Thursday, October 4, 2018

Evans-Pritchard On Vincent Foster's Death

         I'm surprised this hasn't gotten more attention. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who is a well known and respected economics and foreign relations writer for The Telegraph, penned a piece published yesterday entitled "My sinister battle with Brett Kavanaugh over the truth". (Evans-Pritchard's columns are generally behind a pay-wall, so I only found his article because it was reprinted by Yahoo). In his column, Evans-Pritchard essentially accuses Kavanaugh, while working for Special Prosecutor Ken Starr, of assisting with covering up evidence that Vincent Foster was murdered. Or rather, as I read it correctly, that Kavanaugh didn't pursue any leads concerning Foster's death.

       Evans-Pritchard writes:
        [Patrick Knowlton] was a crime scene witness in the death of Vincent Foster, the White House aide and ex-law partner of Hillary Clinton. At the time this was a mystery case, a big story during my tenure as the Sunday Telegraph’s bureau chief in Washington.
I had tracked down Mr Knowlton and discovered that the Starr probe had never spoken to him, even though he had been the first person at the Fort Marcy death location and had highly-relevant information.
        I showed him his FBI ‘302’ witness statement from the earlier, superficial Fiske probe. He had never seen the words attributed to him before. 
        Mr Knowlton was stunned. It contradicted his express assertions. He said the FBI had tried repeatedly to badger him into changing his story on key facts. Each time he refused. Now it appeared they had written in what they wanted to hear. He agreed to go public and accused the FBI of falsifying his witness statement. This was to court trouble.

        As soon as the print edition of the Telegraph reached Washington, the Starr investigation issued a subpoena calling Mr Knowlton to the grand jury. He was to face questioning by Brett Kavanaugh.
* * *
       What happened first was an eye-opener. Before testifying, [Knowlton] suffered two days of what appeared to be systematic intimidation by a large surveillance team. This was observed by two other witnesses, including Chris Ruddy, now the powerful chief executive of NewsMax. 
        Mr Ruddy called me in shock from Dupont Circle to recount what he saw. A deeply-shaken Mr Knowlton contacted me from his home several times, until his phone was cut off.

        Veteran intelligence agents might recognise a method. It had the hallmarks of a boilerplate softening-up operation. In my view – unprovable – the objective was to frighten him before his grand jury appearance. It smacked of police state behaviour on the streets of Washington DC.
       I informed Mr Starr’s office that their grand jury witness was being intimidated. So did Mr Knowlton’s lawyer, who asked for witness protection. Nothing was done. Mr Kavanaugh brushed it off, saying the Telegraph was behind all this mischief in order to “sell newspapers”. 
         When Mr Knowlton appeared at the grand jury – thinking he was doing his civic duty – he says he was subjected to two and a half hours of character assassination by Mr Kavanaugh. There was little attempt to find out what he knew about the Foster death scene. 
        Could it be that the witness was distraught and imagined much of this? Possibly. But Mr Knowlton and his lawyer later filed a federal lawsuit against FBI agents he claimed were working for Brett Kavanaugh, alleging witness tampering and a conspiracy to violate his civil rights. This eventually reached the US District Court in Washington DC. The quixotic case was impossible to prove. Yet it was the action of a man who clearly felt wronged. To this day he blames Mr Kavanaugh personally. 
* * * 
        Few people are aware that the US federal prosecutor handling the death investigation at the outset, Miquel Rodriguez, had resigned earlier from the Starr investigation after a bitter dispute. 
        His resignation letter – later leaked – said he was prevented from pursuing investigative leads, that FBI witness statements did not reflect what witnesses had said, that the suicide verdict was premature, and that his grand jury probe was shut down just as he was beginning to uncover evidence. An informed source told me his work had been sabotaged by his own FBI agents.

        The nub of the dispute was over compelling evidence of a wound in Foster’s neck, which contradicted the official version that Foster shot himself in the mouth and had essentially been suppressed. The key crime scene photos had vanished and the FBI labs said others were over-exposed and useless.
        Mr Rodriguez, by then suspicious, slipped them to the Smithsonian Institution and had them enhanced. One showed a black stippled ring like a gunshot wound in the side of Foster’s neck. This remains secret but I have seen it. 
         The photo was pivotal. It confirmed what several people who handled the body had originally stated. I interviewed the first rescue worker on the scene and when I asked him about the mouth wound, he grabbed me, and said with frightening intensity: “listen to me buddy, Foster was shot right here,” jabbing his finger into my neck. He said the FBI had pressured him too into changing his story and that [the] official narrative was a pack of lies. 
        Mr Kavanaugh’s reaction to the findings of his colleague can be found in the stash of released documents from the Starr inquiry. One says in his hand-written notes: “startling discovery”, “blew up portions of photo – trauma to the neck on rt side”, “appears to be bullet hole”. 
        He was presented with a long analysis by Rodriguez that ripped apart the earlier Fiske report and called for an open homicide investigation. This had huge implications for the Clinton presidency and caused an internal crisis in the Starr office. A decision was made to shut down that part of probe. Miquel Rodriguez said he was “forced out”. It was the end of the only genuine probe of the Foster death – conducted under oath – that had ever occurred.
Evans-Pritchard faults Kavanaugh for apparently going along with the system rather than trying to investigate Foster's death further.

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