Posted By: Rayelan Date: Thursday, 7 September 2000, 8:33 p.m.

This article appeared in the August issue of The Media Bypass
magazine and is reposted here with the permission of James R.
Norman. Subscriptions of Media Bypass can be obtained by calling


Was White House Deputy Counsel Vince Foster Selling U.S.
Secrets to Israel?  The CIA Suspects He Was.

By James R.

Norman Two weeks before his death on July 20, 1993, White House
Deputy Counsel Vincent W.  Foster went into a deep funk.  The
official cause of death, given by former Independent Counsel
Robert Fiske Jr., was suicide drivenby depression over, among
other things, several newspaper editorials.  But Vince Foster had
a much bigger and darker reason to be seriously burned out.  He
had just learned he was under investigation for espionage.

Outrageous?  To say the least.  But a lengthy investigation has
located over a dozen sources with connections to the intelligence
community who confirm a shocking story of money laundering and
espionage connected to the highest levels of the White House.
Without grants of immunity, the sources risk going to prison for
violation of the National Security Act.  Virtually all have
demanded anonymity.

According to a veteran Central Intelligence Agency operative
close to the Foster investigation, Foster's first indication of
trouble came when he inquired about his coded bank account at
Banca Della Svizzera Italiana in Chiasso, Switzerland and found
the account empty.  Foster was shocked to learn from the bank
that someone using his secret authorization code had withdrawn
all $2.73 million he had stashed there and had moved it to, of
all places, the U.S.  Treasury.

Then, according to credit card records reviewed by a private
investigator who has revealed them, Foster canceled the two-day
round-trip TWA and Swiss Air plane tickets to Geneva he had
purchased on his American Express card through the White House
travel office on July 1.

Discretely he began asking what was afoot, says the CIA source,
confirming that someone in the White House tipped him off.  It
was bad news.  The CIA had Foster under serious investigation for
leaking high-security secrets to the State of Israel.

For months, a small cadre of CIA computer hackers known as the
Fifth Column, armed with a Cray supercomputer, had been
monitoring Foster's Swiss account.  They had located it by
tracking money flows from various Israeli government accounts
after finding Foster's name while secretly snooping through the
electronic files of Israel's Mossad.  Then by snooping through
the bank files, they gathered all the information needed to
withdraw the money.

Foster was just one of the first of scores of high level U.S.
political figures to thus have their secret Swiss accounts looted
of illicit funds, according to both this veteran CIA source and a
separate source in another intelligence agency.  Over the past
two years, they say, more than $2 billion has been swept out of
offshore bank accounts belonging to figures connected to the U.S.
government with nary a peep from the victims or their banks.
The claim that Foster and other U.S.  figures have had offshore
accounts has been confirmed by a separate high-ranking CIA source
and another in the Department of Justice.

Various sources, some of them controversial, have contributed
other pieces to this puzzle.  Whatever their motivations, those
sources have proven remarkably consistent.  Their stories jibe
well with known facts and offer a most plausible explanation for
Foster's mysterious depression.  It would also explain
Washington's determined effort to dismiss the Foster affair as a
tragic but simple suicide.

Vince Foster a spy?  Actually, it is much worse than that, if the
CIA's suspicions are confirmed by the ongoing foreign
counterintelligence probe.  He would have been an invaluable
double agent with potential access to not only high-level
political information, but also to sensitive code, encryption and
data transmission secrets, the stuff by which modern war is won
or lost.  That is because for many years, according to nine
separate current and former U.S.  law enforcement or intelligence
officials, Foster had been a behind-the-scenes manager of a key
support company in one of the biggest, most secretive spy efforts
on record, the silent surveillance of banking transactions both
here and abroad.

This bank snooping effort began in earnest soon after Ronald
Reagan became president in 1981.  Its primary aim was to track
the money behind international terrorist groups and soon came to
be dubbed, "Follow the money ", according to the originator of
the program Norman A.  Bailey. Now a private Washington
consultant on international banking, Bailey was an economist and
Reagan advisor on the National Security Counsel.  It was Bailey's
idea to begin using powerful new computer and electronic
eavesdropping technologies then emerging to let the intelligence
community monitor the previously confidential flow of bank wire
transfers.  This was no small task; more than $1 trillion a day
moves through New York alone.

Bailey, himself constrained by the National Security Act, claims
he doesn't know exactly how the data was collected.  But he
confirms that within a few years The National Security Agency,
the signals intelligence arm of the government, had begun
vacuuming up mountains of data by listening in on bank wire
traffic.  It became a joint effort of several Western governments
with the Israelis playing a leading role, since they were the
main targets of terrorism.

