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laststeamtrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-17-07 05:23 PM
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Sex and the C.I.A. (Harpers)
Sex and the C.I.A.
DEPARTMENT Washington Babylon
BY Ken Silverstein
PUBLISHED April 17, 2007

I recently received an advance copy of Seth Hettena's Feasting on the Spoils: The Life and Times of Randy Duke Cunningham, History's Most Corrupt Congressman, which will be published this July and which I highly recommend. In addition to being a terrific piece of political reporting, the book is filled with juicy details concerning the seamier side of the Cunningham affair, otherwise known as Hookergate.

I was particularly interested in stories Hettena unearthed about Kyle Dusty Foggo, whom former CIA director Porter Goss had named as executive director, the agency's number-three official. Foggo resigned last year not long after FBI agents raided his home and office. The Feds suspected that Foggo, who was later indicted, had funneled CIA contracts to his long-time friend Brent Wilkes, the defense contractor who is accused of bribing Cunningham with money and prostitutes.

Some of the more sensational stories in Hettena's bookand he has on-the-record sourcesgot me thinking. First, didn't Foggo's frequent indiscretions (for example, flashing his agency ID to jump the line at a strip club) raise red flags about his character? Second, wasn't Foggo's outlandish sexual behaviorlike, say, publicly performing oral sex on a hooker (hired by Wilkes) at his own bachelor partyjust the sort of thing that makes intelligence officials potentially vulnerable to blackmail by a hostile spy service? Third, might it be possible to cynically point to such revelations and use them as a hook for a blog item that combines sex and espionage?

You already know the answer to #3. As to #1 and #2, I spoke with a number of former CIA officers and asked them about the use of sex as a weapon of espionage and whether Foggo-scale misbehavior would typically be deemed a security risk or cause other problems.

The consensus among the officers was that general sexual promiscuity posed no problem, especially if the CIA employee was single. A pattern of continuous adultery might raise eyebrows and lead to a suggestion of counseling, but would not likely be seen as cause for dismissal. However, philandering that raised chain of command issues was a big problem. For example, I was told of one case where a junior officer based in Europe discovered that his wife was sleeping with his station chief. Everyone got sent home and reprimanded, said the source.It was a big mess, but this was seen as a character issue, not a security issue.

So when does sex become a security problem? The CIA conducts background checks and administers periodic polygraph tests to try to ferret out anything that might make undercover officers vulnerable to blackmail. Until the mid-1990s, homosexuality was considered an immediate cause for dismissal. And close and continuing contact with a foreign national, a euphemism for a sexual relationship, was deemed to be another major vulnerability. Any such relationship had to be reported and failure to do so could also lead to dismissal. In fact during the Cold War, the KGB (and allied services, including the East German Stasi under Markus Wolf, and Cuban intelligence) frequently sought to entrap CIA officers. The KGB believed that Americans were materialistic and sex-obsessed, and hence its spies could easily be lured with the prospect of an easy lay. CIA officers in Russia were strongly warned about swallows, the term for the beautiful women the KGB deployed to try to seduce Americans, which was a constant danger at Moscow station. (One former CIA official told me that he and his friends joked that they longed to be given the job of sexual entrapment training officer.)

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http://harpers.org/archive/2007/04/sb-sex-and-the-cia
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