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Wow.

In the course of our research into Christopher Baker, the owner of the limo company that allegedly ferried prostitutes to lawmakers, we've been confronted with a widening constellation of legal representation. And it's gotten more impressive as we've gone along.

First, there's Sandy Roberts, a business attorney who is Shirlington Limousine's original counsel. He didn't return our call.

And then there's Baker's personal criminal attorney, Bobby Stafford. He's the one who made a questionable denial to the San Diego Union-Tribune about what Baker may or may not have seen.

When we called Stafford today, he referred us to a third lawyer -- Michael York -- who is handling all media inquiries, Stafford's office told us.

It's not hard to figure why. York is a former Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist:

After graduating from law school in 1978, he spent eight years at the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he and another reporter won a 1986 Pulitzer for exposing corruption within the University of Kentucky athletic program. In 1987, York moved to the Washington Post.


He went on to a career in law, where he's represented such heavy hitters as Phillip Morris. So far, has not returned our calls.

So it appears that Baker is in a number of good -- and increasingly expensive -- hands. Pretty impressive for a guy who just got out of bankruptcy.

The New Republic's Spencer Ackerman reporting:

According to a CIA spokesperson (who spoke on background: "we're not doing names today") Goss's resignation is "totally separate" from the controversy surrounding CIA Executive Director/former procurement official Dusty Foggo's longtime friendship with defense/intelligence contractor Brent Wilkes. . .

[A]s to what that has to do with Goss, "do not connect those," the spokesperson said. Is Foggo leaving CIA as well? "I have nothing for you on that.... Nothing for anybody. I mean, today's topic is Porter."

More rumors:

Foggo was a problem for Goss, sure, but he wasn't the only problem, I'm told. There were a few, and they got to be too much.

There's been a drumbeat for the past few weeks that Goss would be leaving -- and it was louder than the Goss-is-leaving drumbeat folks have heard for the past year, two sources said. The crescendo came in part because several of his close aides have found ways to leave the director's office in the last few weeks, or put out feelers to find something new. "The whole group was out fishing" for new jobs, a former CIA official told me, "and the whole world knew it."

Other problems added to his trouble: Two sources told me that the President's discreet and influential Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board has been interviewing CIA officials and others over the past several weeks, as part of a larger investigation. My sources didn't know or wouldn't tell me what the panel was examining, only that "a lot" of the people it talked to "were unloading on the director."

We knew the CIA Inspector General was probing CIA #3 man Kyle "Dusty" Foggo's connection to Brent Wilkes and his contracts with the agency. But when CNN's John Roberts said maybe 20 minutes ago that Foggo was under investigation by the FBI, also, I think that's the first time that's been authoritatively reported. If it's accurate -- and I don't see why it wouldn't be -- that's big trouble.

We reported yesterday that the Watergate Hotel had received multiple subpoenas relating to the federal probe of Wilkes, Cunningham et al. But news accounts have mentioned a second hotel -- the Westin Grand -- as a favorite of Wilkes for entertaining lawmakers, their staff, and CIA officials with booze, food, cards and possibly prostitutes.

I have been calling the Westin Grand -- both the hotel and its corporate headquarters -- since yesterday afternoon, but they have yet to speak with me for the record. In fact, despite promises to do so, they have yet to return any of our calls requesting comment.

Lotta words. Little information:

Statement by CIA Director Porter Goss

This morning, I notified the President that I will be stepping aside as Director of CIA. It has been my distinct honor to serve the President, the people of the United States, and the very able men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency. I am grateful to President Bush for the trust and responsibility he placed in me, and for allowing me the privilege of serving him, and the people of the United States.

When the President asked me to become the last DCI, I fully recognized and embraced the challenge of leading this Agency through historic change, not just for the CIA, but the entire Intelligence Community. It was my desire to lead the CIA -- this is where I started my career, and where I always wanted to return.

Read More →

Here come the rumors.

Over at Warandpiece.com, Laura Rozen says she's hearing that Negroponte, or possibly the White House, gave Goss the boot, and it was sudden. That fits with what I'm hearing: that Goss didn't jump, or at least not without a nudge.

Rozen says she's been told Goss' departure "may have to do with how Goss handled a management issue concerning Foggo."

I've heard it a bit more bluntly: Goss was told to fire Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, his troublesome Executive Director, and Goss refused. That's what we're hearing now from knowledgeable sources. But there's a lot of contradictory information. We'll bring you more as the picture becomes clearer.

During his press conference just now, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) announced that he was leaving that afternoon to check in to the Mayo Clinic, where he admitted he'd been over the Christmas break for addiction to prescription medicine.



The reason, he said, is that "the incident on wednesday concerned me deeply.... I simply do not remember getting out of bed, being pulled over by the police, or being cited with three infractions." He said he was "deeply concerned about his reaction to the medication and lack of knowledge about the incident that evening."

Update: Here's the text of Kennedy's statement.

CIA says they're putting out a statement soon on Goss' resignation. My guess: it won't tell us the real reason he's stepping down. For that, Rozen speculates, we may need to look into the pages tomorrow's paper.

As we mentioned before, former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) was the first on CNN to mention a connection to Brent Wilkes' prostitution ring as the reason behind Porter Goss' sudden resignation. Here's the transcript:

Reporter: So why is President Bush accepting Porter Goss's resignation? What do you make of the timing of it?

Bob Barr: I think there's going to be more coming out. We don't know the whole story...

Reporter: But Congressman, there's something that doesn't make sense here, you know? There's something... I am wondering whether this resignation is something to come, Porter Goss wanted to get out of the way. Do you have any sense of that on Capitol Hill or from your sources in Washington?

Bobb Barr: We've seen brewing out of the congressman Duke Cunningham scandal, probably now for several months. It's starting to reach into the CIA and that come very... well... like a sore that's been festering, that could very well burst out and maybe that's a reach into the top levels of the agency.

Reporter: Are you saying the director himself, congressman?

Bobb Barr: I can't imagine that. I know Porter, I've known him for many years and I can't imagine him part of that. But if you've got the top two or three people at an agency working under him and he's going to put them in there and place the faith and the trust of the government in these people and then he becomes tainted by this, it certainly reflects on the leadership.

Bob Barr, thank you very much.

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