CIA or IOU?

From Pro Publica:

A judge wrapped up one of the most sordid and sprawling congressional scandals in American history Thursday when he sentenced Kyle “Dusty” Dustin Foggo, formerly the No. 3 official at the CIA, to just over three years in federal prison for defrauding the government.

Foggo is one of eight people who have pleaded guilty or been convicted — and now sentenced — in a scandal that emanated from the bribery spree of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who has the distinction of being the most corrupt congressman ever caught, at least in terms of the amount of bribes he admitted to taking –- more than $2.4 million.

dustystrail2
Original DVD cover.

The final sparring in the courtroom on the 10th floor of the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., was a fitting close to the earmarking scandal, one in which phony military intelligence contracts were traded by a congressman who has always portrayed himself as a chest-beating patriot and fiscal conservative. In exchange for wasteful defense contracts, Cunningham got cash, yachts, Persian rugs, French antiques and trysts with prostitutes.

Foggo’s case was not about earmarks. He pleaded guilty to one count of defrauding the government by using his senior positions at the CIA to steer agency contracts and funds to his boyhood friend, defense contractor Brent Wilkes. In exchange, Wilkes showered Foggo with pricey dinners and lavish vacations well beyond Foggo’s means. He also promised Foggo a job when he retired from the CIA.

Prosecutors wanted Foggo to serve 37 months behind bars for his crimes.

His attorneys argued for probation instead of jail time. The sticking point for the prosecutors, represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Forge, was whether Foggo had truly accepted full responsibility for his criminal actions. They were particularly incensed that Foggo continued to describe himself as a patriot.

…snip…

Questions of patriotism and hypocrisy might be what separate the co-conspirators who ran with Cunningham and the rival earmarking posse led by convicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The Abramoff scandal involved lawyers, lawmakers and lobbyists who made no pretense of being in it for anything other than cash, perks and favors. But the four men at the heart of the Cunningham scandal — Duke, Foggo, Wilkes and defense contractor Mitchell Wade — wrapped themselves in the flag as they pursued their agenda of avarice and carnal pleasure. They proclaimed themselves patriots while systemically bilking the military intelligence budget year after year.

…snip…

Foggo […] stood before U.S. District Court Judge James C. Cacheris on Thursday, with his wife and two teenage children sitting morosely in the courtroom. He took full responsibility, he said, yet he refused to elaborate. He characterized his guilty plea as a personal sacrifice undertaken to spare the government the cost of a trial that might have resulted in national secrets being exposed.

…snip…

Forge argued that Foggo’s acceptance of responsibility was too vague to warrant having his sentence reduced. Foggo needed to explicitly admit that he had used his senior posts at the CIA to corrupt several CIA contracts, Forge said. Foggo needed to admit that he had betrayed his CIA comrades through his crimes rather than saying he had sacrificed for them by accepting the prosecutor’s plea agreement. And he needed to admit to bullying CIA officials into hiring his mistress, and then forcing her supervisor out of the agency after the supervisor criticized the mistress’ work.

Neither Foggo nor his family flinched as Forge said Foggo had abused his supervisory authority “all for the selfish pleasure of having your mistress close at hand.”

Cacheris accepted the prosecutors’ recommendation of 37 months behind bars, followed by two years of supervised release. A date will be set for Foggo’s surrender.

Others in the cast of characters:

Pleaded Guilty:

Thomas Kontogiannis, who served as a money launderer for Cunningham and the contractors who bribed him: Eight years and one month in prison and a $1.05 million fine.

Mitchell Wade, founder of the defense firm MZM Inc. and responsible for the lion’s share of the bribes Cunningham admitted receiving. Wade was the primary cooperator with the government and had his sentence reduced accordingly. Two and a half years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

John T. Michael, Kontogiannis’ nephew and the person who actually handled the money laundering under instructions from his uncle: Five years probation and a $100,000 fine.

Robert Fromm, an Army contract official who went to work at MZM and influenced former subordinates to help MZM get and keep contracts through favorable reviews: One year of probation and fined $2,500.

Richard Berglund, an MZM employee who made illegal political contributions at the direction of Wade: One year of probation and fined $2,500.

Convicted:

Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor and boyhood friend of Foggo who fought the charges in court and was found guilty of 13 charges, including bribing a public official. His case is now under appeal: Sentenced to 12 years in jail followed by three years of supervision following his release. Ordered to pay $636,116 in forfeiture and $501,300 in fines.

12 Comments

Filed under CIA, Congress, Corruption, Duke Cunningham, humor, Jack Abramoff, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, Scandals, snark, television, Wordpress Political Blogs

12 responses to “CIA or IOU?

  1. When i hear about CIA it does not makes me feel good.

    • hello tanveer!
      welcome to the raisin! 😀

      hopefully, the cia, as well as all the other government agencies will go back to working for the people instead of screwing them out of it for their own benefit.

  2. Ram Venkatararam

    That’s just crazy. Some people have pretty remarkable nerve. And then to call yourself a “patriot.” Is that ego or denial or both?

    • ram,
      these guys don’t live in the same universe as we do. they’re like the bankers who have their very own “culture” in which they think they are entitled to whatever they can take. in our universe, we’re talking about paper clips and maybe a stapler that we grabbed off our desks at the office, but in their world, it’s millions of dollars in cash or in government contracts or yachts or hookers or whatevah.

  3. I read through this story and looked for Abramoff. Sure enough, he was mentioned, even if he didn’t have anything to do with *this* scandal.

    • for now, the abramoff scandal is the scandal that all other scandals are measured against. that will be true until one that’s even more extensive comes to light.

  4. I think maybe the CIA and FBI should both be scrapped for a year, then started all over with new leaders, who all agree to weekly polygraph tests.

    • karen,
      the sad thing is that i would bet that the vast majority of the fbi, cia, and all the other agencies are decent, hard-working people who have the best of intentions. it’s unfortunate that they are all judged by the shysters at the top. i think we really need to find out how the bastards make their way up there while the decent people don’t.

  5. Jenn/jlms qkw

    i can’t believe that some of abramoff’s former clients haven’t had him dealt with.

    i feel bad for the CIA employees who truly are patriots. there must still be a few of them here and there.

    • jenn,
      i bet old jack is very well protected.

      i bet that working in government agencies is very much like any other large company. most of the workers actually do their jobs, there are some slackers, and most of the bosses are assholes who don’t deserve their positions and take advantage at every opportunity.

    • the way i read the article you linked to, investigation is a bad thing. i disagree completely. when investigations are done for the right reasons–finding the truth and improving those things that didn’t work–they are a good thing. when they are done solely for the purpose of politicians getting face time on the news, it’s a bad thing. i think the present administration is serious about making government agencies work better, and i can only hope that congress has the same attitude.

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