Clues point to aide's suicide

WASHINGTON - New information was disclosed last night about one of the most painful episodes so far suffered by the Clinton administration, the apparent suicide of Vincent Foster, a White House lawyer, writes Phil Reeves.

Police released the text of a note by Foster, a close Arkansas friend of Mr Clinton and his wife, which officials believe was written some days before his death. It said he was 'not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington'. Ever since the body of Foster, a successful lawyer, was found in a park outside Washington last month with what investigators called a self-inflicted gunshot wound, there has been speculation about the circumstances that led to his death.

But the local Park Police yesterday said they had concluded he took his own life, claiming that he was anxious about his work. As deputy White House counsel, Foster was involved in some of the early disasters of the Clinton regime, including bungled appointments and the fiasco over the purge of the White House travel staff.

But those who knew him in Washington have become increasingly convinced he was suffering from depression, partly brought about by a sense that he was out of his depth in the shark- infested waters of the nation's seat of government. His note, found in pieces several days after his death, said: 'Here, ruining people is considered sport.'

Foster also admitted he had made 'mistakes from ignorance, inexperience and overwork' but said he never knowingly violated any law or standard of conduct. 'No one in the White House, to my knowledge, violated any law or standard of conduct, including any action in the travel office,' he wrote.

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