The Importance of ‘Nine Fingers’: Second Powerful Goss Aide Linked to Wilkes Parties

Over the weekend, Newsweek magazine revealed the identity of another CIA official — previously known only as “Nine Fingers” — who reportedly attended the poker parties, that allegedly featured prostitutes, thrown by corrupt defense contractor Brent Wilkes

His name is Brant Bassett. He is identified by Newsweek only as “a former Goss aide,” but that’s an understatement. Congressional expenditure reports show he was actually the staff director of the House Intelligence Committee while Porter Goss was committee chairman. Bassett is the second Goss aide to be linked to the parties, in addition to Kyle “Dusty” Foggo.

What’s important to keep in mind is the heavy role that top aides have played in influencing Goss’ decisions. Both in Congress and while heading the CIA, news reports have suggested that Goss played a hands-off role, delegating his responsibilities to powerful staffers like Patrick Murray. Weeks after Goss was initially appointed as CIA Director, “Goss’ closest aides” were already being accused of wanting “to micromanage decisions.” Goss rewarded those aides by creating powerful, high-profile positions for them to fill:

Goss didn’t just give them top positions in the agency, he invented new posts for them, as mediators between the DCI and the intelligence and operations directorates. “They are not positions that are rigorously defined in agency regulations,” observes Steven Aftergood, an intelligence policy expert with the Federation of American Scientists. “Rather, they are invested with whatever authority Goss wants to give them, which means they could be very important indeed.”

So, there are now two powerful Goss aides, Basset and Foggo, that were squarely within Wilkes’s sphere of influence and are linked to parties being aggressively investigated by the FBI.

Yet, the White House wants the media and the public to believe that Goss’s sudden resignation had nothing to do with the emerging bribery and postitution scandal. The more we learn, the more implausiable the official version of the story becomes.