After the massive intelligence failure that preceded the 9/11 attacks, no one was fired from the CIA. Not one agent, not one supervisor, not one corner office guy. In fact, their leader, CIA Director George Tenet, was given the Medal of Freedom by President Bush. What a nice gesture.
Eight years later, I imagine a similar medal is being crafted for former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, after a report detailing the failure of his investigators to stop Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme, despite a slew of red flags. Mary Schapiro, the current SEC Chairwoman, issued a statement yesterday calling the problem “a failure that we continue to regret." She claimed that there would now be better training, more attention to outside tips, a "new skill set" in place to prevent fraud like this in the future.
A new skill set. Like, for instance, following up on leads and tips from consumers and others inside the financial community about someone who's ripping off billions of dollars? That wasn't part of the job description already? Is it too much to expect that the agency charged with oversight of this activity actually oversee it and enforce the regulations?
Watch. While everyday people have had their lives ruined by this con man, the investigators who should have unearthed the scam and put a stop to it will still be around. Not one person will be fired from the SEC over this report.
Some of them will probably even be recruited by the CIA.