A former high-ranking CIA official pleaded guilty Monday to abusing his influence within the agency to direct lucrative contracts toward an old friend who showered him with tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts.

Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, 53, of Vienna, Va., struck a deal in U.S. District Court, pleading guilty to a single count of wire fraud for "depriving the United States and its citizens of their right to his honest services."

As part of the plea, prosecutors dropped 27 other counts against him and agreed to seek a prison term no longer than three years and a month.

Foggo was the agency's third-highest ranking officer from 2004 to 2006 and responsible for its daily operations. He will be sentenced on Jan. 8 and faces up to 20 years in prison. However, it is far more likely that U.S. District Judge James Cacheris will impose a sentence more closely in line with the three-year term recommended by prosecutors.

Foggo was not charged with taking bribes, but prosecutors said in court papers that he received up to $70,000 worth of gifts from his friend Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor. The gifts included expensive dinners at gourmet steakhouses and free vacations for Foggo and his family in Scotland and Hawaii.

He and his lawyer declined comment after the hearing.

The case against Foggo resulted from an investigation of former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., who admitted taking bribes from Wilkes. Cunningham pleaded guilty and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison. Wilkes was convicted and sentenced to 12 years.

Prosecutors said Foggo had a standing offer of high-paying employment with Wilkes if he ever left the CIA. In return, prosecutors said Foggo helped Wilkes' company obtain multiple contracts from the CIA and conceal the contractor's connections to the deal.

According to court papers, one contract was for the delivery of bottled water overseas where Foggo was a supervisor. The contract amount was not disclosed, but prosecutors said the price reflected a 60 percent markup.

Among the charges dropped were allegations that Foggo pulled strings to get his mistress hired by the CIA and stationed close to him.

Foggo was subdued in court Monday when he entered his guilty plea and answered questions from the judge acknowledging that he understood the consequences. He remains free on bond pending his sentencing.

The plea comes three weeks after prosecutors complained that Foggo was threatening to expose the cover of practically every agent with whom he had contact as part of his defense.

CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said the agency cooperated with investigators but declined to comment on specifics of the case.