Archive for the ‘corruption’ Tag
Longtime CIA case officer Andrew Warren is being investigated for apparently raping two women in Algeria where he was stationed. Warren (Wikipedia article) had a reputation for taking potential recruits to strip clubs and brothels. As the Washington Post reports:
As CIA case officers attempt to recruit a foreign spy, they often offer personal inducements, ranging from cash to medical care. In some cases, a potential recruit may be taken to a strip club or even to a prostitute if it is deemed critical to cementing the relationship, longtime officers say. But for Warren, “it was a lifestyle thing,” costing the agency thousands of dollars, said one former co-worker who describes himself as a friend.
Several of his colleagues (i.e. multiple people) said they were not surprised by the sexual assault allegations. And this guy was still in a position of trust and responsibility why? Though the matter has attracted the attention of Congress, and resulted in a joint statement by the chairperson and the ranking member of the Senate committee that oversees the CIA, charges have not been filed against Warren.
Happily, not all of the corrupt CIA employees have been so lucky. Steve Levan, a 16-year veteran who worked for the No. 2 man in the agency, recently pleaded guilty to misusing agency credit cards which were supposed to be used by undercover agents—to the tune of $115,000, much of which he spent on his mistress. His attorney filed a motion saying that the judge should consider Mr. Levan’s allegedly strong record of service at the CIA—a record which hasn’t been released. In other words, the mere fact that he worked for the CIA means that he should be held to an easier standard than common folks.
Then there’s Kyle “Dusty” Foggo (Wikipedia article), the agency’s former No. 3 officer, who was indicted on corruption charges two years ago. He helped a high school friend of his, Brent Wilkes, score CIA contracts. Oh, and he also used the agency to provide for his own mistress. The Post reports:
After … his mistress was turned down for a job in the general counsel’s office, Foggo, who was the CIA’s executive director, called an associate general counsel into his office and “grew increasingly loud in tone and condescending,” according to a memo the counsel placed in her files. “[S]peaking in the third person, [Foggo] said, among other things, that when the EXDIR has an interest in a candidate for employment that I had better respect the EXDIR’s interest.”
The mistress was subsequently hired after an accelerated security check, because her paperwork was tagged “ExDir interest.” When her failure to perform required duties provoked her supervisor’s complaints, Foggo arranged for the supervisor—a 20-year veteran who had won many performance awards—to be ousted and moved to the Defense Department. The supervisor alleged in a court affidavit that her ouster was retaliatory.
The matter of his mistress was not a one-time mistake on Foggo’s part. A 1989 performance review stated that he “takes a very liberal and self-serving position regarding the interpretation of Agency rules and regulations” and warned that “he is likely to remain a potential threat to security through his poor judgment.” After the September 11th attacks, he used his position as the agency’s top administrator—hand-picked by the director—to steer CIA contracts to a friend of his, who repaid him with, among other things, a $30,000 vacation in Hawai’i. As the U.S. Attorney said at his sentencing hearing, “A man who exploits a national crisis should be humble enough to not call himself a patriot.”
But Foggo does claim to be a patriot: in a court filing, his attorneys claimed that he has “committed his life to public service” and that his dedication and skills justified his promotions, the record of misconduct in his personnel file notwithstanding. They declined to elaborate. Again, the mere act of working for the CIA should get him a lighter penalty, nevermind the fact that he used his position to enrich and benefit himself, not the people.
One former intelligence officer, a 26-year veteran of the CIA, writes that
This affair demonstrates what officers in the closed society of the CIA have known for years: that senior management uses a double standard that allows members of the agency’s “good ol’ boy” network to do whatever they wish.
Mr. Foggo’s offenses included breaches of agency regulations that, for others, have raised questions of loyalty and sometimes resulted in dismissal. Yet, Mr. Foggo simply got a wink and a nod from superiors who continued to protect him. This sort of cronyism continues to harm agency morale.
As Mr. Foggo’s defenders have done, these senior officials also would undoubtedly like to portray themselves as great “patriots.” But Samuel Johnson said it best when he noted that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
John Radsan, a former CIA assistant general counsel, agrees. He says that the internal guidelines and structures that are supposed to guard against corruption and misconduct are really a self-regulating system with few incentives for reporting bad behavior. That’s why we end up with a swell fellow like Kyle Foggo atop the CIA.
