A former top CIA official steered an aviation contracting opportunity worth $132 million to a longtime friend, despite his friend's lack of experience in the field, according to federal prosecutors.
Onetime CIA Executive Director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo directed CIA employees to hire his childhood pal, Brent Wilkes, to provide covert civilian air travel for the agency, charge prosecutors in a new indictment.
The indictment is an offshoot of the investigation into former congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham, who is now serving an eight-year sentence on corruption charges. Cunningham named Wilkes as one of his bribers in a November 2005 plea deal.
Prosecutors say Wilkes plied Cunningham with over $700,000 in gifts and cash to win favors from the lawmaker, including earmarking federal funding, intimidating Pentagon officials, and intervening in the immigration process for a foreign business partner.
Prosecutors faulted Foggo for pushing Wilkes to get the aviation contract even though he "had no prior experience in aviation." Wilkes did have some experience: one of his companies, Group W Transportation, owned a 1/8-share of a Lear Jet, which he used to fly himself and lawmakers, including Cunningham and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, around the United States.
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Foggo helped Wilkes with other opportunities, according to the new filings. He pushed CIA employees to sign deals worth millions with Wilkes-controlled businesses to supply armored vehicles, lease secure top-secret facilities and even provide bottled water for the clandestine service, prosecutors allege. Foggo, who ran day-to-day operations for the CIA, even gave Wilkes sensitive national security-related information in an effort to help him win business with the agency, according to the documents.
Prosecutors quoted from emails to illustrate the men's close working relationship. When Wilkes and Foggo encountered a roadblock, Foggo offered to apply "grease" to get a speedy resolution, according to e-mails quoted by prosecutors. Another time, Wilkes wrote an employee to say Foggo had vowed to "sprinkle some magic dust" to solve a problem.
The two were also close personal friends - college roommates, best men at each other's weddings, and named their sons after each other. Wilkes kept an empty executive office at his company's San Diego headquarters for Foggo to use once he resigned the CIA and joined the company, ADCS. In the new filing, prosecutors allege Wilkes named Foggo a trustee for his family trust, if he and his wife were to die.
The indictments were released by the San Diego, Calif. U.S. Attorney's office Friday evening. The documents supersede earlier indictments issued Feb. 13, just two days before former San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol Lam left, after being terminated by the Bush administration.
The two men now face 30 charges of fraud, bribery and money laundering, and are scheduled for an arraignment on the new charges Monday. Mark MacDougall, a lawyer for Foggo, told ABC News he could not comment at this time. Wilkes lawyer Mark Geragos did not respond to requests for comment on the new indictments. Wilkes and Foggo had pleaded not guilty to earlier charges stemming from the probe.
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