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So here we are, the week between Christmas and New Years. This is a slow news time (as David Dayen noted here), yet it is a classic time for “take out the trash” type news dumps.
For example, last Friday (December 23) CNN had this article on how the CIA had absolved itself after having “partnered” with the New York Police Department:
The Central Intelligence Agency announced Friday that an internal report found no issue or evidence of wrong-doing in the spy agency’s partnership with the New York City Police Department.
“The CIA inspector general has completed a review of the CIA’s relationship with the NYPD and has found no violation of law or executive order on the part of CIA,” said agency spokesman Preston Golson. “The IG also found no evidence that any part of the agency’s support to the NYPD constituted ‘domestic spying.’”
Marcy Wheeler responded here.
Then on Christmas Day, the NY Times reported that the Pentagon was following the lead of the CIA and had absolved itself for using military “experts” TV analysts to push their perspectives:
A Pentagon public relations program that sought to transform high-profile military analysts into “surrogates” and “message force multipliers” for the Bush administration complied with Defense Department regulations and directives, the Pentagon’s inspector general has concluded after a two-year investigation.
The inquiry was prompted by articles published in The New York Times in 2008 that described how the Pentagon, in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks, cultivated close ties with retired officers who worked as military analysts for television and radio networks. The articles also showed how military analysts affiliated with defense contractors sometimes used their special access to seek advantage in the competition for contracts. In response to the articles, the Pentagon suspended the program and members of Congress asked the Defense Department’s inspector general to investigate.
Nothing to see here, move along.
Of course, the whitewash brushing is not at all limited to government agencies. You may or may not be aware of the Olympus Scandal but I just know you will be relieved to hear that a panel set-up by accounting giant Ernst & Young has absolved Ernst & Young auditors from any complicity in the scandal:
A panel reviewing the auditing of Olympus Corp after its $1.7 billion accounting scandal said it had so far not found any problems with the work of Ernst & Young’s Japanese arm and questioned the accuracy of a separate investigation critical of auditors.
But the panel, set up by Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC earlier this month, acknowledged that its powers of investigation were limited. The hurdles include an inability to question prior auditor, KMPG AZSA LLC, which does not want to participate in the probe.
The LA Times this morning reported that the state Blue Shield program is going to pay a whopping $2 million to settle charges of dropping policyholders who had the audacity to get sick and need expensive treatment. As we’ve seen with the banks these past few years, if you can’t get the actual whitewash, then getting to settle for cheap money and no admissions of any type of guilt of any sort is the next best thing. And $2 million is indeed cheap. From the LA Times article:
The settlement, announced Wednesday by Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, ends an investigation into more than 1,000 so-called rescissions by Blue Shield, a San Francisco-based not-for-profit company.
Blue Shield spokesman Steve Shivinsky said the firm settled to avoid litigation.
In the only rescission case to go to a verdict, Patsy Bates, a hairdresser, won a $9-million judgment against Health Net in 2008 over that company’s rescission of her policy after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Evidence showed the company paid bonuses to an employee based in part on rescission volume.
Gee, I just can’t imagine why Blue Shield would want to avoid litigation on these cases.
And because I can: