Big Banks Want Power to Declare Cyber War

Merger of Big Banks and National Security Power … What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Bloomberg reports:

Wall Street’s biggest trade group has proposed a government-industry cyber war council to stave off terrorist attacks that could trigger financial panic by temporarily wiping out account balances, according to an internal document.

The proposal by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, known as Sifma, calls for a committee of executives and deputy-level representatives from at least eight U.S. agencies including the Treasury Department, the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, all led by a senior White House official.

The trade association also reveals in the document that Sifma has retained former NSA director Keith Alexander to “facilitate” the joint effort with the government. Alexander, in turn, has brought in Michael Chertoff, the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, and his firm, Chertoff Group.


Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, declined to comment.


[Just-retired NSA Boss General Keith] Alexander had been pitching Sifma and other bank trade associations to purchase his services through his new consulting firm, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., for as much as $1 million per month, according to two people briefed on the talks.


Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, said today he was concerned that industry members in such a joint group could improperly get involved in pre-emptive strikes against a person or state planning an assault on the U.S.

“This could in effect make the banks part of what would begin to look like a war council,” Grayson said in an e-mail. “Congress needs to keep an eye on what something like this could mean.”

Congressman Grayson tweets:

Ex-NSA chief Keith Alexander wants to form a joint WH-bank war council. So now Wall Street gets to declare war?

There is cause for concern, given the following context:

  • Cyber war may lead to a shooting war. For example, Scientific American notes:

Department of Defense announcements that they intend to view cyber attacks as “acts of war” suggest a military force nearly itching to flex its muscle in response to a serious computer network–based disruption, if only as a means of deterrence.


Concerns about overreaction and the use of military force in response to digital intrusions often lead to discussions about the difficulty surrounding definitive attribution of these types of attack. If you want to retaliate, how do you know whom to hit? In our exercise intelligence pointed to Russia, but the evidence wasn’t clear-cut.

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  • human

    Crossing the Rubicon
    Michael Ruppert

    from chapter 3:

    The CIA is Wall Street. Wall Street is the CIA. This is perhaps one of the easiest landmarks to establish on our map. We do it by looking at key players in the CIA’s history and their relationships to America’s financial engine.

    Clark Clifford: The National Security Act of 1947 was written by Clark Clifford, a Democratic Party powerhouse, former secretary of defense, and one-time advisor to President Harry Truman. In the 1980s, as chairman of First American Bancshares, Clifford was instrumental in getting the corrupt CIA drug bank BCCI (founded by a Pakistani national) a license to operate on American shores. His profession: Wall Street lawyer and banker. BCCI and its particular web of characters have been a virtual cut-and-paste overlay linking up Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and terrorist financing. 3 It was Clark Clifford who was retained by former CIA Director Richard Helms when the latter was indicted and prosecuted for lying to Congress in 1976. 4

    Clifford and his banking partner Robert Altman were eventually indicted on criminal charges for their role in illegally helping BCCI purchase an American bank, First American Bancshares. At the time BCCI had been connected to both drug money laundering and financial support for Afghan rebels supported by the CIA through its director Bill Casey. 5

    John Foster and Allen Dulles: These two brothers “designed” the CIA for Clifford. Both were active in intelligence operations during World War II. Allen Dulles had been America’s top Office of Strategic Services (OSS) spy in Switzerland, where he met frequently with Nazi leaders and looked after US investments in Germany. He also held an executive position with Standard Oil. John Foster went on to become secretary of state under Dwight Eisenhower, and Allen served as CIA director under Ike, only to be fired by JFK after the abortive 1961 US-led covert invasion of Cuba known as the Bay of Pigs. Their professions: partners in the most powerful — to this day — Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell.

    Enron is only one of Sullivan and Cromwell’s current clients, and it employed a dozen “former” CIA officers before its fall from grace. 6 Other prominent Sullivan and Cromwell clients are AIG, Global Crossing, ImClone, Martha Stewart, and the Harvard Endowment.

    After the assassination of JFK in 1963, Allen Dulles became the staff director and lead investigator of the Warren Commission, which asserted that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin who had fired a bullet that had caused JFK’s throat wound, hung suspended in mid-air for several seconds, changed directions twice, then wounded Texas Governor John Connally in the chest, wrist, and thigh only to fall out of his body in nearly pristine condition on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital in Dallas about 30 minutes later. When asked about how he could have offered the Warren Report, full of inconsistencies, to the American people with straight face, Dulles is reported to have said, “The American people don’t read.”

    Bill Casey: Reagan’s CIA director and the OSS veteran who served as chief overt wrangler during the Iran-Contra years was, under Richard Nixon, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. His profession: Wall Street lawyer and stock trader.

