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President-elect Barack Obama has selected New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy F. Geithner as Treasury secretary, handing the post to a primary architect of the Bush administration's response to the financial crisis, according to Democratic and industry officials yesterday.
At 47, he is the same age as Obama and would represent a generational change in the highest levels of Washington economic policymaking, heading a remarkably young team of White House economic advisers tasked with sorting out one of the worst financial messes since the Great Depression.
A Democrat and a relative unknown outside the world of high finance, Geithner has worked closely with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. to devise responses to the most critical events of the market turmoil, including the bailouts of the investment bank Bear Stearns and the insurance giant American International Group. Like Paulson, Geithner believes that the Treasury should be given vast powers to develop experimental strategies for responding to the crisis and the flexibility to abandon them if they don't work.