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Somebody at GM in the early part of this century had the kind of idea their corporate forebears had perfected in the generations before.

Pretending no one would ever find out about bad stuff.

And that always works well.

General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra said on Tuesday that she did not learn details about defective GM cars linked to 12 deaths until January 31, just two weeks after she took over as CEO and nearly 13 years after GM engineers first documented problems.

The automaker last month recalled more than 1.6 million cars from 2003 to 2007 to replace faulty ignition switches that could cause the engine to shut down and turn off the airbags. The first death linked to the defect occurred in Maryland in July 2005.

I’m sure the always successful legal defense of “whoops” will play out really well with those future juries.