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$3M Whistleblower Settlement in CIA Kickback Case

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File photo of the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Va. (Credit: David Burnett/Newsmakers)

File photo of the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Va. (Credit: David Burnett/Newsmakers)

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Three companies that contract with the CIA agreed Thursday to pay $3 million to settle a whistleblower case accusing them of plying CIA employees with gifts to win jobs.

According to court records, American Systems Corp., Anixter International Inc., and Corning Cable Systems LLC sought to do the cabling and wiring of CIA facilities.

The lawsuit accused the companies of supplying expensive gifts to CIA workers in charge of the agency’s “Falcon” and “Buckeye” programs — the code names for CIA building projects.

They included trips to Mexico and Myrtle Beach, chartered fishing excursions, tickets to Redskins, Red Sox and Cubs games, deer hunting trips and golf excursions and other gifts, all in violation of federal law.

The CIA workers were also treated to scores of meals, according to the lawsuit, with the Hooters restaurant chain a favorite destination of the CIA project manager in charge of the “Falcon” and “Buckeye” programs.

The suit was first brought by a whistleblower, former Anixter sales representative William Jones of Arlington. Under the whistleblower law, Jones receives $585,000 for exposing the fraud.

When Jones complained of the lavish entertainment, a Corning official told him, “That’s how we get and keep the business. You’ve got to spend money to make money,” according to the lawsuit.

“Improper gifts and gratuities paid to government officials are a corrupting influence on government contracts. Combating this type of conduct is a high priority,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil MacBride, whose office joined in the case.

The lawsuit names nine CIA employees who allegedly received the illegal gratuities.

CIA spokesman Todd Ebitz said the case is under internal review and said it would be inappropriate to comment on the specific individuals’ status with the agency.

“The CIA has a rigorous process for ensuring that any allegation of misconduct is thoroughly investigated,” Ebitz said. “If a determination is made that an agency officer violated the public trust, appropriate action will be taken.”

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(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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