanation of how the gun was being held, I conceded that all
that was visible -- that if all that was visible was the trigger guard
on his thumb, and the dense foliage, that I could have missed seeing it.
I again stated that I saw both of the man's palms, but did not count
"After having seen the photo of the hand and the gun, I am
sure the hand had been moved, because the palms were both face up
when I saw Mr. Foster's body."
Then I started questioning him as well as did Congressman
ROHRABACHER and Congressman MICA.
"Would you tell us how close you were to the body and how
close you got to his face, his hand and everything else?"
The confidential witness said, "I stood directly over the top
of his head at the head of the berm. My right foot, I'm sure that it
was my right foot, was somewhere between 24 and 30 inches from the top
of his head. No closer. At that point, leaning over with my left foot
extended behind me, I looked directly down into his eyes from about 3
feet to 4 feet maximum above his face, my face from his."
I said, "You were directly above him?"
He said, "Directly above him, looking straight down the
body. The man's head was facing straight up. If it was tilted, it
was tilted very slightly because I looked into both eyes. I was
questioned numerous times by the agents about are you sure the head
wasn't tilted, and I kept telling, no, I looked straight down into
both eyes. Do you want me to go on and explain what I saw?"
I said, "Yeah. Go ahead and explain what you saw."
He said, "I saw blood traces on his nose and around his lips.
There was not streams of blood on the side of his face. There
was not trickles of blood as indicated in the Foster report. I was
looking straight down into the man's face and saw the blood." On his
mouth and nose.
Congressman Mica said, "Was there a gun in the hands?"
The confidential witness says, "There was no gun in his hand.
His -- both palms were face up, thumbs out to the side."
Congressman MICA: "You did not see a gun?"
He said, "I did not see a gun next to the body."
Congressman MICA, "Did you touch the body or did you shake him?"
The confidential witness said, "Oh, God, no. I wouldn't touch
him for no amount. I mean, no way would I disturb evidence, period."
Then I said, "I want you to look at this picture because you say
you saw no gun in the hands."
And I showed him once again the hand that was on ABC News, the
He said, "I also, when I saw nothing in his hands, I leaned to
both sides of his head and to the back of his head to see if he had been
hit in the head and saw nothing visible."
Congressman MICA said, "Did you look at his hands again?"
He says, "I did not look at his hands again because I clearly
saw his hands were empty and he had no signs that he had, was defending
himself or something."
Then I said, "Now, you said -- what did you see beside the body?"
He said, "There was a wine cooler bottle laying I would say 24
to 30 inches to the right, between his shoulder and his elbow, laying
on the berm but on the down side of the hill being held up by some twigs
because it's a very steep grade."
Then I said, "Was it sitting straight up or just laying on its
He says, "Laying sideways still probably one quarter of its
contents in the bottle."
Then Congressman MICA said, "Did you see -- you said the palms
And the confidential witness said once again, "The palms were
I said, "Both? Both palms?"
He said, "Right beside him neatly. Just like that."
And he showed us, just like that.
He said, "So that they were not in this position?" Congress
MICA rolled his hands over.
He said, "It was not in that position as all."
Then I said, "Tell me about the picture. You -- the FBI --
you asked the FBI what, about the picture, and the head?"
The confidential witness said, "Numerous times."
I said, "What did you ask them about the head and --"
He said, "If you will show me the picture."
This is what he said to the FBI agents.
He said, "If you will show me the picture of the head and the
picture of his hands that you said there was no gun in -- that I said
there was no gun in and you said there was, then I could tell you point
blank if somebody tampered with it, with Mr. Foster's body."
Then I said, "What did they say when you asked them to see the
And this is what he said the FBI people said. "Well, it will
jeopardize our investigation. I cannot show it to you at this time.
We will be more than glad to show it to you when all this investigation
is over and that was the common answer I got from the FBI every time."
Then I said, "Over how long a period of time -- how many times
did they say that to you?"
