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Former High-Ranking CIA Official Imprisoned for Corruption

by Matt Clarke

When the CIA wanted to build secret prisons outside the United States where terrorism suspects could be tortured with impunity, it turned to Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, who ran the agency’s main European supply base in Frankfurt, Germany. That was in March 2003, and Foggo already had earned a reputation as the “go-to” guy when supplies were needed for the CIA’s rapidly-growing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Foggo immediately agreed to handle the project. He supervised the construction of three prisons, which were identical in design to disorient detainees as to their location and included such torture-friendly features as plywood-covered walls to cushion the impact when prisoners were slammed against them. The six-bed facilities were built at a remote Moroccan location; in Bucharest, Romania; and near an undisclosed former East bloc city. “It was too sensitive to be handled by [CIA] headquarters,” said Foggo. “I was proud to help my nation.”

Foggo also was apparently proud to help his lifelong friend, San Diego military contractor Brent R. Wilkes, make a profit off the deal. Wilkes’ business received a CIA logistics contract to supply the prisons with items such as plumbing, stereos, night vision goggles, bedding, toilets, video games, earplugs, bottled water and wrap-around sunglasses. Often these products were simply purchased at stores such as Wal-Mart and flown overseas. Torture devices, such as water-boards, were made from materials procured locally.

The CIA was so pleased with Foggo that it promoted him to its third-highest office, executive director, the administrator over day-to-day operations. The promotion – equated by some to putting a sergeant in charge of a regiment – ruffled the feathers of other CIA officials who had been in line for the position. They initiated an investigation of Foggo that uncovered evidence of corruption.

Technically, Foggo was not accused of wrongdoing in regard to the construction of the secret prisons. Rather, he was charged with fraud for steering a $1.7 million CIA supply contract to Wilkes-connected Archer Logistics, which overbilled the agency. In exchange for the contract Wilkes took Foggo on a $30,000 luxury vacation to Hawaii, bought him dinner at expensive restaurants and promised him a high-paying job when he retired. Prosecutors also claimed that Foggo had tried to get his mistress hired by the CIA even though she was unqualified.

Foggo and Wilkes were indicted in February 2007; additional charges were included in a superseding indictment three months later. Foggo, 55, pleaded guilty to fraud in September 2008. He was sentenced to 37 months in prison on February 26, 2009 and is presently housed at a federal facility in Kentucky. As part of the plea agreement, Foggo admitted that he steered contracts to Wilkes “through direct and indirect means.” See: United States v. Foggo, U.S.D.C. (S.D. Cal.), Case No. 3:07-cr-00329.

From prison, Foggo has claimed that he was unfairly prosecuted and that he pleaded guilty only to prevent national security secrets from being exposed at trial. The CIA refused to let Foggo’s attorney review the agency’s files related to the secret overseas prisons, citing national security concerns.

Wilkes was convicted of 13 felonies for bribing former California Congressman Randall “Duke” Cunningham in ex-change for Department of Defense contracts, and received a 12-year sentence. He has maintained his innocence of the CIA-related fraud charge and was released on bond pending an appeal. Rep. Cunningham had previously pleaded guilty to corruption charges, including accepting $2.4 million in bribes from Wilkes and other military contractors, and is serving a 100-month federal prison sentence.

Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, USA Today

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