John Bresnahan has a very important piece behind the firewall at Roll Call today, both because of the story itself and because of much more it points to.
The story is about our friend Brent Wilkes -- Duke Cunningham's core contracting crook. And the question is just when Pentagon officials knew he was dirty. Remember, authorities swooped in very quickly on the Cunningham case and managed to have him indicted and out of Congress only a few months after the crooked house story first broke. That was pretty quick.
Now Bresnahan reveals that as far back as 2000 the Defense Criminal Investigative Service was investigating Wilkes. In fact, they went so far as to conclude he had probably committed a crime and referred his case to the Justice Department for prosecution.
The US Attorney in San Diego declined to pursue the case. Why, we don't know.
Now, there are a couple different issues in play here. On the one hand, obviously if they had tagged Wilkes back in 2000 the taxpayers would have saved a lot of money and we would have avoided one of the biggest corruption scandals in years. But I suspect there may be more in play here.
People in the defense and intel world knew Brent Wilkes was dirty. But in the years since 2000 he just went from success to success, bagging millions on dollars in contracts. Keep an eye an out for the possibility that Wilkes may not have been getting a lot of these edgy spook contracts in spite of the fact that he was dirty, but because of it.