Neil Barofsky: Timothy Geithner resorts to ‘faux outrage and straw men’


Neil Barofsky, former Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), has written a book called Bailout. Last night Charlie Rose asked U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner about the book. Transcript:

Rose: [Barofsky] raises this question, “Was Tim Geithner too friendly to the banks uh because he knew them from his years at the New York Fed.”

Geithner: You know, I’m deeply offended by that. I find that deeply offensive. You know, it’s the result of a urban myth, uh, significantly. A lot of people thought and wrote in publications of record that I spent my life at Goldman Sachs rather than as a public servant, which is what I’d done with my life. A lot of people thought the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was a bank — a private bank — rather than the fire station of the financial system. And people were deeply misled about the basic choices we faced and the alternatives we confronted in that context. A lot of people, including many of my critics, said we went out and gave and lost trillions of dollars of the American taxpayers’ money at that time.  Deeply misleading, terribly damaging to confidence.  And the cost of that has been very damaging to the President and I think damaging to the integrity of the basic effort. What, again, what we try to do is protect…

Rose: Why do you think that’s true? Why do you think that urban myth is out there?

Geithtner: Because it was convenient for the critics, I don’t know.

Rose: But you have a pulpit. He has a pulpit, and…

Geithner: But it was a clean verifiable factual thing. And not fair. Not fair to the President and not fair to me…

This morning, Barofsky took to Twitter to criticize Geithner’s comments. Specifically, Barofsky said he never claimed that Secretary Geithner spent his life working at Goldman Sachs, and never claimed that TARP would cost U.S. taxpayers “trillions of dollars”:

@ComfortablySmug right out of the play book I describe in Bailout. Faux outrage and straw men (e,g., I never said he worked at GS)

— Neil Barofsky (@neilbarofsky) July 24, 2012

It's actually remarkably disappointing (if not surprising) that Geithner resorted to petty mischaracterizations instead of addressing issues

— Neil Barofsky (@neilbarofsky) July 24, 2012

Related: Neil Barofsky’s Bailout: Why TARP Failed