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Friday, May 05, 2006

CIA Chief Porter Goss Resigns – Did Connections to Cunningham Bribery Scandal Bring Him Down?

CIA head Porter Goss resigned today. Goss, a former congressman from Florida, promoted Dusty Foggo to the position of Executive Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Foggo is currently the subject of an internal investigation by the CIA into whether Foggo used his position to steer intelligence contracts to his longtime friend Brent Wilkes, one of the defense contractors who bribed Duke Cunningham. One of Wilkes’ companies, Archer Logistics, received a $2-3 million contract to provide water and other supplies to CIA agents in Iraq.

Foggo and Wilkes have been friends since high school. They named their children after one another. When Foggo was working with the Contras in the 1980’s, Wilkes ferried members of Congress down to Central America to see their operations.

It is unclear how Foggo, whose CIA career has focused mainly on procurement, advanced to the #3 position within the agency. Some have suggested that his advancement may have been facilitated by members of Congress upon whom Foggo had dirt – some kind of embarrassing or incriminating information which provided Foggo with leverage. In possible support to this notion, recent reports have indicated that when Goss elevated Foggo to Executive Director of the CIA, Goss placed an unusual blackout on nonclassified information in Foggo’s file.

It is also possible that in addition to campaign contributions and outright bribery, Wilkes used the same m.o. to advance his own interests with members – getting them to steer him and his companies federal contracts.

Recent reports state that the ongoing federal investigation into bribery of members of Congress has expanded to include whether Wilkes and his associate Mitch Wade provided members of Congress with prostitutes as part of their scheme to obtain federal contracts. Foggo has since admitted to attending poker parties with members of Congress and other CIA officials at Washington D.C. hotel suites rented out by Wilkes, but denied that he had seen prostitutes in attendance.

The speculation and rumor which has swirled around the Cunningham investigation since its inception are slowly gaining credibility due to the recent revelations relating to prostitution and Goss’ resignation. Dean Calbreath of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that up to half a dozen members of Congress may be implicated. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, himself a recipient of $4,000 in campaign contributions from Wilkes and his associates, says he is not surprised by the federal inquiry into the use of prostitutes by some of those mentioned.

What is clear is that the federal inquiries have shaken some nerves in our nation's capitol. If you follow the money from Wilkes and Wade, it is painfully evident that federal investigators have plenty of leads to chase, and that the conviction of Duke Cunningham, as eye-opening and damning an indictment of business-as-usual in the Beltway as it was, may have only been the beginning.

The refusal of politicians like Rep. John Doolittle, CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and President Bush to disgorge the campaign contributions they received from Brent Wilkes and his associates becomes less acceptable with every new revelation about Wilkes' methods and every head that rolls. Their refusal constitutes more than just passive acceptance of money from Wilkes, but is an active endorsement of the acceptability of his methods.

They should give up the money from Wilkes and his associates immediately, or wholeheartedly and publicly embrace the platform of bribery, possible coercion, and prostitution which Wilkes' contributions represent.

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