    In 1984 ABC News was devoting serious attention to a CIA scandal in Hawaii connected to the investment firm BBRDW (Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham, and Wong). The BBRDW story was lifting a veil connected to money laundering, drugs, and the failed CIA drug bank named Nugan-Hand. Bill Casey and the CIA’s general counsel Stanley Sporkin put extreme pressure on both the network lid anchor Peter Jennings to stop their coverage. During the semi-public battle, ABC’s stock dropped from $67 to $59 a share, and by December, the firm Capital Cities was trying to buy the network. Capital Cities successfully completed the buyout of ABC in March of 1985, after which the CIA conveniently dropped a suit against the network.7

    Bill Casey had helped to found Capital Cities and had served both as its lawyer and as a member of its board of directors in the years between his service as SEC chairman for Nixon and as director of Central Intelligence for Reagan. ABC became known thereafter as “the CIA network.”

    Other sources, including the family of the late Colonel Albert Vincent Carone — about whom I have written extensively — confirm that Casey was a lifelong resident of Long Island and that Carone, a “made” member of the Genovese crime family, retired NYPD detective, and CIA operative, routinely exchanged insider trading information with Casey. Multiple witnesses have confirmed that Casey attended the christening of Carone’s grandson.

    Stanley Sporkin: Sporkin served as the CIA’s general counsel under Casey. But he had previously served for more than 20 years at the Securities and Exchange Commission, rising to the post of general counsel. Casey’s right-hand man, he was one of the first people Casey brought with him to the CIA in 1981. Almost all of Sporkin’s tenure at the SEC was spent in the enforcement division, charged with prosecuting corporate and stock fraud.

    During the Iran-Contra investigations it was revealed that Sporkin had routine contact with Lt. Col. Oliver North, who was later convicted on several felony counts including lying to Congress. 8 At times the e-mails between the two men, alluding to the 1920s comedy team Laurel and Hardy, read “To Stanley from Ollie.”

    After retiring as CIA general counsel in 1986, Sporkin was soon appointed a US district court judge in Washington, DC, where he presided over some of the most important trials (including Microsofts) in the country. He resigned from the bench in January of 2000 and joined the Wall Street law firm of Weill, Gotschall, and Manges, self-described as specializing in “Wall Street Management and Capital.” Weill, Gotschall, and Manges is currently serving as Enron’s bankruptcy counsel. Although Sporkin received praise for many of his decisions from anti-corporate critics such as Ralph Nader, he presided over a number of more nefarious cases, including that of former Federal Housing Commissioner Catherine Austin Fitts, whose firm Hamilton Securities had been targeted for malicious and unfounded harassment after uncovering evidence of covert operations that tied the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to drug operations, slush funds, “friendly” Wall Street interests, and political corruption.

    Fitts was the target of a 1996 qui tam whistleblower lawsuit, which allows charges to be filed under seal for 60 days while the Department of Justice (DoJ) investigates whether there is merit to the case. As a result, Fitts was nor allowed to know who had made allegations against her, or even what the allegations were. Sporkin extended that seal for five years, thereby turning a brief investigation peri-od into a nightmare that prevented Fitts and her attorneys from being able to know, or even address, an accuser or his allegations. Sporkin was able to do this with no evidence of any wrongdoing, yet his decisions in the case routinely favored the unnamed parties seeking to discredit Fitts and upheld illegal actions by the federal government, including the seizure of her company offices (a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment).

    During this period the government destroyed the company’s proprietary software tools and databases that documented community financial flows, and kept the backup tapes under the control of Sporkin-appointed trustees. Fitts has subsequently been completely exonerated (no formal charges were ever filed), and it has been officially admitted that there was no basis for any action against her in the first place. Fitts has also documented several attempts by the Department of Justice investigators to falsify or destroy evidence. According to Insight Magazine, Department of Justice and HUD officials admitted off the record that it was a political vendetta.

    After a nine-:year herculean struggle, Fitts is still in court defending against the qui tam lawsuit (indirectly supported all this time by generous government payments and contracts to the government informant who originally brought the suit) and trying to recover an estimated $2.5 million in funds owed to her company, Hamilton Securities. A court of claims ruling in 2004 concluded that the government had breached its contract with Hamilton by refusing to pay Hamilton’s outstanding invoices. DoJ has indicated that the government will not pay, but will appeal.

    Hamilton had successfully helped HUD auction defaulted home mortgages, saving the Federal Housing Administration Fund over $2.2 billion. 9 In 2001, after finally succeeding in getting the seal removed from the original lawsuit and obtaining some of the transcripts of sealed hearing — one crucial item was “missing” from court records, Fitts and her attorneys discovered that Sporkin, apparently frustrated at DoJ’S inability to make anything stick, had actively coached DoJ attorneys on how best to keep the case going in spite of its transparent lack of merit and that DoJ was taking contradictory positions in an unsealed case before a different judge in the same court.

    David Doherty, who replaced Sporkin as CIA general counsel in 1987, is now the executive vice president of the New York Stock Exchange, for Enforcement.

