All of the official investigators of White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster’s death refuse to accept responsibility for inconsistent information contained in a recently released FBI memorandum.
A copy of the internal FBI memo was released to Accuracy in Media on March 25, 1998, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The memo, dated July 23, 1993, was addressed to the Director of the FBI, from the bureau’s Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Field Office. The individual author of the memo remains a mystery.
Foster’s body was discovered on July 20, 1993, in Fort Marcy Park, Va., and his death has been ruled a suicide by the Office of Independent Counsel, Kenneth Starr. The autopsy was performed on July 21 by the Fairfax County Medical Examiner, Dr. James Beyer. The U.S. Park Police, with the FBI’s assistance, conducted the official investigation into Foster’s death.
The FBI Field Office reported on Page 3 of the memo that “preliminary results include the finding that a .38 caliber revolver … was fired into the victim’s mouth with no exit wound.”
The official report on Foster’s autopsy described an exit wound in the back of his head, 1 x 1.25 inches in size.
Dr. Beyer could not account for the inconsistency in the FBI memo, although he said that for a preliminary finding to contradict an official report would be “very unusual.”
Dr. Donald Haut, the coroner who examined Foster’s body at Fort Marcy Park, claimed that he didn’t know who generated the initial results from the autopsy. “There was, in fact, an exit wound in the occipital area of the skull,” Haut said.
Haut filed a two-page report from his examination in the park, which was internally inconsistent. Page 1 of Haut’s report described a “perforating gunshot wound mouth-head.” Page 2 said the shot was “mouth-neck.”
The “mouth-head” language on Page 1 of Haut’s report showed, in the “cause of death” box, that the word “head” was typed into the box after another word had been whited out.
When told that some speculated that his report had been altered, Haut said, “I don’t know about that. That sounds kind of far-fetched. I don’t know what would be the purpose of doing that. It wouldn’t make any sense. What would be the motive?”
Haut believed the “mouth-neck” information came from the Park Police, although he couldn’t be sure.
Sergeant Joe Cox, Public Information Officer for the Park Police, was unable to determine whether they had provided the FBI with the faulty information. “We have no documents that show there not being an exit wound,” Cox said.
Cox refused to point out who was providing the FBI with information at the time. Stating that the Park Police try to document everything, Cox said, “We try not to rely on memory.” He said he couldn’t help “unless you can point us to where our documentation is off.”
Susan Lloyd, media representative for the FBI’s Washington Field Office, could provide no insight as to the author of the FBI memo. She was hampered in determining who wrote the memo, because she didn’t possess a copy of it. When asked if she would like a copy faxed to her, she responded, “No, I don’t want to get involved in this.”
Lloyd also stated that the FBI wasn’t required to comment on FOIA-released documents.