Administration's Protection: AP's Gordon Turns 'Liebor' Hearing Into a Partisan Exercise

No matter how inane or damning his comments and answers to inquiries, it appears that Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner can continue to count on favorable coverage from the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, aka the Administration's Protection.

The AP's Marcy Gordon, with the help of her story's headline writer, made Geither's appearance before the House Committee on Financial Services all about partisanship until near the very end. Incredibly, she also relayed a very important question committee members asked about Geithner's use of an interest rate he knew was being lowballed by British banks as the basis for determining the interest rate on Treasury bailout loans while he was still head of the New York branch of the Federal Reserve Bank -- but didn't tell readers what his answer was. Excerpts follow (bolds are mine):


GOP: Geithner failed to tell Congress about LIBOR (Geithner's failure to inform is an objective fact, no matter who asserts it -- Ed.)

Republican lawmakers are criticizing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for failing to alert Congress four years ago that banks could have been manipulating a key global interest rate.

Geithner defended his actions at a hearing Wednesday of the House Financial Services Committee.

Geithner, who was then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said he immediately alerted U.S. and British regulators in 2008 when he learned of problems with the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR. He also said the problems were written about in the financial media.

Stop right there.

Really, Tim? Although "financial media" outlets were questioning the accuracy of LIBOR, which has recently come to be known as "Liebor," who then was alleging -- with evidence of the type Geithner failed to reveal to anyone besides financial industry insiders -- that the rate was being manipulated? The answer is: no one.

Continuing, with an item late in the report which directly contradicts the AP's headline, followed by the question Gordon noted but for which she didn't provide an answer:

Britain's Barclays bank admitted last month that it had submitted false information to keep the rate low. The bank was fined $453 million in settlements with U.S. and British regulators, and its chief executive resigned.

Documents show the New York Fed learned in 2007 that Barclays was manipulating the rate.

... Republicans weren't the only members questioning Geithner on the LIBOR scandal. Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., wanted to know whether Geithner had informed the Justice Department about the problems.

Geithner said he did not.

Some GOP lawmakers also asked Geithner why, as president of the New York Fed, he used a rate he knew in 2008 to be flawed as the basis for billions of dollars in bailout loans to big financial companies in the crisis.

Gosh, I'm also wondering why, Marcy. Why in the heck didn't you tell us what Geithner's answer was?

Here's why: It's embarrassing, and also exposes the Treasury Secretary of the United States to valid charges of a form of corruption, namely helping (as the New York Fed chair with key jurisdiction) to give Treasury bailout loan recipients lower rates than they were ethically and perhaps even legally entitled to receive. Bloomberg News reported Geithner's pathetic answer:

Hensarling asked Geithner why the New York Fed continued to use Libor once it was aware of concerns about the benchmark.

“We had to make a basic choice among alternatives at that time, and I think that was the right” one, Geithner said.

Really, a rate that he knew was being manipulated was still the "right" one to use. Gosh, it also "just so happened" to be the lowest one.

The AP, which these days seems first and foremost to be about the Administration's Protection, apparently didn't want readers to know that answer. Instead of marching on the houses of executives receiving bonuses at AIG, one of the beneficiaries of the artificially low rate, outraged leftists should have been picketing Geithner's digs with their placards and bullhorns. After all, the Geithner-sanctioned low rate might have freed up the money to enable those bonuses to be paid.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.