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Hey Duke

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Dusty and the Black Sites.

“Eventually, the agency’s network would encompass at least eight detention centers, including one in the Middle East, one each in Iraq and Afghanistan and a maximum-security long-term site at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that was dubbed Strawberry Fields, officials said. (It was named after a Beatles song after C.I.A. officials joked that the detainees would be held there, as the lyric put it, ‘forever.’)

Charming. The NYT gets a window into the CIA’s top-secret “black sites” program courtesy of former #3 man Dusty Foggo, who — irony alert — is currently serving a three-year term in a Kentucky jail on fraud charges associated with Duke Cunningham. (I presume Kentucky’s finest have yet to break out the “enhanced interrogation techniques” on this joker. Speaking of which, “[n]othing exotic was required for the infamous waterboards — they were built on the spot from locally available materials…The cells were constructed with special features to prevent injury to the prisoners during interrogations: nonslip floors and flexible, plywood-covered walls to soften the impact of being slammed into the wall.“)

Doctored Doolittle | Renzi Frenzied

In the midst of the persecuted prosecutors case, Casino Jack keeps on rollin’: Six days after the FBI searched his home in connection with the Abramoff investigation, California Republican John Doolittle steps down from the House Appropriations Committee. “Since 2005, a Justice Department task force has been looking into payments made by Abramoff and other lobbyists to Doolittle’s wife and the spouses of other lawmakers…Doolittle also helped steer millions of dollars in military funding to one of the defense contractors tied to the bribery case of former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.).Update: And another, although this time not Abramoff related: Arizona Republican Rick Renzi leaves the House Intelligence Committee as the result of an ongoing investigation into a 2005 land deal. I’m sensing a pattern.

Dusty in the Wind | Wilkes (behind) Bars?

Meanwhile, the probes continue: Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, the former #3 man at CIA who was linked to Randy “Duke” Cunninhgam’s bribery operation last year, was indicted yesterday for steering CIA contracts to his GOP cronies and telling them classified information about other bidders. Also indicted, Foggo and Cunningham’s co-conspirator, Mitchell Wade‘s business associate, and GOP fundraiser Brent R. Wilkes, who, among his other alleged crimes, arranged for paid prostitutes for Cunningham as part of the bribe package. “Wilkes, a Republican Party “Pioneer” who raised more than $100,000 for President Bush’s reelection in 2004 [has also] donated — in concert with his business colleagues — $656,396 to 64 other Republican lawmakers and the national Republican Party committees in Washington from 1995 through the third quarter of 2005.

The Chickens Come Home to Roost.

Remember when Boehner and the GOP banked on their widespread corruption not playing on Election Day? Well, they chose poorly. Among the many seats lost by the GOP last night were those of Abramoff flunkies Conrad Burns, Richard Pombo, and Bob Ney, notorious friend-of-pages Mark Foley, the recently-FBI-implicated Curt Weldon, mistress-beater Don Sherwood, and the fatcat architect of it all, Boss DeLay. (Surviving the corruption purge: the Foley-connected Tom Reynolds, Duke Cunningham‘s replacement, Brian Bilbray, and — though a runoff hopefully won’t shake his waycorrupt Dem William Jefferson.)

All the Duke’s Men.

“By himself, Cunningham had no authority to or ability to award a contract to MZM…[He] needed to secure the cooperation, or at least the non-interference, of many people: the appropriators and authorizers in Congress…the various Department of Defense (DOD) officials responsible for execution of the money…and officials of the agencies for which the contracts were to be performed. This was a lot of people to persuade, cajole, deceive, pressure, intimidate, bribe or otherwise influence to do what they wanted.” A new report by the House Intelligence Committee delves into Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s bribery operation on the Hill (or at least, it does what it can given that the GOP, acting sketchy as usual, refused to subpoena Cunningham. Can we please get a little oversight up in here?)

Borderline Personality Disorder.

Something in their eyes is makin’ such a fool of he…In a “decision [that] was widely seen as a slap both at the Senate and the president,” the House GOP punt on the proposed immigration reform bill, likely until after the 2006 elections. “House Republicans have long frowned upon the president’s approach, passing instead a bill that would tighten border controls, clamp down on employers who hire undocumented workers and declare illegal immigrants and those who assist them to be felons. Their position solidified this month after a California special election to replace jailed former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R). Republican candidate Brian Bilbray won the seat, beating back a tough Democratic challenge by running hard against the president’s approach.

We’re talking about ethics.

Grinding into action, oh, at least 18 months late, the House Ethics Committee begins investigations into Bob Ney and Duke Cunningham, as well as Dem William Jefferson.

Landing more fish.

The myriad inquiries into Republican corruption, particularly those involving the network of convicted felon Randy “Duke” Cunningham, start circling a few more names this week. FBI agents searched the home and office of Dusty Foggo, the former #3 man at CIA (handpicked by Porter Goss) who’s been rumored to be a major reason for Goss’ downfall, this morning. Similarly, and apparently as another tangent to the Cunningham case, the Justice Department has begun investigating House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA), and particularly his relationship to a lobbying firm specializing in earmarking. Is Duke the new Casino Jack?

Goss Begone.

As y’all have probably heard by now, controversial CIA chief Porter Goss was forced to quit his post yesterday, no doubt to much rejoicing at Langley. “As the normally mild-mannered Ivo Daalder, a former staff member at the National Security Council under Bill Clinton, put it, ‘Porter Goss was such an absolute disaster for the agency and our national security that his departure comes not a day too soon.’” Goss chalked up his abrupt dismissal as “just one of those mysteries,” but other reports suggest the real reason — bribes, poker, and prostitutes — is less mysterious than it is just plain unsavory. “‘It’s all about the Duke Cunningham scandal,’ a senior law enforcement official told the Daily News in reference to Goss’ resignation.” As for his replacement, Dubya has tapped former NSA chief Michael Hayden, which may mean the warrantless wiretaps may soon get another hearing in the Senate.

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