Diego Union Tribune
May 13, 2006
Feds raid ex-CIA official's home
Foggo's office also searched in probe tied to Cunningham case
By Dean Calbreath and Onell Soto
VIENNA, Va. – Federal agents raided the home and office of former CIA Executive Director Kyle “Dusty” Foggo yesterday in the widening investigation of his ties to a defense contractor linked to the bribery case of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham.
As outgoing CIA director Porter Goss announced the raids in an internal e-mail to staff, he formally removed Foggo from his post as the agency's third-highest official.
On Monday, Foggo had announced his intention to resign at an unspecified date after reports surfaced that the FBI was investigating whether he had improperly steered contracts to a longtime friend, Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes.
Agents from the CIA's Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service participated in the raids, said Phillip Halpern, an assistant U.S. attorney in San Diego.
The CIA's inspector general has been investigating Foggo for at least three months, trying to find out whether he helped Wilkes gain CIA contracts. Wilkes has been identified as co-conspirator No. 1 in the Cunningham case.
One of Wilkes' companies, Archer Logistics, received several multimillion-dollar contracts involving supplies of water, first-aid kits and other provisions to CIA agents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Business associates and intelligence sources say Wilkes provided Foggo with numerous favors, including free flights on his corporate jet and free vacations in Hawaii and Europe.
In Honolulu, several of those sources said, Wilkes hosted Foggo at the $50,000-per-week estate of the late shampoo mogul Paul Mitchell. In Scotland, Wilkes rented a castle where he hosted Foggo, they said.
“They're old friends, godfathers to each other's kids, and they continue to be old friends,” said Michael Lipman, Wilkes' attorney. “Of course they do things together. They've done things together since they were in high school.”
Sources close to the investigation expect any possible prosecution might involve a charge of “honest services fraud,” which is based on the notion that public officials can deprive the public of their honest services by unethical conduct.
“There's a whole range of things you could do that would not be discharging your duty fairly, that could be considered honest services fraud,” one criminal expert said. “I mean, you could do it for money or you could do it for friendship, for a bunch of things.”
Lipman dismissed such talk as “gross and inaccurate speculation.”
Foggo's whereabouts were unknown yesterday and his attorney, William G. Hundley, did not return calls seeking comment on the raids.
While Foggo remains on the CIA's payroll, “he will not be coming into the office anymore” at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., said a well-placed source in the intelligence community.
Not at home
A caravan of vehicles carrying law enforcement agents pulled up to the front and rear of Foggo's rented home in Vienna about 8 a.m. yesterday, according to a neighbor. A vehicle was backed into the carport of the house and, at one point, a man wearing latex gloves emerged from the house and went around to the back.
Federal agents searched former CIA Executive Director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo's home in Vienna, Va., yesterday. Foggo has been removed from his post but remains on the CIA's payroll.
The split-level brick home sits on a quiet street, shaded by a canopy of oak and maple trees. Red and white azaleas were in bloom across the front of the house, and a breeze ruffled an American flag near the front door.
An agent at the scene said Foggo had not been detained and was not at the home, which sits in a pleasant, unpretentious suburban neighborhood near the CIA's headquarters.
Federal prosecutors have identified Wilkes as one of two defense contractors who plied Cunningham with more than $2.4 million in bribes in return for government contracts, but Wilkes has not been charged with a crime. The other contractor, Mitchell Wade, pleaded guilty to corruption charges in February and is awaiting sentencing.
Cunningham, a former Rancho Santa Fe congressman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion and resigned his seat after 16 years in the House. He was sentenced in March to eight years and four months in prison.
Wilkes and Foggo are lifelong friends who grew up in Chula Vista, where they attended Hilltop High School and played on the football team. They roomed together at San Diego State University, where they were active in the Young Republicans club. Later, each was the best man at the other's wedding, and each named a son after the other.
As Wilkes launched a career in accounting, Foggo gravitated to law enforcement. In college, he worked as a security guard at Sears, Roebuck & Co. and was named in two lawsuits by people who accused him of falsely arresting them for shoplifting. Sears settled the cases out of court.
After graduation, he joined the San Diego Police Department, patrolling Paradise Hills.
“He was a real hard charger, really interested in the job and really interested in the community,” said a retired police sergeant who worked with Foggo at the time. “He was just a really nice young guy.”
Foggo quit the police force in 1979 to work as an investigator with the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. About two years later, he was recruited into the CIA. Sources who knew Foggo at the time say the CIA appointment came with the help of political ties he had forged at the Young Republicans club.
Foggo's first foreign posting was to Honduras, the center of the U.S.-backed Contra guerrilla fighters who were trying to topple the Marxist government of Nicaragua.
About that time, Wilkes launched a Washington-based financial firm and accompanied lawmakers on trips to Central America, where they met with Foggo and Contra leaders.
Three of Wilkes' former friends say he told them he was involved in assignations between some of the legislators and prostitutes in Central America. The former friends – each of whom has known Wilkes and Foggo since high school – would speak only on the condition that they not be identified.
“Brent Wilkes adamantly and vehemently denies ever being involved in getting anybody prostitutes, and that includes congressmen and any other officials,” Wilkes' attorney said.
The only congressman who has been publicly identified as traveling with Wilkes in Central America is former Rep. Bill Lowery of San Diego. During the mid-1980s, Lowery was part of a Republican task force formed to build congressional support for President Reagan's aid to the Contras.
Lowery “strenuously denies” that he was involved with prostitutes on the Central American trips, said his attorney Lanny Breuer. Lowery has declined to answer questions about what he was doing in Honduras with Wilkes and Foggo.
Wilkes and Lowery knew each other from Young Republican meetings at San Diego State, which was also Lowery's alma mater. In his current career as a lobbyist, Lowery has been paid at least $200,000 by Wilkes since 1998.
After the Nicaraguan government was overthrown, Foggo was transferred to other CIA stations, including Vienna, Austria, and Frankfurt, Germany, while Wilkes established a career as a defense contractor in the United States.
Over the past decade, Wilkes has made more than $90 million selling technology to the government. According to papers filed in the Cunningham case, those sales were often at inflated prices.
In the beginning, most of Wilkes' sales were to the Defense Department. But in the past six years, Wilkes has concentrated more on the CIA, said several of his former business associates. They said Cunningham shifted funding for Wilkes' projects into the CIA's so-called “black budget” because it is hidden from public scrutiny.
As Wilkes lobbied for business on Capitol Hill, his hospitality suites in the Watergate and Westin Grand hotels were the sites of frequent poker games with high-ranking CIA officers, including Foggo, as well as legislators and staffers of the House Intelligence Committee.
Last month, the FBI began investigating reports that Wilkes was providing prostitutes at the Watergate and Westin to curry favor with lawmakers during his campaign to win contracts.
Wade has told federal prosecutors that Cunningham was one of the lawmakers for whom prostitutes were provided, said sources close to the investigation.
Through official CIA channels, Foggo has denied there were any prostitutes at the poker games he attended.
“If he attended occasional card games with friends over the years, Mr. Foggo insists they were that and nothing more,” said CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise-Dyck.
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