Judge Denies European Summer Vacation for Disgraced CIA Official

A former top CIA official facing over two dozen felony charges won't get to take the five-week Austrian vacation he had requested, a federal judge has ruled.

Onetime CIA executive director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo surrendered his passport as a condition of his freedom while he awaits a November trial for 28 counts including fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and false statements.

Foggo has pleaded not guilty, and last week he asked the court for use of his passport and permission to travel to Austria for five weeks with his wife and children, to visit his in-laws. He was not a flight risk, his attorneys argued, and throughout his 23-year CIA career he had served "with distinction," they said.

Federal prosecutors opposed the trip, arguing he would be sorely tempted to stay abroad and avoid prosecution. Moreover, they noted, the source of funding for the trip was a mystery: Foggo had earlier pushed to move his trial to Virginia from San Diego, because he said the costs of staying in California for the three weeks the trial is expected to last would have been a financial hardship.

"A five-week European vacation for Foggo and his entire family – especially given current exchange rates. . . seems inconsistent with Foggo's prior argument. . . that he was too impoverished" to afford being tried in San Diego, the prosecutors wrote.

As for serving the CIA "with distinction," they said, "this case will determine whether that distinction will be positive or negative."

The charges against Foggo arose from an investigation sparked by the Duke Cunningham bribery scandal. Among other alleged misdeeds, prosecutors say Foggo, a 23-year CIA veteran, helped steer millions in secret CIA contracts to companies controlled by his longtime friend, Brent Wilkes, a key figure in the Cunningham fiasco.

Wilkes was convicted and sentenced last year to 12 years in prison. He is appealing the verdict.

Foggo is the last major figure to face prosecution in the Duke Cunningham bribery scandal. But he's not the first to attempt a European vacation.

Last year, a man who pled guilty to facilitating hundreds of thousands in bribes to Cunningham bolted for a luxury spree in Greece without telling the judge in his case -- or the FBI, who was supposed to be keeping tabs on the Greek-born financier for unspecified national security reasons.