Bodies of Intelligence
Oh when there's too much of nothing,
No one has control - Bob Dylan
I'll need to finish my thoughts from Thursday's post over the next day or two, because there seem to be some wheels coming off as some stars come right that, for however long, may shine light again upon some of Washington's most secret dark places.
First, as DailyKos convincingly argues, the true scandal of the Duke Cunningham hooker story is likely the gender of the hookers. There are some very carefully parsed statements regarding Brent Wilkes' Watergate "hospitality suites," such as the claim of the lawyer for Shirlington Limo's Chris Baker that his client was "never in attendance in any party where any women were being used for prostitution purposes."
Cunningham staked out ground in Congress as a particularly gross character, describing his 1998 prostate operation as "just not natural, unless maybe you’re Barney Frank.” Frank noted that Cunningham "tends to frequently blurt out stuff on gay issues. He seems to be more interested in discussing homosexuality than most homosexuals." Two years earlier Cunningham had baited Frank on the Massachusetts Democrat's own hooker scandal, cutting him off in debate with "Would you like to talk about prostitutes and basements?" (Interestingly, it was only the Barney Frank angle that found any traction in the press and with the general public following The Washington Times' flap of child hookers on the Hill stories in 1989.)
But Cunningham is himself deeply and unhappily closeted, according to Chris Crain of The Washington Blade:
Cunningham, who is married with grown children, has admitted to romantic, loving relationships with men, both during his Vietnam military service and as a civilian. That was the remarkable story that this publication reported two years ago, when Elizabeth Birch, the former Human Rights Campaign leader, inadvertently outed Cunningham at a gay rights forum.
Birch never mentioned Cunningham’s name, but she talked about a rabidly anti-gay congressman who asked to meet privately with her in the midst of a controversy over his use in a speech on the floor of the House the term "homos" to describe gays who have served in the military. Alone with Birch and an HRC staffer, the unnamed congressman shared that he had loved men during his life. In telling the story, Birch offered up a few too many details about the closeted congressman.
As for Porter Goss, Cannonfire does an excellent job of linking his abrupt resignation to an ongoing investigation of the Cunningham fiasco through CIA Executive Director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo's ties to Brent Wilkes.
The CIA, of course, is the genuine Mac Daddy of Capitol Hill prostitution. If Craig Spence could talk, he would, and so he can't. The Agency's interest in prostitution as a tool of blackmail and political leverage happened before at the Watergate, and may have even be closer to the truth of Nixon's fall than the "second-rate burglary." So to the degree Goss and Foggo may be involved, I think it's safe to assume it wasn't for their own personal "stress management."
Also, coincidentally or not, Jeff Gannon chose this of all weeks to acknowledge publically for the first time that yes, in fact, he is a gay man. The admission came during the panel session of the Equality Forum, and was apparently so difficult for him he had trouble forming the words, even before a largely gay audience.
Gannon was asked where he slept during his White House overnights, but he was saved from responding by the moderators. It was the decent thing to do.