Other intelligence experts say the flow of bits and bytes was
captured by various means; from simply tapping phone lines to
implanting customized chips in bank computers to store up and
periodically burst-transmit data to a passing van, or low-flying
"sig-int" or signals intelligence satellite.  Another part of the
problem was to get the world's banks to standardize their data so
that it could be easily analyzed.  And that brings up to PROMIS,
a powerful tracking tracking software developed for the U.S.
Government and then further enhanced by a little company called
Inslaw Inc.

PROMIS stands for Prosecutor's Management Information Systems and
was designed to manage legal cases.  In 1982, just as Bailey's
follow-the-money effort was gaining steam, the Reagan Justice
Department eagerly snapped up Inslaw's newest version of PROMIS.
But the government refused to pay the $6 million owed for it,
claiming part of the contract was not fulfilled.  Inslaw, forced
into Chapter 11 reorganization, and nearly driven to quick
liquidation by the government and its former partner AT&T, hotly
denied that claim.  Ultimately, a bankruptcy judge ruled the
government stole the PROMIS software by "trickery, fraud and

Why PROMIS?  Because it was adaptable.  Besides tracking legal
cases, it could be easily customized to track anything from
computer chip design to complex monetary transactions.  It was
especially useful for tracking criminals or just plain political
dissidents.  Inslaw claims the software was eventually illegally
sold to as many as 50 countries for use by their police, military
or intelligence agencies, including such bloody regimes as
Guatemala, South Africa and Iraq (before the 1990 invasion of
Kuwait).  Profits on these sales, Inslaw claims, went mainly into
the private pockets of Republican political cronies in the 1980s,
including Reagan confident Earl Brain, former part-owner of UPI
and FNN.

Among the biggest profiteers on PROMIS, according to the 1992
book by former Israeli anti-terrorism staffer Ari Ben-Menaseche,
was former British publisher Bob Maxwell.  On behalf of the
Israelis, Maxwell aggressively marketed a doctored version of
PROMIS equipped with one or more "back doors" to allow an
outsider to tap into the user's data base without leaving an
audit trail.  In fact, it may have been such rigged programs that
allowed noted Israeli spy Jonathon Pollard, from his computer
terminal at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, to
download vast amounts of top secret U.S.  nuclear weapons and
code data in the mid-1980s.

According to a heavily-redacted New Mexico FBI
counterintelligence report, Maxwell was apparently allowed to
sell two copies of PROMIS back to the U.S.  weapons labs at
Sandia and Los Alamos, for what Inslaw claims was a hugely
inflated price of $37 million.  That would have allowed Pollard,
if he was using the rigged program, to obtain U.S. missile
targeting data long before Israel had its own satellite
capability, thus making it a real nuclear threat to the Soviet
Union. Pollard was convicted of espionage and sentenced in 1986
to life imprisonment.  U.S.  officials have vehemently opposed
efforts to gain his early release.

Maxwell, according to Ben-Menaseche and nine other sources, was
also selling pirated versions of PROMIS to major world banks for
use in their wire transfer rooms to track the blizzard of
numbers, authorization codes and confirmations required on each
wire transaction.  Don't expect any banks to admit running PROMIS
software.  They probably now know it was pilfered.  But they
readily took it both because it was the best tracking software
available at the time and because the U.S.  government was
tacitly leaning on them to go along with the surveillance effort
or face regulatory reprisals or prosecution on money laundering
charges. With the widespread adoption of PROMIS, the data became
standardized and much easier to analyze by the NSA.

It took some effort to install and support PROMIS in the banking
industry.  That's where Vince Foster came in.  Sources say that
since at least the late 1970s, Foster had been a silent,
behind-the-scenes overseer on behalf of the NSA for a small
Little Rock, Ark., bank data processing company.  Its name was
Systematics Inc., launched in 1967 and funded and controlled for
most of its life by Arkansas billionaire Jackson Stephens, a 1946
Naval Academy graduate along with Jimmy Carter.  Foster was one
of Stephens' trusted deal makers at the Rose Law Firm, where he
was partner with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Webster Hubbell and
William Kennedy (whose father was a Systematics director).
Hubbell also played an overseer role at Systematics for the NSA
for some years according to intelligence sources.

