The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

New charges filed against former top CIA official, contractor

New charges filed against former top CIA official, contractor
By ALLISON HOFFMAN
05/11/07 16:01:19

New charges have been filed alleging that the CIA's former No. 3 official used his influence in that role to support a proposed $100 million government contract for his best friend, a defense contractor, in return for lavish vacations, private jet flights and a lucrative job offer.

The indictment, returned Thursday by a federal grand jury in San Diego, supersedes charges brought in February against career CIA man Kyle "Dusty" Foggo and Poway-based contractor Brent Wilkes. The charges grew from the bribery scandal that landed former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in prison.

Foggo resigned from the spy agency a year ago, after his house and office were raided by federal agents. He is the highest-ranking CIA officer to be charged with crimes allegedly committed while working for the agency.

The pair now face 30 wide-ranging counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.

According to the new indictment, Foggo provided Wilkes with "sensitive, internal information related to our national security," including classified information, to help him prepare proposals for providing undercover flights for the CIA under the guise of a civil aviation company and armored vehicles for agency operations. Foggo allegedly then pushed his CIA colleagues to hire Wilkes' companies without disclosing their longstanding friendship.

In a June 2005 e-mail to the head of CIA air operations quoted in the indictment, Foggo offered to "use some 'EXDIR grease'" on Wilkes' behalf - apparently a reference to his title as the agency's executive director.

Prosecutors say that in return, Wilkes offered to hire Foggo after he retired from government service. In the meantime, he allegedly treated his friend to a Scottish golf trip during which they racked up a $44,000 hotel bill at the luxurious Pitcastle Estate.

Details in the indictment show that the arrangement between the two men began deteriorating in the summer of 2005, as the federal investigation into Cunningham began to envelop Wilkes. Foggo, who hosted a lunch in the CIA dining room for Wilkes in February of that year, allegedly instructed a CIA employee not to hire his friend after federal agents raided Wilkes Corp. offices in August.

Elsewhere in the indictment, prosecutors allege Foggo asked Wilkes to enlist Cunningham's help in obtaining an immigration visa on behalf of an acquaintance who later worked with Wilkes to provide water deliveries to the CIA.

The initial indictment in February charged the pair with 11 counts of the same charges in connection with a $1.7 million water-supply contract Foggo allegedly helped win for one of Wilkes' companies while he was working as a logistics coordinator at a CIA supply hub overseas.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to those charges. They face arraignment on the new charges on Monday.

Wilkes is charged in a separate indictment with conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and unlawful monetary transactions to Cunningham in return for government contracts.

That indictment was also superseded by the grand jury to include new charges against a second defendant, Long Island mortgage banker John T. Michael, who was described as a co-conspirator in Cunningham's 2005 plea agreement. He has already pleaded not guilty to one count of obstructing justice but now faces additional counts of money laundering and unlawful monetary transactions.

Calls seeking comment from attorneys for Foggo and Wilkes were not immediately returned Friday. Michael's attorney, Howard Frank, said he had not yet read the indictment and had no comment.

The initial charges came 20 months after the FBI opened an investigation into Cunningham, who served on key House committees with oversight of government contracts. He pleaded guilty in November 2005 to taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

Investigators quickly turned to Foggo and Wilkes, who played high-school football together in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista. After graduating in 1972, they roomed together at San Diego State University, were best men at each other's weddings, and named their sons after each other.

Foggo, a career CIA officer, rose through the ranks to become a top logistics officer based in Frankfurt, Germany, where he handled supply shipments to CIA operations in Central Europe, Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East.

Foggo was named executive director of the CIA in 2004. He resigned in May under investigation by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the Pentagon's Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the CIA's inspector general and the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego.

Wilkes, whose companies won $100 million in federal contracts over the last decade, funneled more than $700,000 in bribes to Cunningham, according to the indictment.

http://www.fresnobee.com/384/v-printerfriendly/story/47208.html

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