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Former CIA Official's Family Trips Called Focus of Inquiry

May 18, 2006|Richard B. Schmitt | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Federal agents who raided the home and office of former high-ranking CIA official Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo apparently were looking for evidence about trips that he and his family took with the family of San Diego defense contractor Brent Wilkes and whether Foggo paid his share, the ex-CIA man's lawyer said Wednesday.

In addition to other material collected in the raids, FBI agents seized family vacation photos, bank records and Cuban cigars from Foggo's home, lawyer William G. Hundley said.

Hundley said he didn't know what the agents retrieved from Foggo's office at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

The simultaneous searches Friday came days after Foggo resigned as the CIA's executive director, the agency's No. 3 official, ending his 25-year career under a cloud of suspicion. The CIA's inspector general and the FBI have been examining whether Foggo illegally steered contracts to Wilkes, including a $3-million award to supply bottled water and other provisions to CIA operatives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wilkes and Foggo, friends since high school and roommates at San Diego State University, have denied any impropriety. Their lawyers have suggested the government is seeking to criminalize the normal appurtenances of a long-standing and family relationship.

One line of inquiry has been the financing of trips the men and their families took while Foggo was employed by the CIA around the world. The government is believed to be examining whether Wilkes bankrolled the cost of some of the trips to win agency contracts through Foggo.

Hundley said Wednesday that FBI agents had collected "all sorts of photographs of the families together on vacation and stuff like that," as well as bank records.

He said the government appeared to view the trips as a potential quid pro quo for the water contract that Wilkes won when Foggo was heading a logistics unit for the CIA in Germany.

Hundley said that Foggo "never knowingly awarded a contract" to Wilkes and that the cost of the trips was shared appropriately. "On all the trips, he said he paid his fair share," Hundley said of Foggo.

He said the government also wondered where Foggo got the Cuban cigars, which can't be legally imported to the United States.

Hundley said Foggo told him that the cigars came from friends "who would bring them back, and he would pay for them."

"We are not talking about lots of boxes or anything like that," Hundley said.

Lawyers for Wilkes could not be reached for comment Wednesday. They have previously backed the account that Foggo has offered about the trips. It is not known which trips in particular the government is scrutinizing, but Hundley said the men and their families had vacationed in Hawaii and Scotland, among other places.

The searches escalated a congressional bribery scandal that has already landed former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in jail. Cunningham, a Republican from Rancho Santa Fe, pleaded guilty last year to bribery charges and was sentenced this year to more than eight years in prison.

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