The Vatican announced on Monday that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning at the end of February. The 85 year old pontiff said he can no longer keep up with his responsibilities. The announcement came as a surprise. Benedict is the first pope to resign in over 600 years.
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The report cast a sharp glare on the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that Eric Holder's justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable. It revealed Breuer to be an arrogant twit who insisted the DOJ couldn’t prosecute despite a plethora of evidence of crimes presented in the show.
From Frontline's interview with Breuer:
NARRATOR: FRONTLINE spoke to two former high-level Justice Department prosecutors who served in the Criminal Division under Lanny Breuer. In their opinion, Breuer was overly fearful of losing.
MARTIN SMITH: We spoke to a couple of sources from within the Criminal Division, and they reported that when it came to Wall Street, there were no investigations going on. There were no subpoenas, no document reviews, no wiretaps.
LANNY BREUER: Well, I don’t know who you spoke with because we have looked hard at the very types of matters that you’re talking about.
MARTIN SMITH: These sources said that at the weekly indictment approval meetings that there was no case ever mentioned that was even close to indicting Wall Street for financial crimes.
LANNY BREUER: Well, Martin, if you look at what we and the U.S. attorney community did, I think you have to take a step back. Over the last couple of years, we have convicted Raj Rajaratnam. Now, you’ll say that’s an insider trading case, but it’s clearly going after Wall Street. We—
MARTIN SMITH: But it has nothing to do with the financial crisis, the meltdown, the packaging of bad mortgages that led to the collapse, that led to the recession.
LANNY BREUER: Well, first of all, I think that the financial crisis, Martin, is multi-faceted. And what we’ve had is a multi-pronged, multi-faceted response. And it’s simply a fiction to say that where crimes were committed, we didn’t pursue the cases. And that’s why, where crimes were committed, you have more people in jail today for securities fraud, bank fraud and the like than ever before.
MARTIN SMITH: But no Wall Street executives.
LANNY BREUER: No Wall Street executives.
"More people in jail today for securities fraud, bank fraud and the like than ever before," not true, Mr. Breurer.
In the wake of the savings and loan debacle in the 1980s, special government task forces referred 1,100 cases to prosecutors, resulting in more than 800 bank officials going to jail. Among the best-known: Charles H. Keating Jr., of Lincoln Savings and Loan in Arizona, and David Paul, of Centrust Bank in Florida.
Then, the DOJ threatened Frontline that they would take their cookies and go home, never to cooperate with them again, see the tweets below:
Next, this ridiculous piece appeared in the Washington Post announcing Breuer’s imminent departure that paints him as some sort of persecuted white knight:
"A former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Breuer came to the Justice Department well versed in white-collar crime. He has been a driving force behind the prosecution of banks involved in rigging the global interest rate known as Libor. His efforts helped produce a $1.5 billion settlement with UBS and led to criminal indictments against two of the bank’s former traders in December."
In all, not a bad day's work for Martin Smith. But no doubt Breuer's replacement will be another balding guy in a suit just like him.