Systematics has had close ties to the NSA and CIA ever since its
founding, sources say, as a money-shuffler for covert operations.
It is no secret that there were billions of dollars moving around
in "black" accounts - from buying and selling arms to the
Contras, Iran, Iraq, Angola, and other countries to paying CIA
operatives and laundering money from clandestine CIA drug
dealing.  Having taken over the computer rooms in scores of small
U.S.  banks as an "out-sourced" supplier of data processing,
Systematics was in a unique position to manage that covert money
flow.  Sources say the money was moved at the end of every day
disguised as a routine bank-to-bank balancing transaction, out of
view of bank regulators and even the banks themselves.  In short,
it became cyber-money.

One man who uncovered the link between Systematics, Foster and
covert money movements from arms and drugs was Bob Bickel, who
was an undercover Customs investigator in the 1980s.  "We found
Systematics was often a conduit for the funds" in arms and drug
transactions, says Bickel, now living in Texas: "They were the
money changers." His story is corroborated by a former CIA
employee who says it was well known within the agency in the late
1970s that Foster was involved with Systematics in covert money

Another source is Michael Ricoposciuto, former research director
of the covert arms operation at California's tiny Cabazon Indian
Reservation in the early 1980s.  Ricoposciuto claims his crew of
computer programmers helped customize PROMIS there for banking
and other uses.  He is now serving 30 years in a South Carolina
federal prison ostensibly on drug charges.  Though maybe not a
credible source on his own, his story fits well with other

Systematics' money-laundering role for the intelligence community
might help explain why Jackson Stephens tried to take over
Washington-based Financial General Bankshares in 1978 on behalf
of Arab backers of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
BCCI's links to global corruption and intelligence operations has
been well documented, though many mysteries remain.

According to a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange
Commission, Stephens insisted on having then-tiny Systematics
brought in to take over all of FGB's data processing.
Representing Systematics in that 1978 SEC case: Hillary Rodham
Clinton and Webster Hubbell.  Stephens was blocked in that
takeover.  But FGB, later renamed First American, ultimately fell
under the alleged domination of BCCI through Robert Altman and
former Defense Secretary Clark Clifford.  According to a
technician who worked for First American in Atlanta, Systematics
became a key computer contractor there anyway.

In the 1980s, Systematics' business boomed.  When it first sold
stock to the public in 1983, revenues were $64 million.  That had
risen to $230 million by the time Stephens arranged Systematics'
sale to Alltel Corp., a telephone holding company which then
moved its headquarters to Little Rock.  Last year, Systematics
sales hit $861 million - a third of Alltel's total.  Stephens now
owns more than 8 percent of Alltel and wields ignificant
influence over the company.

When Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, bringing Foster,
Hubbell and Kennedy to the White House staff, Systematics'
foreign bank business flourished.  It began to announce a flood
of data processing deals with major banks in Moscow, Macao,
Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Trinidad and elsewhere.
According to veteran bank software vendors, and computer
intelligence specialist Wayne Madsen, co-author of a book about
the NSA called "The Puzzle Palace", it is inconceivable any U.S.
company could land such lucrative work without the intimate
participation of the NSA.  Domestic business took off as well,
with giants like Citibank and Nations Bank signing big data
processing deals.

Working alongside Systematics in this spooky world of bank
computer spying appears to be a cluster of other curious,
loosely-affiliated companies.  For instance, there is Boston
Systematics, headed by former CIA officer Harry Wechsler, who
controls two Israeli companies that also use the name
Systematics.  Wechsler denies any connection to the Arkansas
company (now named Alltel Information Services) and claims to
know nothing of PROMIS.  Odd, then, that Inslaw claims it got two
inquiries in 1987 from Wechter's Israeli company seeking
marketing data on PROMIS.

Many of the intelligence sources who provided information for
this story insist that Boston Systematics and the Arkansas
company are, in fact, related in some way.  And based on his own
source in the Justice Department, Inslaw's founder William A.
Hamilton says he believes Boston Systematics was also closely
linked with both Maxwell and Rafl Bitan, the former head of
Israel's anti-terrorism effort.  Hamilton says Bitan, using a
false name, showed up at Inslaw's Washington, DC office one day
in 1983 for a private demonstration of PROMIS.

Another curious company is Arkansas Systems, founded in 1974 by
Systematics employee and formerly U.S.  Army "analyst" John
Chamberlain.  Located just down the road from Systematics.
Arkansas Systems specializes in computer systems for foreign wire
transfer centers and central banks.  Among its clients: Russia
and China, according to Arkansas Systems president James K.
Hendren, a physicist formerly involved with the Safeguard
anti-missile system.  Arkansas Systems was one of the first
companies to receive funding from the Arkansas Development
Finance Authority, an agency created by Bill Clinton that is now
coming under Congressional scrutiny.

