By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 22, 2008
A federal grand jury has accused a former top CIA official of pulling strings to get a high-level CIA job for his mistress, as part of a new indictment against the official in an existing corruption case.
The new indictment against Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, a former No. 3 official at the spy agency and a onetime senior CIA ethics officer, alleges that he pressured CIA managers into hiring the woman after she was turned down for a position in the CIA's general counsel office. He also allegedly made false statements about her qualifications, the indictment states.
Foggo, the CIA's executive director from 2004 to 2006, specifically told agency officials he had a "special interest" in seeing the woman hired, and he later berated them when they initially rejected her application. "When the ExDir has a special interest, you had better take notice," Foggo told the general counsel's staff, according to an indictment filed late Tuesday by the U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria.
Federal prosecutors say Foggo's alleged intervention on behalf of the woman was but one of a series of successful efforts by him to manipulate the intelligence agency, many of which went undetected for a time by its spies. Foggo managed to win jobs, money and other favors for friends and business partners while concealing the nature of his relationships from the agency, Justice Department officials allege in court documents.
Foggo, hired to the No. 3 position by then-CIA Director Porter Goss, faces charges of fraud, conspiracy and conflict of interest stemming mostly from alleged favors he performed for California businessman Brent R. Wilkes, a childhood friend and prominent GOP fundraiser.
Wilkes is alleged to have showered Foggo with expensive gifts -- ranging from lavish vacations in Scotland and Hawaii to $1,000 dinners at Washington area restaurants. Foggo, for his part, helped steer CIA contracts to Wilkes's companies and provided classified information to his friend, even though Wilkes lacked a security clearance, the indictment states.
The indictment, the third against Foggo since 2006, stemmed from the same corruption investigation that yielded criminal convictions for Wilkes as well as former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), both of whom were sentenced to prison terms.
Mark MacDougall, an attorney representing Foggo, suggested in an interview that the new charges involving the alleged girlfriend were an attempt to further damage his client's reputation. He said the government had presented no evidence that Foggo committed a crime in trying to help a friend secure a job.
"This is the government's third try at framing charges against Mr. Foggo," MacDougall said. "But adding salacious allegations won't change the facts. Mr. Foggo never violated the law and served our nation with distinction for more than a quarter-century."
The initial filing of criminal charges against Foggo in 2006 prompted questions about internal security at the CIA, which is supposed to have an elaborate system of checks to limit the risk of malfeasance by agency insiders. But agency officials insisted yesterday that the system works and said that the CIA has played a key role in investigating Foggo.
"It demonstrates a willingness by the CIA to investigate itself," said an official who declined to be identified by name because the charges have not been tried in court.