CBS' Stewart downplayed ex-CIA official Foggo's connections to Wilkes scandal

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

CBS News' Jim Stewart minimized former CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo's involvement in the burgeoning corruption and bribery scandal centered around defense contractor Brent Wilkes. Noting that Foggo had resigned his position, Stewart reported that Foggo "had been somewhat linked to a contract scandal in Congress, but people say that is not the reason he left. He simply decided that with his boss gone, it was time for him to leave as well." But Stewart's statement "somewhat" understates Foggo's connections to the "contract scandal."

On the May 8 broadcast of the CBS Evening News, CBS national correspondent Jim Stewart minimized former CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo's involvement in the burgeoning corruption and bribery scandal centered around defense contractor Brent Wilkes. Noting that Foggo had resigned his position, Stewart reported that Foggo "had been somewhat linked to a contract scandal in Congress, but people say that is not the reason he left. He simply decided that with his boss [former CIA director Porter Goss] gone, it was time for him to leave as well." But Stewart's statement "somewhat" understates Foggo's connections to the "contract scandal."

In the "contract scandal," defense contractors, most notably Wilkes, held poker parties at hotels in Washington, D.C., where they allegedly provided prostitutes to lawmakers and intelligence officials in an attempt to secure preferential treatment. Foggo, reportedly a friend of Wilkes' since childhood, is currently under scrutiny by the CIA inspector general, who is reportedly investigating "whether Foggo improperly helped Wilkes get a $2.4 million contract." Soon after Stewart's report, the Associated Press reported that the FBI "recently opened" an investigation into whether Foggo "improperly intervened in the award of contracts to a businessman [Wilkes] who has been implicated in a congressional bribery scandal."

The CIA Inspector General (IG) investigation, according to a March 6 Newsweek article, is examining "Foggo's relationship with Wilkes." The Newsweek article also reported that the investigation is "sufficiently serious that Congress was notified about it in writing." A March 20 Newsweek article further reported that the CIA IG was "examining" a CIA contract "issued by the logistics office of the agency's main base near Frankfurt, Germany, at a time that office was headed by ... Foggo." That contract went to a Wilkes-connected company, Archer Logistics. According to Newsweek, "The recently expired contract is said to have been worth $2 million to $3 million and involved delivering bottled water and other household goods to CIA personnel in 'war zones' including Iraq and Afghanistan. ... [I]nvestigators have questioned financial aspects of the contract because the agency seems to have been paying a high price for a modest amount of goods."

The March 20 Newsweek article also reported that "[t]he IG's investigation of Foggo's relationship with Wilkes is a consequence of Wilkes's role as 'Co-conspirator No. 1' in the [Randy "Duke"] Cunningham case," in which the former Republican congressman from California pleaded guilty in November 2005 to "receiving $2.4 million in bribes from military contractors and evading more than $1 million in taxes." An April 27 Wall Street Journal article reported that "[t]he charges against Mr. Cunningham had alleged that 'Co-conspirator #1' -- Mr. Wilkes -- had given the congressman more than $600,000 in bribes." NBC News reported on May 4 that "FBI agents are investigating what happened in the [Watergate] hotel's posh suites, which defense contractor Brent Wilkes turned into party suites for politicians and CIA officers. There was poker and cigars, and the FBI wants to know if there were prostitutes, too." The NBC report continued: "At the center of the investigation is defense contractor Wilkes, a lifelong friend of the No. 3 official at the CIA, Kyle 'Dusty' Foggo, who's in charge of agency contracts. Foggo acknowledges attending some of Wilkes' poker games but denies there were any prostitutes." Foggo was appointed to his position by Goss, who resigned as CIA director on May 5.

In addition, a May 8 Newsweek article further reported that Foggo, according to an unnamed source, "had acknowledged to associates that he may have tipped off Wilkes that CIA contracts were coming up for bid -- an activity which, according to the source, Foggo said was neither improper nor illegal." The Newsweek article also noted that its "source is close to a group of poker players who took part in a 1999 game arranged by Wilkes and attended by Foggo, Cunningham and a nine-fingered former CIA officer named Brant Bassett, who worked for Goss when the outgoing CIA chief was House Intelligence Committee chair." Foggo has denied the allegation that he "tipped" off Wilkes, according to Newsweek. An April 28 San Diego Union-Tribune article reported that "[p]eople who were present at the games said" that Foggo was "one of the regular players" and that he "occasionally hosted the poker parties at his house in northern Virginia."

The CIA IG's investigation is "ongoing," according to a May 9 Washington Post report.

From the May 8 broadcast of the CBS Evening News, with anchor Bob Schieffer:

SCHIEFFER: Let me go to one other thing, Jim. Apparently, the president's announcement has overshadowed the fact that there is another top CIA official also resigning. Tell us a little about that.

STEWART: That's right, Bob, the exodus has begun. The CIA's number-three man, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, resigned today. Now, Foggo had been somewhat linked to a contract scandal in Congress, but people say that is not the reason he left. He simply decided that with his boss gone, it was time for him to leave as well -- Bob.

SCHIEFFER: OK. Well, thank you.

Posted In
Government, Ethics
Network/Outlet
CBS
Show/Publication
CBS Evening News
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