Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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Earlier today I mentioned the report that the CIA Inspector General has opened an investigation into Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the Executive Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. As we noted, the investigation stems from Foggo's lifelong friendship and close professional association with Brent Wilkes, the biggest fraudster at the heart of the Duke Cunningham.

Here's the key point to keep in mind here -- here and in the rest of the investigations the Cunningham case is likely to spawn. These guys were smart (Wilkes and his protege Mitchell Wade). They ran these scams in the 'black' parts of the Pentagon budget and in intelligence procurement. The 'black' stuff is top secret. Not only is it hidden from the public and all forms of public disclosure; it's not scrutinized very closely or even allowed to be seen by very many people on Capitol Hill.

There are reasons for having top secret programs in the defense and intel sphere. But it's an invitation for corruption, because few of the checks on corruption are in place. Rivers of money can just disappear. Doing his dirty work in the top secret parts of the budget was Brent Wilkes' racket. He taught it to Mitch Wade. The fact that he was tight with the #3 guy at CIA who came out of the Agency's procurement bureaucracy raises all sorts of red flags. As well it should.

Close down the Agency and just go with INR?

Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy has a great post here about another case where US policymakers (Condi Rice) said a political outcome abroad -- (Hamas' election victory in the Palestinian Authority) couldn't have been predicted when in fact their own intelligence experts did predict it.

"I don't know anyone who wasn't caught off guard by Hamas' strong showing," Condi said after Hamas won the Palestinian elections. But INR -- the State Department's in-house intel shop -- more or less predicted the result.

Split decision: ex-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) gets 8 years 4 months for accepting bribes and public corruption of various sorts.

Federal prosecutors had asked for the maximum sentence of ten years, citing Cunningham's corruption which they argued was unprecedented in its scope and brazenness.

Defense attorneys asked for six years.

According to the AP, it is the longest sentence ever meted out to a member of Congress.

See federal prosecutors sentencing memorandum here.

See the highlights of the memorandum here.

See the crack piece of enterprise reporting by the San Diego Union-Tribune's Marcus Stern, published on June 12th, 2005, which started Duke's vast skein of unbridled corruption unraveling.

See the TPM archive of Randy "Duke" Cunningham reportage-cum-snark here.

Like ink on a paper towel, the stain spreads.

Arch-Cunningham-fraudster Brent Wilkes was tight with the #3 guy at the CIA, Executive Director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo.

Now the CIA Inspector General has opened an investigation into Foggo. Before DCI Porter Goss appointed Foggo #3 at the Agency, Foggo was a "a mid-level procurement supervisor."

So, Foggo's line of work was contracting, procurement, buying stuff for the Agency. Wilkes' line of work was coming up with shoddy products and then corrupting members of Congress and procurement officials to buy his crap.

Hard to imagine why they might want to scrutinize his lifelong personal and professional ties to Brent Wilkes, right?

Peter, Paul & Mary's Peter Yarrow speaks up for clemency for Duke Cunningham in his sentencing today. Apparently they met five years ago and became friends, reaching across the Vietnam-era divide. A weird nugget. But life is weird. Check it out: It's sort of endearing.

TPM Reader DB gives Katherine Harris her due ...

Say what you will about Katherine Harris, but she certainly turned out to be a quick study, don't you think? Only a couple of terms and right in the thick of things!

Good point. But fish to water and all.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for Katherine Harris. That and other news of the day in today's Daily Muck.