He said, "4, 5 times I directly inquired, let me see the
They never let him see the picture of the hands.
Congressman MICA said, "You have never seen this picture
The confidential witness said, "I had never seen that picture
until the Congressman" -- that is me -- "handed it to me. Mr. Liddy
had told me that that picture had been published somewhere but I had
never seen it or I would have probably been -- I know I would have been
Then I said, "So you were no more than 2 feet, 3 feet above his
He said, "I would say 2 to 3 feet. I had said 24 to 30 inches,
my face was from his face."
The he went on to say that he thought he had been there for a
while because his clothes were very tight. There was a stain, just
about like that, he showed me, on his shoulder.
Congressman ROHRABACHER said, "What color?"
He said, "On his right shoulder. It was a -- the stain on his
shoulder was --"
"Was it red? Or was it blood?" said Congressman ROHRABACHER.
The confidential witness said, "No, it was very light purple,
almost identical color of the wine cooler."
I said, "So you don't think it was blood?"
He said, "I do not think it was blood. In the very center of --
it looked like he had thrown up on his right shoulder. In the very
center there was one small speck area, probably no larger than a silver
dollar that was black, that could have been blood in the very center of
The reason I'm skipping through is there is a lot of repetition
here because we kept asking the questions over to make sure that we had
Congressman ROHRABACHER said, "Hold on. Let's make this point
very clear. The FBI, when they were talking to you and when they kept
going on, this question referred to the palm being up and the gun being
underneath the palm?"
The confidential witness says, "He, the FBI agent, demonstrated
with his hand like this with his palm up."
And he showed the palm to us like this and said that the
trigger guard was on the thumb and the gun could have been obscured
underneath the hand and that leaves might have been covering the thumb
so he would not have seen the trigger guard.
Congressman ROHRABACHER said, "So the question -- when they
claim that you had in some way conceded that, well, maybe perhaps you
didn't see it, if indeed it was below the palm, that was based on a
description by the FBI that the palm was up and that the gun was
underneath the back of the hand?"
Then I said, "But it's not possible. Look at this."
Because I had a gun and I put it on my thumb to show.
Congressman ROHRABACHER said, "No. But that's not what this
The confidential witness said, "Exactly."
Then I said, "But if the thumb is in there, look at this, you
The Mr. ROHRABACHER said, "The more important part is that the
FBI was describing something to him that was not --"
The confidential witness said, "Exactly right."
Then I asked him, "But in the report they say you believed that
the palms were up, but you say there was no doubt?"
He said, "I never said I believe it. I know it." That the
palms were up.
Congressman ROHRABACHER said, "Okay."
Then the confidential witness says, "And he said the
confidential witness believes it, and that's as straight as they
Mr. MICA. "But you never indicated --"
He said, "Otherwise, those palms were up always."
Congressman MICA. "And both palms?"
Confidential witness. "Both palms, neatly at his side and
they were just like that."
Congressman MICA. "With nothing in them?"
He said, "Nothing in the hands."
Congressman ROHRABACHER. "And when you made the concession to
the FBI after repeating that you didn't believe there was a gun in the
hand, over and over again, when you finally made the concession it was
based on a description by the FBI that the gun was found with -- the man
was found with has palms up and that gun was underneath the palm?"
He said, "That was all that would have been visible, was the
trigger guard, would I have missed seeing a gun, with the dense
foliage? If that being the case, it's possible I could have missed it."
In other words, if it was only the trigger guard and if the
gun was obscured under the hand. But when we put the gun in the hand
in the position it was in in the picture and we rolled the hand over,
the butt of the gun was up or the gun was lying across the palm of the
hand. You could not have missed it. It would have been impossible.
And I do not know why Fiske did not check that out. A blind man could
see it. Yet everybody is accepting this report at face value, saying
it is a great report, and forensic experts are perfect, everything else
is perfect and it is so full of holes you could not put water in it. It
is terrible. It makes me sick.
[End part 1 of 2]