Former Top CIA Official Sentenced to 37 Months

In this file photograph from Feb. 14, 2007, Kyle
In this file photograph from Feb. 14, 2007, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, former executive director of the CIA, turns away from cameras as he leaves the Federal Courthouse following his arraignment on charges stemming from the corruption of former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in San Diego. Foggo is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday Feb. 25, 2009 in Alexandria, Va., the highest-ranking CIA officer ever to be convicted of a federal crime. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File) (Denis Poroy - AP)
By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 27, 2009

A man who was the third-ranking official in the CIA was sentenced to 37 months in prison yesterday for corrupting the agency's contracts, the exact punishment sought by prosecutors who portrayed Kyle "Dusty" Foggo as an opportunist who tried to profit from the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Foggo took advantage of the CIA's response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to steer agency contracts to a California businessman, prosecutors said. Foggo, 54, pleaded guilty in September to a corruption charge involving his relationship with the businessman, a former defense contractor and friend. He is the highest-ranking member of a federal intelligence or law enforcement agency to be convicted of a crime.

"One man's crisis is another man's opportunity, and Mr. Foggo proved himself to be a very prolific opportunist,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Forge said at the sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. "A man who exploits a national crisis should be humble enough to not call himself a patriot.''

That drew a sharp response from defense attorneys, who said Foggo provided critical intelligence after the terrorist attacks, part of a lifetime of service that also saw him get shot at in the jungles of Central America. "When the story of America's response to Sept. 11 is written, Dusty Foggo's work can and should be seen to have played a very important role,'' said Mark MacDougall, an attorney for Foggo. "A sinner he may be. A criminal he is, but he is surely a patriot.''

Defense attorneys sought probation. But U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris said Foggo had benefited from his relationship with the contractor and had pressured CIA officials to hire his longtime mistress. "You were a good employee for the CIA for over 20 years, and you obviously did some good work,'' he told Foggo. "But still, this was such a scheme, for such a long period of time, that a sentence of 37 months is appropriate.''

The case raised questions about how Foggo achieved such power over CIA's operations when his personnel file was filled with a record of misconduct. A CIA spokesman said Foggo's former position was eliminated and that the agency cooperated in the investigation.

A longtime logistics officer, Foggo was the CIA's executive director from November 2004 until May 2006, holding the agency's third-ranking position and one in which he oversaw the CIA's daily operations and budget.

Foggo, of Vienna, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and acknowledged he conspired to defraud the government through his relationship with Brent R. Wilkes, the businessman and friend. Prosecutors said Wilkes took Foggo and his family on a $30,000 Hawaiian vacation and courted him with expensive meals.

In return, court documents say, Foggo helped Wilkes get lucrative contracts.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company