The only question I have is if the AI is using the FOW. I can't say for certain that it isn't, but if the AI is using the FOW it gets really, really, really lucky every time it launches a colony ship towards a system and, "well look at that, a habitable planet - lucky me!" But I think I've read comments by Stardock saying the AI cannot see through the FOW.
I'm not sure if a "soak" game is different from a regular game, but I have seen the AI do things in a soak game that I think can be done only if the AI can see through part of the FOW or know things it shouldn't know. These are pre-Crusade games. I haven't tried one in Crusade yet.
I ran enough "soak" games to be convinced the AI that is playing the race I started with could see all habitable planets within 15 tiles of my (its) starting planet, but could not see any at 18 tiles and beyond. I never could determine anything for 16 and 17 tiles away. Also, the AI could send a freighter to planets that were many, many, many tiles away (well beyond the FOW and probably beyond its traveling range) and send constructors to Artifacts that were also far, far way.
The AI would also hire a good Mercenary ship and send it directly to undiscovered pirate shipyards to destroy them. It didn't seem to notice pirate ships until it got close to them, but not close enough to see them.
The AI was the one that took over the race I started with, so I could see what the AI could and couldn't see. I didn't use any other commands besides "soak". Again, I don't think the AI can do these things unless it knows more than it should based on the FOW. I should mention that I started the game with all AI on Normal.
If a "soak" game is supposed to be the same as a regular game, then there is probably some code buried somewhere that gives these bonuses, intentional or not, just like the code that Brad found that gave money by accident to the AI.