Goss presided over the House Intelligence Committee at the height of the era when
then-Congressman Randall “Duke” Cunningham used it as his personal auction block,
selling access to the nation’s most sensitive defense programs to corrupt private
Appointed CIA Director in 2004, Goss reached into the middle ranks of the agency to promote Kyle “Dusty” Foggo – who is now indicted in the Cunningham bribery scandal – to Executive Director. Goss may have gotten to know Foggo at parties thrown by defense contractor Brent Wilkes, one of the men indicted for bribing Cunningham.
The scandal ultimately landed Cunningham in jail, where he was sentenced to 8 years after pleading guilty to bribery and fraud. Meanwhile, Goss is under investigation. He abruptly resigned from the CIA in May 2006, just days before the FBI raided Foggo’s home and office. As a Congressman, Goss used his seat as Chairman on the House Intelligence Committee to help provide political cover to President George W. Bush in the wake of the September 11th attacks. In 2004, President Bush appointed Goss Director of the CIA, and Goss continued to bend the nation’s most important intelligence assets to achieve the President’s political ends.
Goss seeded the CIA with political appointments; among his more surprising moves, he elevated Kyle “Dusty” Foggo from a mid-level position as a procurement officer to the No. 3 job at the agency. But Foggo quickly came under investigators’ scrutiny when now-jailed Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham admitted to accepting bribes from two defense contractors, one of them Foggo’s best friend, Brent Wilkes. (Cunningham said Wilkes gave him cash and gifts in exchange for hundreds of millions in defense contracts.) Goss resigned abruptly in May 2006, just days before FBI raided Foggo’s home and office. At least one published report has hinted that Goss may also be under investigation.
Goss served in the CIA for about 10 years, and may have been involved in the agency’s actions during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. He retired to Florida and in 1988 was elected to Congress as a Republican.
He became chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in 1997. Duke Cunningham joined the committee in 2001, and, according to a later investigation, immediately used earmarks – a method of reserving money in the federal budget for special projects – to fund intelligence programs that would later turn out to be redundant, or useless, and usually designed for contractors who’d bribed him.
A special investigation into Cunningham’s corruption on the Intelligence Committee said relatively little about Goss, and a friend of his told the Los Angeles Times that Goss did not suspect Cunningham of more than being “overly partisan.”
Yet Cunningham’s corruption extended beyond mere earmarking. He bullied the paid staff of the committee to back his projects, and he did the same to employees of the nation’s intelligence agencies, making sure jobs went to the “right” contractors.
No investigation to date has explained how Goss could have missed Cunningham’s corruption. It was so flagrantly obvious to the paid staff of the Intelligence Committee that one of them, writing about a Cunningham project, said in an email, “HOOAH! Another $5 million of taxpayer money wasted.”
As committee chairman, Goss led a joint House-Senate inquiry into the events leading up to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but the report his panel issued remained silent on the role of the White House. He led a party-line vote to defeat an amendment calling for an investigation into U.S. relations with Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi doctor in exile who provided much of the false information leading to the invasion of Iraq.
During that same tenure, Goss was a regular guest at parties thrown by Brent Wilkes, who with Cunningham’s help, won various defense contracts worth more than $100 million. Among the other regulars were many of the central players in the Cunningham scandal: Foggo, Cunningham and Brant Bassett, a former CIA agent and Intelligence Committee staffer friendly with both Foggo and Wilkes and whose name keeps surfacing in these corruption investigations.
In the summer of 2004, Goss led a successful effort to beat back an investigation of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. Two months later, in August 2004, President George W. Bush nominated Goss to be CIA Director. Goss took the helm in September. One of his first acts was to issue a memo to employees that emphasized the intelligence agency’s role in “supporting the administration.” He then began replacing experienced analysts and officials with political appointees, according to Salon.com. For the No. 3 position, Goss chose Foggo, a career CIA employee but one who had never been in senior-level management. Goss may have made that decision on the recommendation of Bassett, several officials speculated in a July 2006 article in Vanity Fair.
(Among Goss’ other political appointees were Patrick Murray, who’d been Goss’ own Chief of Staff while he was in Congress, and Joseph Jakub, who’d been a Congressional staffer for GOP Rep. Dan Burton.)
Cunningham pleaded guilty in November 2005, and admitted accepting $500,000 in bribes from Wilkes, and, in return, arranging hundreds of millions in defense contracts. Investigators soon began to explore the relationship between Wilkes and Foggo, who have been friends since high school. Before Goss promoted him, Foggo had spent much of his career at the CIA awarding contracts to private companies, and the May 2007 indictment says he abused that post to direct contracts to Wilkes.
Goss resigned with almost no notice on May 5, 2006. The raids on Foggo’s home and his office in CIA headquarters came just days later.
- 1960 – 1971 – Works for the CIA. Work history classified, but may have specialized in Central American affairs. He has hinted he was involved in the Bay of Pigs or Cuban Missile Crisis.
- 1971 – Retires to Sanibel Island, Florida. Starts then sells newspaper.
- 1988 – Elected to Congress as a Republican.
- 1997– Appointed Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee
- 2002—Leads Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before Sept.11th.
- December 2002 – Inquiry report released. Report does not include any information on White House activities; former CIA official Ray McGovern calls the report a political shield for President Bush.
- September 2004 – Becomes CIA director. Memo to employees.
- April 27, 2006 – Harpers.org reports that Wilkes-Cunningham investigation now focusing on “current and former” members of House Intelligence Committee, “including one person who now holds a powerful intelligence post.”
- May 5, 2006 – Goss resigns.
- Goss’ statement re: his resignation: http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000567.php
- Washington Babylon, Vanity Fair, August 2006
- Killing the CIA, Salon.com, May 11, 2006: http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2006/05/11/cia/index1.html
- How Partisan is Porter Goss? The Center for American Progress, August 10, 2004: http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2004/partisan_goss.html
- Ken Silverstein hints that Goss is under investigation: http://www.harpers.org/sb-red-lights-on-capitol-hill.html
- “I’ve learned from a well-connected source that those under intense scrutiny by the FBI are current and former lawmakers on Defense and Intelligence comittees—including one person who now holds a powerful intelligence post.”
- April 27, 2006
- A Cloak but No Dagger, Washington Post May 18, 2002: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A36091-2002May17?language=printer
- Ray McGovern: http://www.answers.com/topic/joint-inquiry-into-intelligence-community-activities-be fore-and-after-the-terrorist-attacks-of-september-11-2001