The CIA’s former No. 3 official and a defense contractor were charged Tuesday with fraud and other offenses in the corruption investigation that sent former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham to prison, The Associated Press has learned.
Federal indictments named Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, executive director of the CIA until he resigned in May, and his close friend, San Diego defense contractor Brent Wilkes, both 52, according to two government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because grand jury proceedings are secret.
One of the officials said the grand jury heard claims that Foggo joined Wilkes on trips to Hawaii and Scotland, and was introduced to Wilkes’ employees as early as 2003 as a “future executive” of Wilkes’ company, Wilkes Corp., which allegedly received $12 million in illicit contracts from various government agencies.
In a separate indictment, Wilkes was charged with conspiring to bribe Cunningham in return for government contracts. A man who was described as a co-conspirator in Cunningham’s 2005 plea agreement, John T. Michael, was also charged with providing false information about the role Wilkes played in paying off a mortgage on Cummingham's home in California.
Cunningham, an eight-term Republican, served on the House Intelligence Committee and on the defense subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee — assignments that made him a key figure in the awarding of Pentagon contracts.
Cash, a yacht and a Rolls-Royce
Cunningham pleaded guilty in November 2005 to taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and others, including mortgage payments, and a yacht he named “Duke-Stir.”
The indictments paint a stunning picture of corruption in Washington. The alleged crimes by Cunningham and defense contractors is, according to the U.S. Attorney in San Diego, "breathtaking in scope."
The indictments allege that defense contractors bought Cunningham yachts, "Sea-Doo" boats, a Rolls-Royce, machine-gun shoots, a Glock handgun, Super Bowl tickets, fishing and diving trips, Hawaiian vacations, tens of thousands of dollars worth of private jet flights, hotel stays and dinners at expensive restaurants.
The conspirators even allegedly paid for a graduation party for Cunningham's daughter ($2,000); paid to help the congressman move from Virginia to California ($11,000); and hired prostitutes to entertain Cunningham and a contractor during an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii in 2003 ($600 for two prostitutes plus a $500 tip one night, and then again the second night.)
Cunningham was sentenced last year to more than eight years in prison.
House panel called for more scrutiny
A House Intelligence Committee report on Cunningham’s activities released in October called for more investigation into Foggo’s dealings with the intelligence panel, given Foggo’s close relationship with former committee aide Brant Bassett.
Mark MacDougall, an attorney for Foggo, and Mark Geragos, an attorney for Wilkes, did not immediately return calls seeking comment. A message seeking comment from Michael was also not returned.
Foggo was named executive director of the CIA in 2004, responsible for running the agency’s day-to-day operations. He retired in May while under investigation by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the Pentagon, the CIA and the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego.
According to Cunningham’s plea agreement, Wilkes’ companies won nearly $100 million in federal contracts over the last decade in exchange for funneling more than $626,000 in bribes to the congressman between 2000 and 2004.
Friends from childhood
Foggo and Wilkes grew up together in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista. The two men remained close as adults, naming their sons after each other and sharing a private wine locker at a fancy Washington restaurant.
Cunningham’s plea agreement identified Michael as a beneficiary of the congressman’s misdeeds.
Another Cunningham co-conspirator, Mitchell Wade, is cooperating with prosecutors after pleading guilty in February 2006 to bribing Cunningham in exchange for more than $150 million in government contracts for his company, MZM Inc.