David Ignatius has a nice little op-ed in today's Washington Post called "How the CIA Came Unglued." Ignatius traces the rise and fall of recently resigned CIA Executive Director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, and shows how it was emblematic of "what went so badly wrong at the CIA under Porter Goss."
In true "rise of the bureaucrats" fashion, Foggo apparently came to the attention of Goss by "facilitating trips overseas" for members of the House Intelligence Committee and their staff, including Goss and his staff director Patrick Murray, while he was employed by the CIA's Directorate of Support in West Germany. Just what you want on the resume of the CIA's future number three man.
When Goss and Murray arrived at the CIA in the fall of 2004, their first choice for the agency's No. 3 job of executive director was a former CIA officer named Michael Kostiw, who had many friends in conservative political circles. But Kostiw's nomination was sabotaged when a CIA insider leaked the fact that he had once been accused of shoplifting. The charges were dropped after Kostiw resigned and agreed to seek counseling. Kostiw's past made him an inappropriate choice for such a senior position, in the view of many career CIA officers, but to Murray the leak was evidence of a liberal cabal at the CIA that was determined to obstruct the Bush administration's agenda.
For whatever reason, Foggo was Goss' Plan B, even after Murray was briefed on Foggo's file, which, Ignatius says, "included what one former CIA official describes as instances of 'dumb personal behavior.'"
The briefers included Mary Margaret Graham, then chief of counterintelligence, and Jeanette Moore, then head of the Office of Security, who, according to ABC News, had once reprimanded Foggo about alleged insubordination, though the CIA says a formal letter was never filed. Murray rejected the material about Foggo as petty and is said to have warned Graham, "If this leaks, you're dead."
Here's all you really need to know about Foggo: after his bizarre appointment to executive director, "to the amusement of his colleagues, [he] began placing pictures of himself prominently around headquarters."
Meanwhile, a period of internal bloodletting ensued that was worthy of the Soviet NKVD under Joseph Stalin. The associate deputy chief of the CIA's Directorate of Operations, Michael Sulick, complained angrily to Murray about his tongue-lashing of Graham, arguing that he was treating CIA officers as if they were Democratic congressional staffers. An indignant Murray thereupon demanded that Sulick be fired for insubordination. His boss, Operations Deputy Director Stephen Kappes, refused Murray's demand, and both he and Sulick resigned.
The political fallout from Foggo's appointment continued. Graham left in 2005 to become a top aide to the new director of national intelligence, John Negroponte. Moore, the head of security who had reprimanded Foggo, soon retired; at the time she was the agency's highest-ranking African American woman.
As for Foggo, he distinguished himself by adopting Murray's adversarial attitude towards the directorate of operations, "telling agency colleagues that no unit at the CIA was more important than any other and that, in a phrase meant to urge unity, 'We're all purple.'"
The sad last act of the Foggo drama involves allegations of corruption. It turned out that he had attended poker parties hosted by his old school pal Brent R. Wilkes, a military contractor whose activities were described in the bribery indictment of former representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.). According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the CIA inspector general's office has been investigating whether Foggo, back when he was a support officer in Germany, helped steer to one of Wilkes's companies, Archer Logistics, a roughly $3 million contract to supply bottled water to CIA operatives in Afghanistan and Iraq. Foggo, who resigned from the CIA on Monday, has denied any wrongdoing.
Under the "leadership" of Goss, Murray and Foggo, the CIA experienced one of its worst periods in its history, at a time when its country needed it most. But an administration that often appears more interested in petty politics than results, and more impressed by "good soldiers" than forward thinkers, seemed slow to react to this obvious problem. When Ignatius asked a senior administration official why it took the White House so long to do something about the situation, the official "repeated the line that the agency was full of leakers and obstructionists." As Ignatuis says, "The political vendetta against the CIA went to the top, in other words. It did real damage to the country before President Bush finally called a halt."Despite what we keep hearing, apparently 9/11 didn't change everything.