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The source of today's pain is the same as it was in America's previous financial collapses: the unbridled greed of economic elites, enabled by their political courtesans in Washington.
This unbridling has been the long-sought goal of a cabal of deregulation ideologues who dwell in laissez-fairyland. During the past two decades, they have relentlessly pushed their economic fantasies into law.
The Bush administration is rejecting FBI pleas for more agents to investigate crimes that helped trigger the global financial meltdown, bureau sources said this week.
"They are bogged down big-time or there would be some indictments by now," said a recently retired bureau official who played a pivotal role in setting FBI policy after 9/ 11.
The FBI's response to the meltdown stands in sharp contrast to past financial crises, he said. "There are three comparable things ... the S&L crisis, corporate fraud like Enron and health care fraud. There was a clear, well-delineated effort there. I don't see it here."
The administration -- in reinventing the FBI after the 2001 terrorist attacks -- shifted about 2,400 agents from traditional crime-fighting squads to counterterrorism units, according to a Seattle P-I analysis of FBI data. At least 1,700 of those agents haven't been replaced, and the latest Bush budget continues that trend.
The P-I has chronicled the result for the past 18 months, finding a dramatic drop in the number of crimes investigated by the FBI nationwide.
An FBI official in a position to know said Thursday that efforts to keep the problem before the administration and Congress are continuing.
"People are making sure that Congress and the administration are aware of the issues we are facing," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
He said that it is unclear how many more agents are needed to address the mortgage meltdown and related corporate fraud, because the full scope of the problem has yet to be uncovered. However, just on the basis of the current cases, the bureau needs at least 300 to 400 more agents investigating the financial crisis, the official said.
Bush's proposed budget calls for increasing FBI funding in 2009 by $451 million, to $7.1 billion. That includes funding 280 additional agents for national security programs, but adding none for criminal programs.
Originally posted by budski
If an ordinary person fills out a mortgage application and puts down false details, it's called fraud.
When the friends of the bush administration do it, they get bailed out, get big bonuses, and any attempt to investigate them is impeded.