Christopher Ruddy's Open
Letter to Linda Tripp
Christopher Ruddy
October 8, 1998
Dear Linda,
Time is short, so please listen to me.
As one of the last people to see Vince Foster alive before his body turned up with a bullet hole in his head in Fort Marcy Park, the hand of fate had tapped you in a unique way. From what I have read, I sense that you may have wanted to go public with what you knew about that scandal. But like hundreds of others who have personally witnessed the Clintons' ruthlessness, you were afraid. Then fate tapped your shoulder again when Monica Lewinsky became your friend. This time you summoned the courage - out of fear for yourself and for your country - to expose Clinton's abuse of power. President Clinton's actions and his efforts to obstruct justice must have shocked your person - as a mother, as a woman, and as an American citizen.
After reviewing the raw documents relating to Starr's investigation, I have concluded two things. One is that this scandal is not about sex.
Second, my heart has changed about you. I believe you have done a tremendous service for our country. You are an American hero because you not only risked your life, your family, and your livelihood - but you were aware of the risks. Despite your heroism, and the overwhelming evidence of obstruction of justice by Clinton and company, you are being cast as the villain. The attacks on your person have been disgusting and revolting.
Starr's failure to properly prosecute this case has led directly to the "blame Linda" spin: Linda encouraged Monica's relationship with the President; Linda told Monica to keep the dress; Linda wrote the talking points and so on. Starr has had his moment. Your work, however, is not yet finished.
You should act because we both know just how dangerous this White House is. Through wicked means they have survived. By Clinton's own admission there are "hundreds of women." Yet, so few of these women have come forward.
Consider how many of these women have been threatened, smeared, or even injured: Gennifer Flowers, Dolly Kyle Browning, Sally Purdue, Kathy Ferguson, Paula Jones, Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Kathleen Willey.
Recent news reports say that even Cabinet members were afraid to resign, because any break from the ranks would be severely punished by the Clintons.
The record shows Monica feared for her life. Monica's mom, Marcia, was afraid, too. The first words out of Marcia's mouth when she spoke by phone with the FBI agents at the Ritz-Carlton were very telling. She asked if the FBI could ensure Monica's safety if she cooperated against the President.
You probably know that in the Clintons' minds you crossed the line with Lewinsky. No doubt the White House also feels you double-crossed them. After all, they transferred you to the Pentagon and more than doubled your salary.
Using mob rules (and with the Clintons, mob rules apply), they must make you pay a heavy price. The White House can be creative and patient in getting their payment.
Again, the Clintons' payback is not simply done for revenge. It's the foundation of their power. It sends a message. There is so much other corruption they are hiding. If it appears you have succeeded in any way, it could open the floodgates. If those gates were to open, they would not only be forced from office, but possibly put in prison.
You may be told that you are just too public for anything to happen. Then think about Vince Foster, Ron Brown, Jim McDougal and the others. If the system did not work to protect a deputy White House Counsel or a Commerce Secretary, how will it protect a staffer at the Pentagon?
Starr won't be there for you. If Starr had any integrity, he would have immediately and zealously prosecuted the illegal release of information from your confidential Pentagon files to the New Yorker magazine.
I was also shocked to read just how unsympathetic the grand jury was to you. During Lewinsky's testimony, one juror said that you are "definitely going to have to give an account for what [you] did." If the grand jury won't take the facts seriously, I doubt Congress will, either. They dropped the ball with Whitewater, Travelgate, FBI Filegate, campaign fundraising, and Chinagate. I doubt the impeachment hearings will be any different.
If you look carefully, Republican activities are largely gamesmanship to energize their vote for Election Day. The Clintons know once the election passes, the worst is over. The White House has already implemented a scorched-earth policy. Just ask Congressman Dan Burton.
When the evidence was released, you should have been fully vindicated. That didn't happen. The Republicans redacted much of the damaging information about Clinton. They even released the latest three-volume set of papers on a Friday afternoon. This is common procedure for burying a story. I think the fix is in, and you are going to turn out the big loser - unless you act, and soon.
Telling your side of the story involving Lewinsky is not enough. Your coming forward to expose this scandal stirred up a hornets' nest. You may have thought the hornets' nest would have been eliminated when the facts were made public. Instead, the hornets are alive and well and have been stinging you. They will persist.
You need to go further. Since you already have put yourself out on the limb, you don't have much to lose, but our country has much to gain. You can nuke that hornets' nest with the truth about Vince Foster.
The grand jurors themselves expressed skepticism about your fears when you cited Foster's death. After all, in the minds of many Americans, it was nothing more than a simple "suicide." You need to explain to the whole country the basis of your fears. And tell the real story about Foster's last days.
Many - including your lawyers - will probably not want you to do this. Lawyers never like to rock the boat. But you have real power because at this moment you command the world's attention. You can hold a press conference on your front lawn, and media from around the world will show up. This may not always be true. If you are indicted in Maryland, you will lose much credibility. The Clinton White House knows that you know more than Lewinsky. They cannot count that you will always keep your mouth shut. They may even suspect you taped others.
Face the fact you are a menace to the Clintons. Don't let them control the play of the events. Move decisively. A good offense is the best defense. Take it from me, I'm living proof some people can take on the Clintons and survive.
My advice is that you hold a press conference without much advance notice and consultation. Just tell the whole truth.
Do this for yourself, for the country, and for your kids. If the Clintons get away with this, if they make it past this congressional election, I fear they will be vicious to their enemies. Their stranglehold on the federal government will tighten, and there is no telling what they are capable of. You know this. Do you really want your children to grow up in a country where the Clintons' way of life is the norm? Do you want your kids to carry the stigma the White House has cast upon you and your good name?
You turned to the authorities and it did not work. Turn to the American people, speak to them. You ARE one of us. There are millions of us who want you to win, and deeply admire what you have done. Many millions more will be swayed when the truth is told about Vince Foster.
May God bless you, your family and America.
Sincerely yours,
Christopher Ruddy