Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Now, here's a question to consider. Is it just a coincidence that the FBI raided Dusty Foggo's home and office, like, three or four days after he announced he was stepping down? And if not, did Foggo really step down because of Goss's departure? Or maybe does the line of causation run the other way?

John Roberts just read a CIA statement live on CNN. It seems these raids were joint raids by the FBI and the CIA's office of inspector general. (The phrase was "an on-going joint investigation.") I think that makes sense given that I'd imagine the CIA keeps pretty tight security over the ED's office. So I wouldn't figure the FBI agents can just drive up to Langley and start banging on the front door.

CNN is now reporting that not only was Dusty Foggo's home raided this morning but apparently his CIA office too. (AP has the confirm on the office search.)

I guess that gives a whole new meaning to FBI-CIA turf war.

And does John Roberts need a primer on this case. (ed.note: See the late update below. This passage was based on a mishearing of what Roberts said.) It's true that there's no proof that Porter Goss is tied to the Cunningham scandal. But no connection between Foggo and the Cunningham case? John?

Here's Roberts quote ...

It would appear that if there is no direct connection between Goss, Foggo, and the Duke Cunningham case, or even between Foggo and the Duke Cunningham case because nobody's sure yet, it would seem that the thing Goss could be vulnerable on is whether or not people that he picked for high places in the agency were somehow bringing disrespect or disrepute to the CIA.

I'm not trying to give Roberts a hard time. And things get said quickly when you're reporting a breaking news story. But, to the extent that we can ever know these things, I really don't think there's any question that the Foggo and Duke Cunningham cases are connected.

Late Update: Let me add one point here. When I did the original call out of John Roberts (above), I was going on what we initially heard over the air on CNN. Given the way it was said, we didn't at first catch the "if" in the first clause. That made it sound like Roberts was giving Foggo a clean bill of health with respect to the connection to Cunningham. With the "if", what he said reads very differently. What I said still stands about there really not being any question of Foggo's connection to the Cunningham case. But if we'd heard the quote correctly the first time, I would have written this post differently. And I wouldn't have zinged Roberts as I did.

If Dusty Foggo's house getting raided doesn't catch your fancy, Tony Snow did his first gaggle this morning. Here it is.

Okay, here's a Friday scandal trivia topic. What are the ten most important articles written on the Cunningham-Wilkes-Foggo investigation?

Just off hand, I'd figure ...

1. Marcus Stern's piece breaking the story. "Lawmaker's Home Sale Questioned," SDUT, June 23th, 2005.

2. Jerry Kammer's piece on the Jerry Lewis-Bill Lowery Nexus. "A Steady Flow of Financial Influence," SDUT, December 23rd, 2005.

3. Dean Calbreath's and Jerry Kammer's piece on Wilkes's apprenticeship in scamdom and his ties to Foggo. "Contractor 'Knew How to Grease the Wheels'", SDUT, December 4th, 2005.

4. Scot Paltrow's piece in the Wall Street Journal openning up the hookergate/CIA part of the story. "Prosecutors May Widen Congressional-Bribe Case," WSJ, April 27th, 2006.

This list isn't meant to be exhaustive or even in any particular order. For instance, I don't have any selections from the North County Times, which has also done amazing work on this story. These are just a few key pieces that came to mind.

But let's come up with the rest. Top ten stories on the Cunningham bribery investigation. And, let's not forget: some of the best are probably yet to be written.

Knocking around Michelle Malkin is pretty much a staple of the liberal blogosphere. But to date I've always just tried to ignore Michelle and so far I've never partaken.

But I noticed this column of hers this evening in which she tries to wrap the hookergate mess in with the immigration hysteria into a big knock of government bureaucracy. No, I couldn't follow it either.

But this paragraph stood out ...

Ironically and amusingly enough, Democrats -- those always reliable, pro-affirmative action zealots -- are crying foul over Shirlington Limo's minority preferential treatment and raising questions about the company being used as a minority-owned front in a "historically underutilized business zone." Glad they are finally on board with those of us who have long raised questions about the government's small-business diversity scam. These racial and ethnic bean-counting programs are among the most corrupt government vehicles in the bureaucracy -- and in post-September 11 America, the most potentially dangerous to boot.

No, Michelle. I don't think I've seen anyone say the problem with Shirlington was minority set-asides. (Earlier she references, TPMmuckraker, Harper's and Pogo. So I think she's referring to us.) The issue raised is that Shirlington is owned by a convicted felon, who was in personal bankruptcy at the time DHS awarded him his big contract, has a long history of vehicle repossessions and poor service and if all that weren't enough didn't even make the lowest bid.

Not everyone agrees but I think minority set-aside programs can actually play a benign role in righting historic wrongs and encouraging entrepreneurship in minority communities. But things can just sort of go wrong when corrupt political appointees turn government contracts and taxpayer dollars into pay off money for the guy the corrupt pols got to drive around their hookers.

It's a distinction some conservatives don't seem quite able to grasp.

It's not just Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) who's in the cross-hairs of the expanded Cunningham investigation. The Times says it's "several members of the House Appropriations Committee."

Not surprisingly, Bill Lowery, Brent Wilkes' mentor and Rep. Lewis's right-hand-man, appears to be the nexus of concern.

My favorite passage from the article? This one ...

The government officials said that investigators had not found records documenting contract awards that might have been influenced by individual lawmakers. Moreover, they said practices that appeared to be improper might prove to be allowable under Congressional procedures.

In other words, some instances of apparent bribery might not be a problem since congressional procedures say it's okay.

David Ignatius has a good column in the Post tomorrow about Dusty Foggo, Patrick Murray and the mix of ineptitude, paybackism and mismanagement that did vast damage to the CIA under Porter Goss's leadership. Ignatius views Foggo's alleged corruption as a secondary part of the story. In that I suspect he's mistaken, that we'll come to see it was integrally connected to his other forms of ridiculousness. But the stuff he describes is bad enough. Give this one a read and absorb what it means about what's been occupying the time of our intelligence agencies while we're supposedly fighting a war on terror.

The Times also has a good run-down of Foggo's increasing centrality to the expanded Cunningham investigation and a slew of new details fleshing out various aspects of the story.

The Times also came up with a new name for TPMmuckraker. They're calling it 'the Internet.' See below ...

Mr. Foggo was one of many C.I.A. officials close to Mr. Wilkes. In May 2000, Mr. Wilkes paid Brant G. Bassett, a retired German-speaking C.I.A. official known as Nine Fingers, a $5,000 fee to travel to Germany for five days as a consultant on a business deal that Mr. Wilkes was negotiating with a German software engineer, according to a former agency official aware of the arrangement. The official was granted anonymity to speak about the business deal.

Documents revealing the $5,000 payment to Mr. Bassett from Mr. Wilkes first appeared on the Internet on Tuesday.
Here's the story. Here are the documents.

The Post was more specific.

This line, packed a decent way down into the article in the Washington Post, jumped out at me as the most significant ...

Government access to call records is related to the previously disclosed eavesdropping program, sources said, because it helps the NSA choose its targets for listening.

This seems key.

This isn't yet another program with civil liberties concerns hanging around it. It's an integral part of one program. This is the initial cull, from which targets of interest -- that wouldn't be able to meet 'probable cause' standards -- are chosen for actual monitoring.