A Critical and Ignored 2008 Email by Ben Bernanke on the Lehman Collapse
Pam Martens and Russ Martens report in Wall Street on Parade:
A little noticed 2008 email from former Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, raises serious questions about his official narrative on the collapse of Lehman Brothers. We’ll get to the email in detail, but first some necessary background.
A lot of eyes rolled on Wall Street last October when Ben Bernanke, who chaired the Federal Reserve in the lead up to and during the financial collapse in 2008, released his memoir of the financial crisis with the title: “The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and its Aftermath.” Many Wall Street observers felt the title would have more correctly captured the facts on the ground had it read: “The Lack of Fed Courage to Supervise Mega Banks Led to an Epic Collapse.” (In the leadup to the crisis, the Fed allowed Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill and JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, to sit on the Board of its Federal Reserve Bank of New York, among numerous other conflicts of interest.)
Throughout his memoir, including Chapter 12 titled “Lehman: The Dam Breaks,” Bernanke goes to great pains to paint a portrait of the Fed and himself as being intensely on top of the situation at Lehman Brothers from March 2008 forward, following the Bear Stearns collapse and its absorption by JPMorgan Chase.
For example, Bernanke reveals that the Fed had placed bank examiners at Lehman Brothers, writing as follows:
“After JPMorgan Chase bought Bear, the New York Fed staff conferred frequently with the SEC and Lehman – up to three times per day. We would eventually send a small number of bank supervisors to Lehman and the other remaining investment banks.”
We also know that Bernanke was briefed in great detail on the Lehman situation by Fed economist Patrick M. Parkinson on July 20, 2008, almost two months before the Lehman bankruptcy, because Parkinson’s email was included among the thousands of pages of text and exhibits of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Report, the official analysis of the crisis. In that email, Parkinson wrote: . . .