FBI investigates a top CIA official on contract matter
Issue may be tied to executive linked to bribery inquiry
WASHINGTON -- The FBI is investigating whether the third-ranking official at the CIA had improperly intervened in the award of contracts to a business executive who has been implicated in a congressional bribery scandal, a law enforcement official said yesterday.
The CIA's executive director, Kyle ''Dusty" Foggo, was under investigation by the agency's inspector general in connection with his relationship to a San Diego businessman, Brent Wilkes.
The FBI recently opened its own inquiry into Foggo, a longtime and close friend of Wilkes, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is underway.
Foggo has decided to retire from the CIA after the resignation last Friday of the CIA director, Porter J. Goss, an intelligence official said yesterday, also speaking on condition of anonymity. The official said that new CIA directors have chosen their own executive directors, who run the agency's day-to-day operations.
Last week, the CIA released a statement in which Foggo denied any improprieties. ''Mr. Foggo maintains that government contracts for which he was responsible were properly awarded and administered," the agency said.
Wilkes has been described in court papers as an unindicted coconspirator in a plot to bribe Representative Randy ''Duke" Cunningham, who is now serving a federal prison term after he was convicted of taking $2.4 million from government contractors.
FBI agents also have been looking into whether Wilkes supplied Cunningham with prostitutes, limousines, and hotel suites. Foggo sometimes attended poker parties at the hotel rooms, but he said there was nothing untoward.
''If he attended occasional card games with friends over the years, Mr. Foggo insists they were that and nothing more," the CIA statement said.
Wilkes's lawyer, Michael Lipman, did not immediately respond to messages left yesterday.
But he has said that Wilkes denied the allegations of prostitution, which were raised by a second defense contractor who has pleaded guilty in the case.
In addition, legislators raised questions yesterday about Department of Homeland Security contracts to Shirlington Limousine and Transportation Inc., the Arlington, Va., company that is at the center of the prostitution investigation.
A company lawyer, Michael York said in an interview last week that the company and its president, Christopher Baker, are cooperating with the federal investigation, but he denied any company involvement in improper or illegal activities. York did not immediately return a call requesting comment yesterday.
Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee sent a letter yesterday to the department's inspector general, questioning whether Shirlington Limousine was qualified to get the two contracts it had been awarded by the department, one for $3.8 million in April 2004 and another for as much as $21 million over five years in October 2005.
The committee plans to discuss the contract at a May 18 hearing on contracts, hiring processes, and security clearances.
''The information we've obtained raises . . . questions, from the contracting process to possible security concerns," said Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Alabama, chairman of the subcommittee on management, integration, and oversight.
''The appearance of a lack of background checks on contractors is another troubling personnel issue" at the Department of Homeland Security, he said.
A spokesman for the department, Larry Orluskie, said the more recent contract with Shirlington Limousine, which is a $21.2 million pay-on-performance agreement of up to five years, is ''performing exactly as expected."
Orluskie said the contract calls for 12 minibuses and 16 drivers to shuttle Department of Homeland Security employees between the department's various offices in the Washington area.
It also provides 10 additional drivers to chauffeur department executive staff members in sedans owned by the Department of Homeland Security.