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Indictments came down today from the U.S. Attorney for San Diego for Dusty Foggo and Brent Wilkes on counts of conspiracy, honest services wire fraud, and money laundering.

We'll have a copy of the indictment up for you in a moment.

Update: The AP reports:

The CIA’s former No. 3 official and a defense contractor were charged Tuesday with fraud and other offenses in the corruption investigation that sent former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham to prison.

The indictment named Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, executive director of the CIA until he resigned in May, and his close friend, San Diego defense contractor Brent Wilkes, both 52, according to two government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because grand jury proceedings are secret.

In a separate indictment, Wilkes was charged with conspiring to bribe Cunningham in return for government contracts. A man who was described as a co-conspirator in Cunningham’s 2005 plea agreement, John T. Michael, was also charged.


Update: Here's the indictment.

How sharper than a serpent's tooth, the loss of message discipline.

One of the things we've been highlighting since Sunday's briefing on Iranian meddling in Iraq is the reliance on innuendo instead of fact. Remember that Bush administration had delayed the briefing out of fear of overstating its case and calling attention to its past history of inaccurate statements about intelligence.

As a result, the administration relied on anonymous military officials to present Iranian-made weapons, but relied on a chain of inferences to make the case that "the highest levels of the Iranian government" were involved. So the problem is a lack of clarity as to the actual significance of what was presented. Hence Gen. Peter Pace's agnosticism.

Today in his briefing, Tony Snow saw the wages of all that.

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A number of TPM readers have been wanting to know: what's up with the fact that the Iranian weapons on display in Sunday's briefing have English markings on them? Isn't that fishy?



No, says John Pike of globalsecurity.org. "If they had Farsi markings on them, how would (the Iranians) sell them internationally?" English, after all, is "the lingua franca of the international arms trade."

In other words, there may be 99 problems with allegations of Iranian-directed attacks on U.S. forces, but English markings ain't one.

At 12:15 PM Pacific time, U.S. Attorney Carol Lam will hold a press conference on a "criminal matter," according to a press release.

She's expected to announce the indictment of Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the former #3 at the CIA, and Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor accused of bribing Duke Cunningham and the prime benefactor of the secret CIA contracts that have landed his best buddy Foggo in trouble.

But there's some added drama in that Lam will holding the presser, since she is one of the seven federal prosecutors forced out by the administration in December. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that she'd ordered her staff to have Wilkes and Foggo indicted before her last day -- this Thursday.

To buffer the defense's case that Scooter Libby just forgot the details of how Valerie Wilson's name was leaked, they've marshaled the testimony of John Hannah, currently Vice President Cheney's national security advisor:

John Hannah, who served as Libby's deputy in 2003 and 2004, described a workday that began with a highly classified CIA briefing and continued at breakneck speed from one top-level meeting to the next....

"On certain things, Scooter just had an awful memory," Hannah said.

He described briefing Libby on policy decisions and strategies in the morning, only to have Libby excitedly repeat them back to him that evening as if they were new.

"That's Scooter," Hannah said.

Washington Executive Skirts Lobbying Regulations He’s a lobbyist’s lobbyist – a Washington insider whose central concern in past months has been poking holes in the Democratic Congress’ efforts to curtail the influence of lobbying in the capital. And by running a long campaign that successfully eased travel restriction in the new legislation, American Society of Association Executives president John H. Graham IV has been able to do just that. (The Washington Post)

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From Sean McCormack's State Department briefing yesterday:

QUESTION: I mean, Sean, sort of a follow-up on all these questions. In a general sense, the big (inaudible) at the moment we've seen, you know, cover of Newsweek, cover of Economist saying Iran could be next, a lot of speculation about military action. Can you give me any reaction to that?

MR. MCCORMACK: It seems to be the news media that is whipping up that storyline, not us....

...President Bush has made it very clear that we, as has Secretary Gates -- Secretary of Defense Gates has made it very clear that while we don't take option -- no President takes options off the table, our force protection actions are focused on activities inside of Iraq. We have no plans to attack Iran.

So I'll put it to you that it might be -- you might look amongst yourselves and your colleagues within the journalistic community in terms of people who are whipping this up. It's certainly not the U.S. Government.


McCormick is right, of course. It was the media that issued an order for the U.S. military to attack Iranian assets in Iraq; the media that's been raiding Iranian offices in Iraq; and the media that's deploying additional naval carrier groups to the Persian Gulf. How could anyone think otherwise?

As if on cue to play the ranting villain after Sunday's briefing on Iran's supply of weapons to Iraq, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared on "Good Morning America" to stubbornly say nothing of substance to Diane Sawyer. He did, however, say that you shouldn't take it personally when he and his coterie say "Death To America":

Well, our position is clear: We are opposed to any proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons. We believe that the time is now over for nuke weapons. It is a time for logic, for rationality and for civilization. Instead of thinking of finding new weapons, we are trying to find new ways to love people. And if talking about the "Death to America" slogans, I think you know it yourself, it is not related in any way to American public. Our people have no problem with American public, and we have a very friendly relationship.


Death To America: the new love movement.

Let us meditate on the words "performance related."

Before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty explained that six of the seven federal prosecutors who were suddenly dismissed last December were axed for "performance related" issues.

Today, McClatchy reports that of those six, five of them "received positive job evaluations before they were ordered to step down." But there's an explanation:

A Justice Department official who spoke on behalf of the administration said the dispute might simply be a matter of "semantics."

"Performance-related can mean many things," said the official, who asked to remain anonymous because the Privacy Act bars officials from discussing personnel decisions. "Policy is set at a national level. Individual U.S. attorneys around the country can't just make up their policy agenda."


So "performance-related" doesn't necessarily mean that the prosecutors performed badly -- it's just a coded way of saying they were not sufficiently lockstep with policy at the "national level" (although a number of them got no explanation for their dismissal).

And who sets policy at the national level? Well, according to The Washington Post, it's not the Department of Justice:

One administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in discussing personnel issues, said the spate of firings was the result of "pressure from people who make personnel decisions outside of Justice who wanted to make some things happen in these places."


Unfortunately for the administration, this story just keeps on going. Tomorrow the Senate Judiciary Committee will be briefed again by McNulty behind closed doors, where he'll present the job evaluations.

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