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October 18, 2004

Feeling safer yet?
Posted by Teresa at 02:04 AM * 22 comments

The story is that Joseph Grano, Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, was simultaneously helping formulate American security strategy, and working as a top executive at an international banking firm that was busted and fined over $100 million for making improper cash transfers to rogue nations currently subject to US economic sanctions—that’s including Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Cuba—and for deception in trying to cover up the transfers. That’s one of the largest fines the Federal Reserve has ever levied.

I suggest that the administration’s treatment of Joseph Grano will be a good index of how serious they actually are are about homeland security.

Comments on Feeling safer yet?:
#1 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2004, 02:29 AM:

Coming on the heels of the news about the TSA's lavish bonuses, one hopes this does the Bushies no good at all.

#2 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2004, 03:03 AM:

UBS is a huge organization. I have acquaintances in Zurich who work in IT for them, and for all I know their system transmitted the wire transfers. This doesn't make them responsible for the actual effect of said transfers.

I'm not usually one to make excuses for Bush appointees, but the guy who was in charge of the Paine Weber integration (Grano) is not always going to be aware of what the gnomes in der Schweiz are up to at any given moment.

Now, if it comes out that he was connected to any of these transfers or physical shipments of cash, he should be horsewhipped.

#3 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2004, 12:25 PM:

It's unlikely the current administration will have to do anything effective about this -- the legal system grinds slowly enough that they won't have to even say anything until after the election unless they want to. "We believe in Mr. Grano's right to a fair trial in the courts, and we believe he is innocent until proven guilty."

#4 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2004, 02:25 PM:

Larry, that's quite true. I am strongly reminded of Paul Erdman who spent 9 months is an Swiss jail for something his Swiss banker employees did without his knowledge.

#5 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2004, 05:10 PM:

If the group caught doing something illegal wasn't in his direct line of command, I'll buy that argument, Larry. But otherwise...

When companies don't have good management systems to assure compliance, the execs who chose not to implement good management systems are to blame. That's why they make the big bucks.


#6 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2004, 06:44 PM:

Laura - Mostly, I agree, but for me, the key tests, any of which are sufficent, are:

1. Did the manager order the illegal act?
If so, obviously responsible.

2. Was the manager aware of the illegal act?
If so, responsible for any cover-up. May also be responsible for the act itself - see #3.

3. Did the manager create a system of incentives and absence of controls that made the illegal act an attractive option for his employees or that made a foreseeable illegal act impossible to detect?
If so, responsible for the act through his or her failure to be a good manager.

I don't know where jusrisprudence stands on this one, but a simple claim of ignorance of illegal acts shouldn't be exculpatory. That is, unless you're Dick Cheney...

#7 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2004, 07:13 PM:

There will probably be some kind of spin that will try to create the illusion that the entire situation was created by the Democrats (possibly even working as insiders in the company) to further show the poor judgement of Bush. If it gets much press at all before the election, that is.

#8 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2004, 08:10 PM:

For what it's worth, UBS is a Swiss bank. Doing business with Iran or Cuba is not a crime in Switzerland, or in any country except the USA.

#9 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2004, 12:27 AM:

Well summarized, Larry. I wasn't being very articulate, but that was the basic idea I was trying to get at.


#10 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2004, 02:12 AM:

UBS is one of our more annoying clients.

#11 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2004, 08:36 AM:

Linkmeister: I hope you're right, but I'm afraid no one is paying attention to scandals involving money right now, since the right has jumped on the huge scandal! of Kerry's using the word "lesbian" to describe a woman who is openly lesbian. Sex always sells better, I guess.

Incidentally, I've never felt safe with Bush in power. I've never felt like he's a protective father figure, not even secretly. If, may the Lord forbid, another terrorist attack occurs before election day, it will only cement my resolve to vote Kerry. Maybe I should be more cynical, but I think Kerry would appoint Homeland Security people who know what they're doing. And who possibly don't enable large cash transfers to rogue nations.

#12 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2004, 10:02 AM:

Caroline, ITA. I don't feel safer either.
I'm seeing this through my wierd glasses, but to me Bush feels like an early, watered-down Ferdinand Marcos. Again that's just me-- Marcos was in power throughout my formative years in the Philippines; I don't have much else to compare by. But tactics -- Marcos used the threat of communist insurgents / bombings to curtail civil liberties until finally imposing martial law on the eve of elections (and that was the end of that elections). Marcos was famous for crony capitalism. Marcos was great at manipulating the fears of the common people. The big diference is probably that Marcos was always a realist. I don't think he ever bought his own hype. (Imelda, on the other hand ...)

#13 ::: Amy Thomson ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2004, 10:14 AM:

I see the resemblance between Marcos and Bush too, Mayakda. I knew that something about Bush's style was familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on just what it was. But now that you've said it, the connection has been made. Bush and Marcos posess that same sense of "if I say it often enough, it becomes true."

#14 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2004, 11:57 AM:

Someone should check Laura's shoe closet....

#15 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2004, 07:06 PM:

Imelda Marcos never committed vehicular homicide, though.

#16 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2004, 07:13 PM:

Imelda Marcos never committed vehicular homicide, though.

Not for lack of trying. I worked in 40 Wall Street (NYC) while it was owned by Imelda. The elevators in that building would often abruptly rise by as much as 18 inches while stopped at a floor with the doors open, flinging anyone unlucky enough to be stepping on or off at the time across the elevator lobby.

Everybody took to jumping on or off the elevators. No kidding. It would have been funny if it wasn't so scary.

That was one of the main reasons my (then) employer (a large law firm) chose to abandon the building they had been in for decades.

#17 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 19, 2004, 07:52 PM:

Mayakda, please email me at mjlayman at I have your Peacekeepers War tape.

#18 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 09:07 AM:

I wuv you!!!!
Email coming your way ...

#19 ::: TomR ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2004, 10:36 AM:

Speaking of executives at the top choosing to remain clueless: Ridge does not think Grano was obligated to keep him informed? Oh yeah, that explains a lot.

This just in --- islamo-fascist terrorists are planning to kill you while you sleep unless you dream of re-electing the president.

#20 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 08:53 AM:

Bush and Marcos posess that same sense of "if I say it often enough, it becomes true."

Amy, I'm both validated by someone else seeing the resemblance, and completely apalled that it's not all my projection. Although all that news about arresting people who wear anti-Bush shirts to Bush rallies was another big honking clue.


Someone should check Laura's shoe closet....
I wonder if all that's in her closets are spare parts and wd-40. She seems more and more Stepfordish every month.


Imelda Marcos never committed vehicular homicide, though.

Not for lack of trying

Heh. If she actually ever drove herself, instead of being driven around in limos, she might have. She actually has quite a body count, according to rumor. Nothing ever proven, of course.


I apologize for the anti-Marcos vitriol. I'm rather surprised at myself to discover that the bitterness still runs so deep after 18 years.

#21 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 10:52 PM:

mayakda: Or, as the old joke has it:

"I don't understand why Corazon Aquino won't let Ferdinand Marcos come home to die. After all, he let her husband come home to die...."

Apropos of the original TSA content of this thread, also, at one time there was a NOTAM that Marcos's ashes could not be flown in a US-registered aircraft.

#22 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2004, 10:54 PM:

Oops, I was slightly off on the content of the NOTAM. Google Groups to the rescue:


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