NEW YORK -- It took only minutes after the news broke that James B. McDougal died of a heart attack for conspiracy theories about his "murder" to hit the Internet and the radio airwaves.
On Rush Limbaugh's radio show, caller after caller said they suspected that McDougal had not died of natural causes, though he had been ailing for years and doctors had said he would not live long.
"How conVEEEENNNIENT," said one poster on the alt.impeach.clinton Internet newsgroup, noting that McDougal was an important witness against the president for independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.
"Maybe this heart attack is a warning" to former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker," said another cybersurfer.
"Chalk up another body to Clinton," said a third.
McDougal went to the top of a dozen "body count" lists maintained on the Internet by a hard-core fringe of anti-Clinton conspiracy buffs who believe the White House has systematically killed dozens of people.
Among the purported victims are Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown, who died in a 1996 plane crash in Croatia, and deputy White House counsel Vincent W. Foster Jr., whose much-investigated death has been ruled a suicide.
Pub Date: 3/12/98