Top CIA official scrutinized

March 04, 2006|By GREG MILLER | GREG MILLER,LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON -- The CIA inspector general has launched an investigation of the agency's No. 3 officer and his ties to a defense contractor accused of seeking to bribe former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials.

The probe is the first sign that the inquiry surrounding the disgraced San Diego Republican could spread beyond Pentagon contracts to the upper ranks of the CIA. Cunningham, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges late last year, was sentenced yesterday to eight years and four months in prison.

The CIA inspector general's investigation is focused on the agency's executive director, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo. Before his promotion late 2004, Foggo served as a senior procurement officer for the CIA in Frankfurt, Germany, where he was in position to oversee contracts for supplies distributed to agency operatives in Iraq and elsewhere.

A spokesman for the CIA, Paul Gimigliano, said: "It is standard practice for CIA's Office of Inspector General -- an aggressive, independent watchdog -- to look into assertions that mention agency officers. That should in no way be seen as lending credibility to any allegation."

Foggo has ties to San Diego businessman Brent Wilkes, a key figure in the Cunningham criminal bribery probe. Wilkes has been identified by lawyers involved in the investigation as "co-conspirator No. 1" in the scheme to bribe Cunningham for lucrative defense contracts.

Foggo and Wilkes have been close friends since they were classmates at Hilltop High School in San Diego in the early 1970s, according to reports in The San Diego Union-Tribune. Foggo was not available for comment.

Wilkes has not been charged with a crime. But government documents allege that co-conspirator No. 1 agreed to give more than $525,000 to Cunningham for assistance in securing lucrative federal contracts. Wilkes-run companies have won tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts in recent years.

Gimigliano, the CIA spokesman, declined to comment on whether Wilkes' companies had also won contracts with the agency, citing the inspector general review. But Gimigliano, in a written statement, said, "Mr. Foggo has overseen many contracts in his decades of public service. He reaffirms that they were properly awarded and administered."

Greg Miller writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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