There's a lot of speculation now about what might have spooked the White House about Carol Lam's expanded Cunningham investigation, if indeed that is why she was sacked. There's good reason to look at what she was investigating on Capitol Hill and also at the CIA. Indeed, some have even suggested
that the White House might itself have been brought into the mix. The Hill and the CIA certainly. But there's another part of the equation others are missing: the Pentagon.
Remember, part of the brilliance of Cunningham's and Wilkes' scam (if that word can ever be associated with the disgraced Duke) was hiding their crooked deals deep in the black parts of the Pentagon budget, where thick layers of classification protected their schemes from virtually all scrutiny.
My reporting on the Duke Cunningham story from last year suggested that top political appointees at the Pentagon were aware of what Duke and other members of Congress were up to but looked the other way in return for help
and/or non-interference with various Pentagon programs of dubious constitutionality, like domestic spying operations and monitoring.
Next up, whatever happened to Tommy Kontogiannis
? He's one of the four bribers of Duke Cunningham, according to Duke plea agreement (coconspirator #3). Whatever else you can say about Cunningham, Wade and Wilkes, they each had clean records before they got busted in the Duke scandal. Not Kontogiannis. He pled out in a 2002 bid-rigging scheme that had to do with computers contracts for the Queens, New York school district. And back in 1994 he pled guilty in a visa fraud case after he and an employee of the US Embassy in Athens were arrested for taking bribes to provide phony US visas.
Out of the four named coconspirators in the case (one of whom is Kontogiannis's nephew, John T. Michael), Kontogiannis is the only one who hasn't been indicted. Nor, according to my reporting, does any plea deal or indictment appear to be in the works. What's that about?