Geithner insists he’s ‘the most f*****g transparent secretary’ in America’s ‘f*****g history’
The Huffington Post has published an excerpt from Barofsky’s upcoming book, "Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street,” and a quick read indicates that the Inspector General may not have had the prettiest of moments with the Obama-appointed secretary during the big TARP fiasco of a few years back. According to Barofsky, a disagreement over how money put aside for the Troubled Asset Relief Program was being disclosed to the public prompted Secretary Geithner to unleash on the IG with an onslaught of expletives that he says he’ll never forget.
Barofsky writes that a back-and-forth that revolved around his own questioning of how TARP funds were being spent quickly heated up, and at one point Geithner gave him a very explicit piece of his mind. Barofsky says he questioned the Treasury Department’s transparency on the matter, an allegation to which Geithner was apparently very passionate about.
"I said that I thought our capacity as a nation to deal with what could be a continuing financial crisis was being undermined by a loss of faith in government," Barofsky writes. "Then I said that the current loss of government credibility could be traced to Treasury's mishandling of TARP."
"Geithner got dramatic," Barofsky writes. And — according to the accounts published in the book — Geithner was quick to call out Barofsky’s bluff.
"'Neil, you think I don't hear those criticisms? I hear them,” the book reads. “’And each one, they cut me,' he said, pausing and then making an emphatic cutting motion with one hand as he said 'like a knife.'"
Barofsky says he then took the matter up with a subordinate of the secretary, Herb Allison, confirming exactly what his statement meant.
"I am not suggesting that the secretary has failed in transparency, I am stating it. Mr. Secretary, you've failed to be sufficiently transparent, and that is one of the reasons why people are so angry. But you can still fix it,” Barofsky remembers saying.
"Neil, I have been the most fucking transparent secretary of the Treasury in this country's entire fucking history!" he recalls Geithner yelling at him.
"'No one has ever made the banks disclose the type of shit that I made them disclose after the stress tests. No one! And now you're saying that I haven't been fucking transparent?'"
Barofsky recalls that, at that point, "Geithner looked as if he was going to get out of his chair and throttle me."
"I never would have imagined that one day one of the most powerful government officials in the world would be dropping f-bombs on me,” Barofsky writes.