ProPublica’s Marcus Stern has unearthed a trove of documents filed in the case against Kyle “Dusty” Foggo.
For those of you who don’t know, Foggo is the former No.3 man at the CIA who has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday for steering agency contracts to his childhood friend, Brent Wilkes.
Reading the documents about this lothario of a man with a nasty temper, I came away with the same impression as one of Foggo’s former bosses at the spy agency who stated that he was “flabbergasted” when then-CIA director Porter Goss tapped Foggo in November 2004 as his executive director.
“I found Director Goss’s selection to be quite revealing, that Mr. Goss would be taken in by a ‘con man’ like Mr. Foggo,” wrote agency veteran described only as John Doe No. 2, who was Foggo’s supervisor at an overseas CIA station in 1989, when local police filed a diplomatic protest against Dusty for assaulting a bicyclist.
So how did Foggo come to be selected as Goss’ No. 3? Goss refused to comment when I called him while reporting my book, but the question has always nagged at me.
Porter Goss answers those questions for the first time in a sworn declaration filed in an appendix to the memorandum, which you can read here.
Goss says Foggo’s name was suggested by members of his senior staff. Although Goss doesn’t say this, I’ve heard that Foggo was recommended by Patrick Murray. Murray was chief counsel on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which Goss chaired, and he served as chief of staff at the spy agency during Goss’ stormy tenure there.
Goss says he directly asked Foggo whether there was anything he needed to know that would “reflect poorly” on the Director’s office or the CIA. Foggo denied there was. Had he known what Foggo was up to with Wilkes, Goss says he would have fired him on the spot.
When press reports linked his executive director to Brent Wilkes, “I learned from my public relations staff that Foggo had been less than candid.” Ultimately he lost confidence in Foggo and asked him to resign. In May 2006, less than two years after he was sworn in as CIA director, the White House fired Goss and replaced him with Gen. Michael Hayden.
“I felt deceived and betrayed by Mr. Foggo,” Goss concludes.
A source tells Laura Rozen that Goss is lying, but I’m taking Goss at his word. He’s out of public life now, and I don’t think he would expose himself to perjury charges. At any rate, it’s more than apparent that he was absolutely the wrong man for the job of CIA director.
How out of the loop was Goss if it fell to public affairs to inform him of the problems with Foggo? As the documents make clear, were already well known to his supervisors and were included in his agency file.
Foggo was not the only staff member who was unworthy of Goss’ trust. Equally suspect was Goss’ choice of Murray and the other “Gosslings” he brought over from Capitol Hill. As Ken Silverstein noted back in 2006, the Gosslings arrived at Langley with a “lengthy list of names of people to be purged and went about removing them.” One was Stephen Kappes, who eventually returned to the agency and is now serving as deputy director under President Obama.
A man who can’t tell the difference between the Foggos and the Kappeses shouldn’t be in charge of the Central Intelligence Agency. Period.
Update from CQ’s Jeff Klein:
Kyle “Dusty” Foggo’s CIA dossier included allegations that he was sharing a woman with a suspected Russian mole, according to a top former spy agency official and other sources.
CIA Director Porter J. Goss knew about the allegation when he hired Foggo to be the agency’s executive director, its third highest official, an aide said today.
But Merrell Moorhead, an aide to Goss at the CIA from 2004 to 2006, said CIA security officials later withdrew that and other serious allegations about Foggo’s record and “gave him a clean bill of health.”
Second Update: Klein updated his post to quote Moorhead as saying that Bassett “recommended” Foggo. Laura Rozen agrees. Ken Silverstein has reported that Bassett “positioned” Foggo for the job of executive director.
I’m not convinced. Bassett was a consultant to the agency. Maybe that makes him part of the “senior staff” Goss alludes to in his statement. I’m not so sure.
It seems there are still some hard feelings over Foggo and the blame game goes on.