Excerpt from:

April 28, 1997

" Gore Looks Like a Stooge in those Huang Papers"


... It's always poetic moments like the Greg Norman one that crystallize an intelligent person's understanding.

My own moment with Bill Clinton came last year in Arkansas, and no document drop, however vast, will alter it. On Nov. 4 , I met a woman named Linda Ives at her home not far from Little Rock. Late one night in August 1987, Ms. Ives' 17-year-old son and his friend were killed, evidently by drug smugglers they stumbled upon as they went out to poach deer. The case is the "boys on the tracks" case, which is infamous on the right. Lately, The Wall Street Journal has heralded an indictment that might lead somewhere in the case, but no one is holding their breath. The boys' murders and the subsequent deaths of several witnesses have never been solved. There is plenty of evidence of political obstruction of justice in the case, obstruction reaching to state officials. At the very least, Gov. Bill Clinton looked the other way. He protected the obstructive; he refused to meet with Linda Ives.

So for almost 10 years, Ms. Ives has lived her own private Argentina a few miles from the capital of Arkansas. She told me about the night she visited the Saline County hospital to meet a paramedic who'd gone out to the railroad tracks the morning the bodies were found.

"Billy refused to talk to me. Four Saline County deputies were there with him. There are never four deputies on duty there. He was very nervous, he was very emotional, he was saying, 'Miss Ives, I can't talk to you,' and I was putting the guilt trip on him. 'Why can't you?' He said, 'I'll talk to you , but I have to make a phone call.'

"I went into a small office with him. I said, 'I want to know abut the appearance of the blood. I've heard talk, I want to hear firsthand information.'

"He said, 'Miss Ives, all I can tell you is Get my report.'

"I said, ' I don't have your report, I want to hear directly from you, Billy. I want to hear directly from you.'

"He said, 'I can't tell you. I spent five hours writing that report. Because I knew at some point I would have to have total recall.'"

Weeks later, the authorities gave Ms. Ives a report. It was short; it wasn't the one Billy wrote. Then Linda Ives found out that Billy has known her son.

"I called him at home, raving, I'm sure, like a compete lunatic, I told him, 'Billy, you don't owe me anything, but damn it, you owe Kevin something. That report they have is not the report you told me about.' He said, 'Miss Ives, you don't understand,' I said 'You're damn right I don't. Explain it to me.' He said, 'I have a family.' I said, 'I used to have a son.'

The night after I met Linda Ives was Election Night. I was in the crowd outside the Old State House building for Mr. Clinton's victory speech. I was squeezed against a barricade near a young redheaded woman. On my other side was a rugged guy in black jeans. We got to talking. The woman said she had known one of the dead boys in Saline County. The man said he knew law enforcement there. That's Arkansas; everyone knows everyone. I asked them for their phone numbers to follow up during a calmer time. The man refused. The girl shook her head.

"I don't even need a name," I said. "Just a phone number."

"I might as well cut my throat," the woman said. "They found one witness to the grand jury in Saline County in the dump, burned beyond recognition."

"For us locals, it's a dangerous situation," the man said. "It's still too open. And it will be open forever."

Bill Clinton was on stage right then, saying, "every child deserves a main chance."

That's the best understanding I ever got about Mr. Clinton. For all his bright promise and fine beliefs, he long ago made a deal with a benighted political organization that had thugs among its operatives. If you wonder why people hate him, it's because they recognize that training, they sense those crude values, that ruthlessness and lack of moral center. And they want an old-fashioned accounting.


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