A lot of folks, including us, noticed a strange detail in one of the first articles about Brent Wilkes' poker-and-more parties.
"Another player was a CIA agent known as 'Nine Fingers,' so named because he lost one of his digits while on assignment," the San Diego Union-Tribune reported over a week ago in what appeared to be an almost throwaway bit of color.
The Mafia-esque moniker has attracted attention and jokes -- but little new information, until now: Newsweek magazine is the first to identify Nine Fingers as Brant Bassett, whom they also say is "a former Goss aide."
He may be a more central character in our story than the SDUT made him out to be.
Bassett is reported to have been a case officer with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, where Foggo worked. Their paths crossed a number of times over the years and they became friendly, I'm told, which isn't a stretch, given that two publications now put Bassett in poker games with Foggo and Wilkes.
An enduring mystery to this fiasco is why Porter Goss promoted "Dusty" Foggo to the very top of the CIA. Now, informed sources are speculating that Bassett may be the link that explains that mystery, at least in part. Bassett, a counsel and staff director for the Human Intelligence panel of Goss' House Intelligence Committee, had ample opportunity to introduce Goss and his close aide Patrick Murray to Foggo. Did he?
I gave Mr. Bassett a call a few days ago in the hopes he'd be willing to discuss the matter, but he didn't call me back. Newsweek reported that he didn't return their call, either.