    A. B. “Buzzy” Krongard: until he joined the CIA in 1998, Krongard was the CEO of the investment bank Alex Brown. In 1997 he sold his interest in Alex Brown to Banker’s Trust, where he served as vice chairman until “joining” the CIA in 1998. A close friend of CIA Director George Tenet, the colorful, cigar-smoking former Marine specialized in private banking operations serving extremely wealthy clients. It has been heavily documented by official US government investigations into money laundering that private banking services are frequently used for the laundering of drug money and the proceeds of corporate crime.10 Private banking services were especially criticized in investigations of money laundering connected to the looting of Russia throughout the 1990s. 11

    John Deutch: Deutch retired from the CIA as its director in December 1996. He immediately accepted an offer to join the board of directors of the nation’s second largest bank, Citigroup, which has been repeatedly involved in the documented laundering of drug money. This includes Citigroup’s 2001 purchase of a Mexican bank known to launder drug money, Banamex. 12 Deutch narrowly escaped criminal prosecution after it was learned that he had kept a large number of classified CIA documents on non-secure personal computers at his private residence. 13

    Maurice “Hank” Greenberg: The CEO of American International Group (AIG) insurance and manager of the third largest pool of investment capital in the world was floated as a possible CIA director by Bill Clinton in 1995. 14 FTW exposed Greenberg’s and AIG’s long connection to CIA drug trafficking and covert operations in a two-part series that was interrupted by the attacks of September 11. Under Greenberg’s stewardship, an AIG subsidiary severely bent several laws in conjunction with the Arkansas Development Financial Authority (ADFA) to establish what many have alleged was a first-class money laundering operation for drug funds arising from CIA-connected cocaine smuggling into Mena, Arkansas, in the 1980s.

    In that series FTW reported that AIG employed in its San Francisco legal offices the wife of Medellin Cartel co-founder Carlos Lehder. I actually went to San Francisco and had lunch with her in the summer of 2001. Our investigations later disclosed that AIG had been tied to US covert operations going back to the World War II and conclusively linked to the heroin trade.15 We also reported that AIG owned and operated the largest private fleet of full-sized airliners and cargo planes on the planet.16

    As an illustrative example of how the quiet connections operate behind the scenes to conceal criminal activity, it was an AIG subsidiary, Lexington Insurance, that was involved in the ADFA deal and that also acted as the errors and omissions carrier for Catherine Austin Fitts’s Hamilton Securities. At the start of Fitts’s harassment by DOJ, Lexington reneged on obligations to pay Fitts’s attorneys, who then dropped out of the case. This effectively enabled the DoJ with support from Judge Stanley Sporkin to seize Hamilton’s computers and data, destroy the computers and software, and tie up the backup tapes for years. Those tapes likely contain data — originally supplied to Fitts by HUD — that could expose many illegal covert government operations.

    I was not surprised then when Greenberg — a staunch supporter of Israel — was chosen by the Council on Foreign Relations in 2002 to lead an investigation of terrorist financing. The CFR report, not surprisingly, was extremely critical of Saudi Arabia. 17

    Professor Peter Dale Scott of the University of California at Berkeley, author of many historically crucial books on covert operations and deep politics, observed in the early 1970s that six of the first seven CIA deputy directors were from the New York social register, and all seven deputy directors “under Walter Bedell Smith and Truman, came from New York legal and financial circles.” 18 The headquarters of the CIA’s World War II predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services, was in the New York financial district.

    • jo6pac

      Thank You

  • not authorized

    Abolish private banking via the Constitutional Convention. Mandate any banking must be public, and the currency must be designed with the people in mind.

  • Jeff S

    Biggest problem with “going cashless” is your money simply disappears without a trace. Who can say the banksters did not take it and blame hackers?

  • Artimus Maxtor

    “Jewish banking cartels” A Jewish controlled world banking system. Two of the most ignorant and unintellectual statements I have ever seen or heard. I have been in finance for over 20 years. I see people that think they know what they are doing. Then I see people that hack around and come up with those kinds of statements mentioned. In addition I have a Series 7 license. Your financial system makes absolutely no sense at all. They just throw stuff against the wall. People that follow the massive information system follow it. Believing it helps to make it stick against the wall.
    I give you Jimmy Carter. A fixed market basket of goods and 19 percent interest rates. All based on oil going up to a dollar a gallon. Versus now gas at 3.60 a gallon. 4 bucks in California and absolutely no inflation. Interest rates at an all time low. Also a stock market that has no reaction to all of that. Methinks someone does whatever the hell they want. I could add in the housing crash but what’s the point. I guess two wars didn’t add to inflation either. 2 that lasted longer than Vietnam. Bbbbut this and that. People that follow this stuff are confused as hell. I’m not confused. It just doesn’t make sense at all.

  • WilliamJ38748