The CIA’s response to these many scandals is to point out that they have lots of employees and not all of them lie, cheat, and steal and, really, only a very tiny minority of them go around raping women. So it’s all really okay, thank you for your interest—and go screw yourself while we patriots keep saving America.
Charges may still be filed against Andrew Warren. If convicted, he’ll probably resort to the last refuge in order to save the only thing he cares about: himself.
See also this blog post, about FBI agents who fleeced taxpayers for $7.8 million
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been impeached by the State House of Representatives by a vote of 114-1. The 118-member body currently has 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans; they acted only hours after a 21-member panel voted unanimously to recommend impeachment.
The lone dissenting vote came from Chicago Democrat Milton Patterson. He represents a largely African American district; Gov. Blagojevich still maintains a fair amount of support among the African American community. Representative Elga L. Jefferies voted present. Two members of the House did not vote.
One Representative, Chicago Democrat Jack Frank, said “It’s our duty to clean up the mess and stop the freak show that’s become Illinois government.” Indeed.
Governor Blagojevich will now be tried by the 59-member Illinois Senate; conviction requires a 2/3 supermajority, or 40 votes. Hopefully they convict him by 12 February, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
MSNBC reports that FBI agents posted to Iraq received $7.8 million in overtime and pay that they weren’t entitled to, an average of $45,000 per employee between 2003–2007. They claimed the pay for, inter alia, doing watching movies, exercising, and attending parties.
One employee defended the fact that he claimed pay for the time he spent doing laundry, “When you’re in that environment, anything you do to survive is work for the FBI.” It must be nice to work for that agency when you can do immoral things and get away with it. Just about all the agents posted to Iraq claimed 8 hours of overtime per day, every day, for the three months they were there. There’a a term for that sort of behavior: stealing.
The Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, has been arrested for attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama to the highest bidder. Under state law, when there is a midterm vacancy in the state’s Senate representation the Governor can appoint a replacement; Federal authorities tapped his phones and claim evidence that Blagojevich was trying to sell the appointment for cold hard cash as well as other benefits for himself and his wife, including lucrative appointments to corporate boards.
In the affidavit, the Governor is quoted as saying “I want to make money,” and noting that a Senate seat “is a f—ing valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.” He allegedly said that he would appoint himself to the seat if he didn’t “get something real good” for it, saying “I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain.” Another time he said “I’ve got this thing and it’s f—ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for f—in’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.” Apparently he thought it could put him in good position to run for President himself in 2016. That’s probably pretty unlikely now.
Blagojevich is under investigation for numerous other alleged acts of corruption, including trying to use government powers to pressure the Chicago Tribune to fire reporters who were critical of him. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has called this “the most staggering crime spree in office I have ever seen.” Unfortunately, the only way he can be impeached right now is if the legislature convenes, which can only happen if he calls for it. Which probably isn’t too likely. Apparently they are trying to convene to call for a special election, to get around having the governor appoint someone. The Times Online out of London has a good story detailing some of the alleged deals that the governor was trying to make; I highly recommend it.
If these allegations are true—and I don’t think you arrest a sitting state governor without a surfeit of evidence—then Blagojevich is one corrupt dude and needs to be in jail, not the Illinois governor’s mansion. But one must admit that he fits right in at the Illinois executive mansion, three other Governors of the Land of Lincoln have been jailed in the past 35 years, as reported by MSNBC:
— OTTO KERNER, a Democrat who was governor from 1961 to 1968, served less than a year of a three-year sentence after his 1973 conviction on bribery, tax evasion and other counts. He was convicted of arranging favorable horse racing dates as governor in return for getting horse racing association stock at reduced prices. Kerner died in 1976.— DAN WALKER, a Democrat who was governor from 1973 to 1977, served 1 1/2 years of a seven-year sentence after pleading guilty in 1987 to bank fraud, misapplication of funds and perjury. The charges were not related to his service as governor.— GEORGE RYAN, a Republican who was governor from 1999 to 2003, was convicted of corruption in 2006 for steering state contracts and leases to political insiders while he was Illinois secretary of state and then governor. He is serving a 6 1/2-year prison term.