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After Duke Cunningham went to prison for taking millions of dollars from defense contractors, the obvious question was who was going to take a fall next? There were rumors of wild parties with gambling and prostitutes ("Hookergate"), so there were lots of potential suspects.

The San Diego US attorney subpoenaed House committees, which were happy to cooperate in the wake of the 2006 election. But then Gonzales fired the US attorney Carol Lam, and the question was, would the firing of the US attorney prevent the case from going forward?

Well the wheels started turning before the attorney got sacked, and the indictments came down today sweeping up the former #3 man at the CIA and a defense contractor who bribed a lot of federal officials.

I'd say the defense contractor has a better shot at getting leniency by implicating the officials he bribed, although he's a "made man" who will probably expect a pardon.

Clearly something else was bound to come down, because Duke had left a huge paper trail when bought his California mansion with his bribe money, as well as his 65 foot yacht moored on the Potomac with the name "Duke-Stir" painted in huge letters on the stern. Among Dukes many faults was a lack of discretion. Also, Duke had worn a wire for the FBI for 2 weeks.

About the same time, we saw the resignation of the CIA's #1 (Porter Goss) and #3 (Kyle "Dusty" Foggo) guys. Foggo rose like a skyrocket from a lowly procurement position (exactly the sort of guy who'd look for bribes), and Goss may have paid the price for promoting him. When the FBI executed search warrants at Goss's house and office, you knew this story had legs.

If this story is really pursued, it should lead in several directions. Goss lasted only 2 years at the CIA. Bush installed him to clean house at the CIA because the CIA had done a "bad job" before and after 9/11, which is to say that it was the familiar "creative destruction" strategy of ginning up a purge of the agency. So there is clearly a tie-in to the WH and WMD, and 43 covering his tracks. Notice that Doug Feith is still desperately peddling the blame-the-CIA angle with all the vigor of a drowning men grabbing at straws.

Until Foggo was fired, Goss's resignation looked like it might have been a case of the spooks pushing back. But Foggo's ouster made the whole thing look a lot simpler and sleazier.  Foggo was BFFL with Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor. And now Wilkes and Foggo are taking a fall together. No doubt they were hoping that Lam's firing would save them. We'll see who tries to cut a deal.

Brent Wilkes and Mitchell Wade were also "associates" of Jack Abramoff, so there are plenty of leads in that direction as well.

But it seems to be Wade is the one who cooperated with the investigation, while Wilkes may have been more loyal (or afraid).

The other perspn likely to get sucked into this is John Doolittle, and we hope that Charlie Brown takes another run at him in 2008. Doolittle and his wife Julie benefited from their relationship with Brent Wilkes.

And apparently Wade and Wilkes were "made guys" going back to Iran-Contra, wise in the ways of buying influence and laundering cash (hat tip to docgonzo downthread). Wilkes was good buddy with Tom Delay and Bob Ney. Wade was the guy who helped Duke flip his house, and gave Delay rides on his charter jet.

Wade's company, MZM, Inc was started with help from U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA)

Which helped cook the prewar intelligence on Saddam's nuclear program

Interestingly, Wade's company, MZM Inc, got contracts to work with CIFA, who do domestic surveillance for the Pentagon

and he had a contract to provide "intelligence services" at the White House, which was rather unique project outside the usual intelligence channels for the WH

It would be easy to conclude that maybe Wade was providing a direct link from the Pentagon's domestic wiretapping operation to the White House?

Later, Wade would try to influence memebers of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) when they investigated Duke. TPMMuckraker really breaks it down, and some of these names are likely to resurface:

The probe is essentially a one-man show featuring Michael "Nick" Stern, a senior aide on loan from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs' investigative subcommittee.

The HPSCI staff included another long-time friend of Dusty Foggo,  Brant "Nine Fingers" Bassett, who is also a friend of Wilkes.

Originally posted to bernardpliers on Tue Feb 13, 2007 at 06:29 PM PST.

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