Tuesday, December 2, 2003

No Political Motivation My Ass

Some people have no shame. From CNN:

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — Five government investigations concluded that White House attorney Vincent Foster’s death in 1993 was a suicide. But Allan Favish, a Clinton antagonist from Southern California, suspects murder and is demanding to see 10 of the police photos.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether to release those photographs, in a potentially precedent-setting case pitting the public’s right to know against the Foster family’s privacy. The family does not want the pictures of the body released.

The case is more than a battle over sensational evidence in the death of a high-level Clinton administration official. It represents the first time the Supreme Court has agreed to rule directly on the privacy interests of the surviving family in a Freedom of Information Act case.

The outcome could increase the government’s ability to withhold information from the public and the media, said Jane Kirtley, a media ethics and law professor at the University of Minnesota who filed a brief in support of Favish.


Foster, 48, was found dead of a gunshot to the head in a park in Virginia, outside the nation’s capital. Foster, a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, was handling several personal legal matters for them at the time, including their investment in the Whitewater real estate venture. A file on Whitewater was in Foster’s office at the time.

Independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr and other investigators concluded Foster shot himself. Foster’s widow, Lisa, has said he was severely depressed and afraid that seeking treatment could jeopardize his career.

Despite those findings, conspiracy theories that he was murdered in a White House cover-up abound.

Favish believes 10 photographs taken when Foster’s body was discovered could reveal evidence that points to murder. He already has reviewed about 100 other photographs, some of which are posted on his Web site.

Favish, who worked for the conservative legal group Judicial Watch in the late 1990s, denies any political motivation for his quest and said the group did not fund his case. Judicial Watch filed numerous lawsuits against the Clinton administration.

“I’m just a citizen who’s very concerned about the integrity of the nation’s law enforcement agencies,” said Favish, 48, adding that he spent $5,000 of his own money pursuing the photos. “The dominant media totally dropped the ball on this case.”


The high court will have two questions before it: Does a provision in the 37-year-old Freedom of Information Act that allows the government to withhold materials that “constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” extend to family members of the subject? And if it does, does the public’s right to know outweigh the family’s pain?

There’s a point where the the public’s right to know becomes an invasion of privacy, and I think this guy has found it.