One of the less charming traits of a White House that has determinedly put politics ahead of policy has been naming hacks to key posts.
Itâ€™s one thing to name your college roommateâ€™s dog groomer to be ambassador to some Podunk country because he has given lavishly to Republican causes. But itâ€™s another matter all together when weâ€™re talking about homeland security or intelligence.
Michael â€œYouâ€™re Doing A Helluva Job, Brownieâ€? Brown, the disgraced FEMA director, has gotten the most Hack Department ink, which in a way is unfortunate because his public contrition over the botched federal response to Hurricane Katrina has been rather touching.
Then thereâ€™s Kyle â€œDustyâ€? Foggo, the former No. 3 official at the CIA, whose 15 minutes of infamy has been extended with his indictment today for steering contracts for the CIA station in Iraq to an old high school buddy, defense contractor Brent Wilkes, whose sleazy activities led to the downfall of former Republican Congressman Randy â€œDukeâ€? Cunningham. Wilkes also was indicted.
In return for the lucrative contracts, Foggo got dinners and other perks, and Wilkes kept open a post at his company for when Foggo retired. The two concealed the whole thing from Foggo’s CIA associates and ethics officials by using shell companies and flat-out lying about their relationship.
A little background: Hack-in-chief George Bush named Porter Goss, a Republican stalwart and former congressman, to wake up the CIA after the 9/11 attacks although Goss, himself a former CIA agent, is about as old boy and disinclined to reform the agency as they come.
Goss in turn plucked Foggo from an obscure post to be the CIAâ€™s executive director; that is, to run the agencyâ€™s day-by-day operations.
This was not because Foggio was competent, but because he was another loyal Republican who, it turned out, hosted legendary high-stakes poker games at a (irony alert) Watergate Hotel suite where there never was a shortages of cigars, booze or hookers. Not just any cigars, mind you, but fine Cuban habanos, which it is against the law to possess.
Goss initially claimed that allegations against Foggo were fig newtons of bloggersâ€™ imaginations, but suddenly decided to spend more time with his family when the FBI confirmed that it had his No. 3 in its crosshairs. Foggo followed Goss out the door a short time later.
Foggoâ€™s indictment is big trouble for the scandal-tarred White House and CIA because it likely will lead to a full congressional investigation of how secret CIA contracts are awarded.