Well, well; the interesting bit in this story about Blackwater involvement in a CIA assassination program (which didn’t actually happen) is this.
It was never fully operational, and has been canceled twice: once by then-CIA Director George Tenet, restarted by Porter Goss, and finally by CIA Director Leon Panetta in June.
This is crucial; Goss was the leader of the whole Republican/spook intersection, and the patron of the various characters whose corruption landed Randy Cunningham and Dusty Foggo in jail. That he resumed this slightly unlikely project (what good would a bunch of berserkers like that have been for anything discreet? the CIA already has a paramilitary arm anyway…) argues strongly for its being yet more political manipulation or corruption.
Here’s some interesting detail about another angle of the whole thing. Foggo’s old job had been as the head of logistics in Frankfurt, where he behaved like James Bond would have done had he been a real spy – i.e. inefficiently, and surrounded by unwelcome publicity. It seems he was also responsible for setting up the “black site” prisons; which raises another question.
Within days of the attacks, Mr. Foggo had a budget of $7 million, which quickly tripled.
He managed dozens of employees, directing nearly daily flights of cargo planes loaded with pallets of supplies, including saddles, bridles and horse feed for the mounted tribal forces that the spy agency recruited. Within weeks, he emptied the C.I.A.’s stockpile of AK-47s and ammunition at a Midwest depot.
Whose cargo planes? The fateful contract with Brent Wilkes’ Archer Logistics that landed Foggo in jail referred to a “secret plane network”. As far as I know, no-one has ever explained this reference, which presumably meant something beyond the well-known handful of business jets. Out of the original three Viktor Bout-related fuel contracts, two of them (BGIA and Air Bas) were clearly associated with general transport into Iraq. We never did identify what was happening with No.3 (Sky Traffic Facilitators)….
Perhaps the Americans should ask Thailand to extradite him on charges related to his activities on their account? However, if the FARC is considered a protected political entity in Thai law, I suspect the CIA would be as well.
There’s an interesting interview with the Abu Dhabi National here, about some of the founding generation of dodgy Russian businessmen in the UAE, specifically the man who originally registered San Air General Trading. He’s not doing too well. The Bangkok Post has an interview with the man himself, in which you can also see some of his notes from the fateful meeting (to be fair, he denies their authenticity).
And there’s a good story by Dmitri Sidorov of Kommersant which names Igor Sechin, a top official in the Presidential Administration (crazy guys – the same building and the same people as the old Central Committee Secretariat) and now a deputy prime minister, as an old comrade of Bout’s from Mozambique in the 1980s. Which is interesting if true.