Sunday, May 07, 2006

Porter Goss-Hookergate Scandal Overlooked By MSM

When CIA Director Peter Goss abruptly resigned at week's end, the mainstream media was very quick to pick up on the line that his resignation was due to increasing tension between he and John Negraponte, who won out over Goss for the newly created Intelligence Chief position. But the blogosphere had been abuzz about a possible Goss link to a growing scandal involving lobbyist Brent Wilkes' questionable lobbying ties to the now-convicted Rep. Duke Cunningham and other members of Congress.

In particular, allegations surfaced that Wilkes had hosted poker games for several members of Congress at the infamous Watergate Hotel and the Westin Grand Hotel at which prostitutes were furnished for the participants' services. Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall has followed the issue with particular interest. Goss served in Congress with several of the members under scrutiny by federal investigators as a member and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Goss also previously worked for the CIA prior to his election to the House, a fact not known to the Florida constituents who sent him to Congress until Bush named him as his choice to run the CIA.

Interestingly, just a day after Goss' resignation, the New York Daily News broke a story connecting Goss to the Cunningham scandal. The story yesterday said, "CIA Director Porter Goss abruptly resigned yesterday amid allegations that he and a top aide may have attended Watergate poker parties where bribes and prostitutes were provided to a corrupt congressman." The Daily News directly ties the No. 3 man at the CIA, Kyle Foggo, who Goss promoted to the job.

A troubling New York Times story today hinted at how much the hooker-gate scandal could widen. The NYT writes:

A federal investigation into one congressman's bribe-taking last year has produced a second round of inquiries into the actions of officials at the C.I.A. and the Homeland
Security Department
and of members of the House Intelligence Committee, government officials say.

These new inquiries reach beyond Randy Cunningham, the former Republican House member from California who was sentenced in March to more than eight years in prison for taking $2.4 million in bribes from military contractors. The investigations suggest a growing suspicion among some lawmakers that corrupt practices may have influenced decision-making in Congress and at executive-branch agencies.

The NYT story details how a limousine company, Shirlington Limousine, tied to furnishing prostitutes for the poker parties at the Watergate Hotel and Westin Grand, is owned by a person with a checkered criminal past, who somehow managed to obtain a $25 million contract to provide transporation services for employees of the Department of Homeland Security.

This is one story that is not going away, particularly in this election year. The revalations that are certain to come to light could prove disastrous for the re-election hopes of some "family values" Republican members of Congress. Explaining high stake poker games laced with prostitutes to their base voters might prove difficult, if not impossible, for the implicated members.

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