"Best Friend Contract"
Ex-CIA official, contractor face new charges Pair face 30 fraud, corruption charges tied to Cunningham scandal Updated: 12:10 a.m. CT May 12, 2007 SAN DIEGO - New charges have been filed alleging that a former top CIA official pushed a proposed $100 million government contract for his best friend in return for lavish vacations, private jet flights and a lucrative job offer. The indictment, returned Thursday, replaces charges brought in February against Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, who resigned from the spy agency a year ago, and Poway-based defense contractor Brent Wilkes. The charges grew from the bribery scandal that landed former U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham in prison. The pair now face 30 wide-ranging counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. Allegedly gave contractor inside track According to the new indictment, Foggo provided Wilkes with “sensitive, internal information related to our national security,” including classified information, to help him prepare proposals for providing undercover flights for the CIA under the guise of a civil aviation company and armored vehicles for agency operations. Then, he pushed his CIA colleagues to hire Wilkes’ companies without disclosing their friendship, prosecutors allege. In a June 2005 e-mail to the head of CIA air operations quoted in the indictment, Foggo offered to “use some ’EXDIR grease”’ on Wilkes’ behalf. Foggo was the agency’s executive director at the time. Prosecutors say that in return, Wilkes offered to hire Foggo after he retired from government service. In the meantime, they say, he treated his friend to a Scottish golf trip during which they racked up a $44,000 hotel bill at the luxurious Pitcastle Estate. The initial indictment in February charged the pair with 11 counts of the same charges in connection with a $1.7 million water-supply contract Foggo allegedly helped win for one of Wilkes’ companies while he was working as a logistics coordinator at a CIA supply hub overseas. Both men have pleaded not guilty to those charges. They face arraignment on the new charges Monday. Charges stem from Cunningham probe Wilkes is charged in a separate indictment with conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and unlawful monetary transactions to Cunningham in return for government contracts. That indictment also was updated this week to include new charges against another defendant, Long Island mortgage banker John T. Michael, who was described as a co-conspirator in Cunningham’s 2005 plea agreement. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of obstructing justice but now faces additional counts of money laundering and unlawful monetary transactions in connection with wire transfers allegedly used to pay off the mortgage on Cunningham’s $2.5 million Rancho Santa Fe mansion. Calls seeking comment from attorneys for Foggo and Wilkes were not immediately returned Friday. Michael’s attorney, Howard Frank, said he had not read the indictment and had no comment. The initial charges came 20 months after the FBI opened an investigation into Cunningham, who served on key House committees with oversight of government contracts. He pleaded guilty in November 2005 to taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison. Foggo and Wilkes played high school football together, and after graduating in 1972, they roomed together at San Diego State University, were best men at each other’s weddings and named their sons after each other. Foggo, the former No. 3 official at the CIA, resigned from the spy agency after his house and office were raided by federal agents.