Foggo Leaving CIA Amid Investigation

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Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the CIA's departing No. 3 official, is caught in a corruption probe involving government contracts. New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti discusses the case with Scott Simon.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

On Friday federal investigators searched the office and Virginia home of the CIA's third-ranking official. Kyle Dusty Foggo had been the executive director of the agency but stepped down from that post earlier this week. The government search of his property is reportedly part of the same federal investigation that felled Republican Congressman Randy Duke Cunningham of San Diego. Mr. Cunningham is now serving an eight year prison term on corruption charges. Mark Mazzetti is following the story for the New York Times and joins us in our studio. Thanks so much for being with us.

Mr. MARK MAZZETTI (Reporter, New York Times): Thanks for having me.

SIMON: And what makes Mr. Foggo the target of a federal investigation?

Mr. MAZZETTI: Well, federal authorities are looking into Mr. Foggo's connection with Brent Wilkes, who is a defense contractor based in California.

SIMON: High school buddy.

Mr. MAZZETTI: They were high school buddies. And Mr. Wilkes has been named as a co-conspirator in the Duke Cunningham investigation. So what they're looking into is, we think there could be more than this, but they're looking at a contract that Mr. Foggo gave to a company run by an associate, or actually a relative, of Mr. Wilkes, when Mr. Foggo was working at a CIA station in Europe. So it's really, it's a question of government corruption and contract fraud.

SIMON: Now, these are contracts that should have gone for competitive bidding, would be the argument?

Mr. MAZZETTI: Yeah. I mean, when you're dealing with the CIA, they always do things a little bit differently and ...

SIMON: And competitive bidding would be...

Mr. MAZZETTI: Yeah. There is a lot of leeway that these people have to issue these contracts. Mr. Foggo was running a Frankfort station, which was controlling basically all CIA operations in the Middle East and Africa. So, and there's a lot of money going through the station. So he would have had a fair amount of leeway. But there is still guidelines and there's still regulations about giving contracts.

SIMON: I have to ask you about the poker parties. That's what everybody's talking about, poker parties and the allegation has been that they weren't just poker parties, if you catch my drift.

Mr. MAZZETTI: That there was more than just cards being played. There is, one side part of this whole story is parties that were, that went on at the Watergate Hotel in Washington that were hosted by Mr. Wilkes and that were frequented by several Congressmen, including Duke Cunningham, Mr. Foggo was there. There is a retired CIA officer named Brett Nine Fingers Bassett, who was occasionally at the parties. So a lot of it...

SIMON: His mother didn't name him Nine Fingers.

Mr. MAZZETTI: No, no. There is also rumor that he has a prosthetic tenth finger, but we haven't confirmed that yet. But yes, it's a, a lot of this is sort of out of a Le Carre novel.

SIMON: Is there any discernible or established link between Mr. Foggo's departure and the resignation of Porter Goss as head of the CIA?

Mr. MAZZETTI: CIA officials say that there's absolutely no link whatsoever, that Mr. Goss had asked Mr. Foggo before Mr. Goss himself had to step down, asked Mr. Foggo to leave the agency because he'd become an embarrassment. There certainly were enough other issues that White House officials had with Porter Goss in his tenure that pushed Mr. Goss out. So right now we haven't seen that there's a real direct link.

SIMON: Now, we should note, former Texas Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson acknowledges that he was at some of these parties, we'll call them parties, and he says the only law they violated was, they did smoke cigars in a non-smoking floor.

Mr. MAZZETTI: That's right. He said that the parties he went to, he went to two of these poker games, he said, and there was plenty of scotch and cigars and good food, but it was strictly poker.

SIMON: And this investigation will get larger, one assumes?

Mr. MAZZETTI: Well, it certainly looks that way. It started out with, you know, Duke Cunningham, but it seems to be expanding to other members of the House Appropriations Committee and yesterday we saw the former number three official at the CIA get his house and office raided, so it seems to be getting bigger.

SIMON: Mark Mazzetti with The New York Times, thanks very much for being with us this morning.

Mr. MAZZETTI: Thank you.

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