Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Efforts to Sidetrack Investigators along the Whitewater Trail

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Efforts to Sidetrack Investigators along the Whitewater Trail

Article excerpt

The Whitewater House chief of staff, Leon Panetta, wrote The Washington Post to complain about its reporter's account of a pattern of Clintonite deceit. "Factual mistakes or overreaching by the press occur in our time-pressured environment all the time," wrote Panetta, my fellow Old Nixon Hand. "Recall the front-page suggestions in some newspapers of Whitewater document shredding that never occurred."

Facts: Couriers of the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock have said Hillary Rodham Clinton twice summoned them to the governor's mansion in the summer of 1992 and gave them records to be shredded at the firm.

In December 1992, eight more boxes from Mrs. Clinton and her partners Vincent Foster, Webster Hubbell and William Kennedy III were shredded. In January 1994, just after special counsel began to investigate, Rose partners admitted they then shredded more "VWF" files that they claimed were unrelated to Whitewater.

How can Leon Panetta say that relevant document shredding "never occurred"? Because nobody has yet proved that the shredding that took place so hurriedly was of Whitewater-related documents. But rational people can wonder why the Clintons and her partners were so anxious to destroy files at crucial moments.

That secrecy in the handling of Foster files was discussed in this space last month. I charged that Mrs. Clinton misled us when she insisted her staff chief, Margaret Williams, did not "remove" files from Foster's office, but that they "went to our lawyer," as if directly.

The Clintons' private lawyer, David Kendall, wrote to complain. He put the first lady's deception artfully: "Mrs. Clinton did not add that Ms. Williams played a minor role in this subsequent transmission (arranging for the documents' storage until they could be picked up by the Clintons' lawyer after Foster's funeral), but she accurately set forth the process and result."

No wonder this guy is reputed to get $400 an hour; he makes bad look good. Let's examine the sequence.

(1) Foster's body is discovered July 20. White House aides, unobserved, are in and out of his office that night and next day. His possession of the Whitewater file is kept secret.

(2) On Thursday, July 22, White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, with intimidated cops nearby, gives Foster's box of Whitewater files to Ms. …

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