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2 indicted in Cunningham corruption inquiry
Question of the Day
A former top CIA official and his longtime friend, a leading defense contractor, were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in San Diego on fraud and conspiracy charges in a corruption investigation that sent former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham to prison for eight years.
Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, the CIA’s executive director, or No. 3 official, until his resignation in May, and San Diego contractor Brent R. Wilkes, both 52, were named in a multimillion-dollar scheme to supply bottled water and first-aid supplies to CIA operatives in Iraq.
Mr. Foggo, according to an 11-count indictment, was accused of accepting lavish vacations, helicopter rides and private jet flights from Mr. Wilkes as part of the conspiracy. He was charged with fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
Mr. Wilkes was named in a separate 25-count indictment, charged with conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and unlawful monetary transactions to Cunningham in return for government contracts. The indictment included three counts of laundering more than $12 million.
According to the indictment, Mr. Foggo arranged for one of Mr. Wilkes’ companies to be a middleman in selling bottled water to the CIA. In December 2003, it says, Mr. Wilkes introduced Mr. Foggo at a party at Mr. Wilkes’ headquarters in Poway, Calif., as a future executive.
It also said Mr. Wilkes paid $32,000 for Mr. Foggo to join him on a vacation to Hawaii in December 2003 and January 2004.
Mr. Foggo, who announced his resignation within days of his CIA office and his Vienna, Va., home being searched by federal agents, had been the focus of an investigation by the FBI, the CIA’s Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. His ties were questioned to Mr. Wilkes, who was named as a co-conspirator but not charged in the Cunningham case.
Cunningham pleaded guilty in November to taking $2.4 million in bribes in return for federal contracts and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Mr. Foggo was named to his post in November 2004 by CIA Director Porter J. Goss. He oversaw the agency’s day-to-day operations. He had been an undercover operative for more than 20 years in postings in Honduras, Austria and Germany.
In the Cunningham case, court documents said an unindicted co-conspirator gave the former congressman $525,000 in bribes in return for $6 million in government contracts. The co-conspirator has been identified as Mr. Wilkes.
Investigators focused on Mr. Foggo’s role in the award of a $2.4 million contract to Mr. Wilkes to provide water, first-aid supplies and household items to CIA agents operating in war zones, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
Cunningham, an eight-term congressman and former Navy “top gun” pilot, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to help a Washington-based defense contractor get business. He admitted to charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and income tax evasion, also acknowledging he underreported his income in 2004.
By David Keene
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