What does Alltel have to say about all of this?  "I've never
heard anything so asinine in all my life," steams Joe T.  Ford,
Alltel's chairman and the father of Jack Stephen's chief
administrative aide.

John Stouri, a former IBM executive who is chief executive of
Alltel Information Services, says he had never heard of Boston
Systematics before this inquiry.  He declares that the Arkansas
company does almost no work for the government, scoffs at the
idea his company is tied to the NSA and says Foster has never had
any connection to Systematics.  As for the fact he sold half his
700,000 Alltel shares in February at $34, just before it began
skidding to under $24, he says that was merely to pay for the
exercise of options.

Why is it then that Hamilton claims sources in two separate
intelligence agencies say documents relating to Systematics were
among those taken from Foster's office immediately after Foster's
death?  Indeed, a private investigator close to the continuing
"Whitewater" probe by Independent Counsel Kenneth W.  Starr says
he has learned that Hubbell has delivered those documents -
including papers related to Systematics - to Starr.  Hubbell
pleaded guilty last December to two felony counts related to
over-billing at the Rose Law Firm and has been sentenced to 21
months in prison.

If Foster knew the U.S.  was spying on foreign banks, why would
he let himself be caught red-handed with a Swiss bank account?
The answer may be that the Israeli transactions were, in fact,
well concealed, according to the veteran CIA source.  And Foster
would have known that, unless a prober knew exactly what to look
for, finding his payoffs in the torrent of routine wire transfer
data would be a hopeless task. Besides that, greed could explain
a lot, if not Foster's then for whomever else he might have been
playing bagman.  The CIA source says Foster was not the only one
in the White House under suspicion for peddling state secrets.

All of which helps explain Foster's odd behavior before his
death.  He was a tough, smart trial attorney at the peak of power
in Washington. Only 48 years old, he was in excellent health.
Suddenly, according to the Fiske report, he couldn't sleep.  He
complained of heart palpitations and high blood pressure.  His
sister arranged for him to see a Washington psychiatrist, who
later told the FBI he had been instructed not to take notes
because Foster's depression was "directly related to highly
sensitive and confidential matters" tied to his "top secret"
government work.

Foster never saw a shrink.  Instead, about a week before he died,
he hired a lawyer: high-powered DC criminal attorney and
political fix-it man James Hamilton.  Foster's wife claims his
reason was the White House Travel Office controversy, which was
expected to lead to congressional hearings.

On the weekend of July 17 and 18, Foster drove with his wife to
the eastern shore of Maryland to relax.  By "coincidence",
according to the Fiske report, so did Hubbell.  They met at the
posh estate of Michael Cardozo, head of Clinton's legal defense
fund and son-in-law of prominent Democratic fund raiser Nathan
Landau.  Hubbell later claimed the weekend was a laid-back
gathering of tennis and poolside chit-chat.

But according to sources connected to the CIA, Justice Department
and another intelligence agency, the meeting was under
surveillance.  The agenda?  Heavy duty damage control.  Foster
was grilled.  To whom else could the Swiss money be traced?  How
could the scandal be contained?

Foster's wife admitted he returned to Washington even more
depressed. On Monday night, he turned down an invitation by the
President to drop by the White House to supposedly watch a movie.
On Tuesday, Foster left his office at the White House about 1
p.m.  and said he'd be back later.  At 5:45 p.m., his body was
found neatly laid out at Fort Marcy Park, a bullet wound in his
mouth.  Suicide, the Fiske report promptly declared, echoed by a
cursory Senate inquiry.

Still, nagging questions remain: Why was there no blood on the
ground, no bone fragments or brain tissue?  Why were there rug
fibers all over the clothes?  Why no dust on his shoes despite
the long dirt path from his car to his body?

The answer seems painfully clear; a cover-up of immense
proportions for reasons of "national security".  And don't expect
Whitewater prober Kenneth Starr to spill any beans.  He was
in-house counsel to Reagan Attorney General William French Smith
at the time the Inslaw PROMIS software was expropriated for
intelligence use.  Later, as Solicitor General, he recused
himself from an Inslaw-related matter without explanation.  It
seems likely Starr would have been personally involved in
launching the covert bank spy effort, which Washington is still
so nervous to keep secret.

All in the family, you might say.

             Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh, YHVH, TZEVAOT

  FROM THE DESK OF:                    <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
                      *Mike Spitzer*     <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
                         ~~~~~~~~          <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

   The Best Way To Destroy Enemies Is To Change Them To Friends
       Shalom, A Salaam Aleikum, and to all, A Good Day.

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