During the latest State of the Union one moment literally made nearly jump up and cheer. The point where Obama said that he would be putting together a task force to look into Wall Street abuses.
"I'm asking my attorney general to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans."
Naturally, I had some skepticism. Then I learned that this task force was to be headed by NY Attorney General Eric Schniederman who's been giving Wall Street Hell for months and helped torpedo the planned WS Settlement.
This probably explains why Tim Geithner looked like he swallowed a cat all evening, and also why he won't be returning for a 2nd Obama term. The News is so good, that Matt Tiabbi when interviewed on Countdown looks practically giddy. I mean really, look at him.
Tiabbi: This could mean a lot of people on Wall Street - Do Time
Oh Lordy, we are through the looking glass now people.
This is what MoveOn.org said about Schniederman's appointment.
"Just weeks ago, this investigation wasn't even on the table, and the big banks were pushing for a broad settlement that would have made it impossible. … This is truly a huge victory for the 99% movement."
This is truly huge, yet the American Media has hardly reacted at all. I had to go to The Guardian to get a report about it.
We'll know this is real, if and when, prosecutors and FBI agents finally have a sit down talk with former CountryWide VP, Eileen Foster and former Citigroup VP Richard Bowen who laid out chapter and verse exactly how Wall Street and shady lenders systematically scammed and then crashed the country.
Steve Kroft: Do you believe that there are people at Countrywide who belong behind bars?
Eileen Foster: Yes.
Kroft: Do you want to give me their names?
Kroft: Would you give their names to a grand jury if you were asked?
But Eileen Foster has never been asked - and never spoken to the Justice Department - even though she was Countrywide's executive vice president in charge of fraud investigations. At the height of the housing bubble, Countrywide Financial was the largest mortgage lender in the country and the loans it made were among the worst, a third ending up in foreclosure or default, many because of mortgage fraud.
It was Foster's job to monitor and investigate allegations of fraud against Countrywide employees and make sure they were reported to the board of directors and the Treasury Department.
Kroft: How much fraud was there at Countrywide?
Foster: From what I saw, the types of things I saw, it was-- it appeared systemic. It, it wasn't just one individual or two or three individuals, it was branches of individuals, it was regions of individuals.
Kroft: What you seem to be saying was it was just a way of doing business?
Richard Bowen: There are things that obviously went on in this crisis, and decisions that were made, that people need to be accountable for.
Kroft: Why do you think nothing's been done?
Bowen: I don't know.
Until 2008, Richard Bowen was a senior vice president and chief underwriter in the consumer lending division of Citigroup. He was responsible for evaluating the quality of thousands of mortgages that Citigroup was buying from Countrywide and other mortgage lenders, many of which were bundled into mortgage-backed securities and sold to investors around the world. Bowen's job was to make sure that these mortgages met Citigroup's own standards - no missing paperwork, no signs of fraud, no unqualified borrowers. But in 2006, he discovered that 60 percent of the mortgages he evaluated were defective.
Kroft: Were you surprised at the 60 percent figure?
Bowen: Yes. I was absolutely blown away. This-- this cannot be happening. But it was.
Kroft: And you thought that it was important that the people above you in management knew this?
Bowen: Yes. I did.
Kroft: You told people.
Bowen: I did everything I could, from the way-- in the way of e-mail, weekly reports, meetings, presentations, individual conversations, yes.
But creating defective hand-granade mortgages via Companies like Countrywide, then dumping those mortgages onto the market, and short selling against them was the plan. Of course people at Citigroup already knew.
Every American should know. And those responsible for this Fraud perpetrated on the American people should be prosecuted.
8:28 AM PT: Rachel Maddow Interview with Schniederman from Last Night.