By Elaine Magliaro
The honeymoon didn’t last long for Matt Taibbi at First Look Media. News broke last week that the investigative journalist had left the news organization and had returned to Rolling Stone, the magazine where he had previously worked for fifteen years. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill, and John Cook wrote an article about Taibbi’s leaving in their article titled The Inside Story of Matt Taibbi’s Departure from First Look Media over at The Intercept.
Taibbi joined First Look Media last February. He was supposed “to lead a digital magazine at the company that was going to be called Racket.” According to Tom Kludt of Talking Points Memo, “Taibbi’s seven months at First Look were stormy, and ended amid ongoing tension with higher-ups.”
Fans of Taibbi will be happy to know that he returned to Rolling Stone with a big story about “Alayne Fleischmann, the woman JPMorgan Chase paid one of the largest fines in American history to keep from talking.”
Here’s a link to Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article: The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase’s Worst Nightmare
Excerpt from Matt Taibbi’s article:
Fleischmann is the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion (not $13 billion as regularly reported – more on that later) to keep the public from hearing.
Back in 2006, as a deal manager at the gigantic bank, Fleischmann first witnessed, then tried to stop, what she describes as “massive criminal securities fraud” in the bank’s mortgage operations.
Thanks to a confidentiality agreement, she’s kept her mouth shut since then. “My closest family and friends don’t know what I’ve been living with,” she says. “Even my brother will only find out for the first time when he sees this interview.”
Six years after the crisis that cratered the global economy, it’s not exactly news that the country’s biggest banks stole on a grand scale. That’s why the more important part of Fleischmann’s story is in the pains Chase and the Justice Department took to silence her.
She was blocked at every turn: by asleep-on-the-job regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission, by a court system that allowed Chase to use its billions to bury her evidence, and, finally, by officials like outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, the chief architect of the crazily elaborate government policy of surrender, secrecy and cover-up. “Every time I had a chance to talk, something always got in the way,” Fleischmann says.
This past year she watched as Holder’s Justice Department struck a series of historic settlement deals with Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America. The root bargain in these deals was cash for secrecy. The banks paid big fines, without trials or even judges – only secret negotiations that typically ended with the public shown nothing but vague, quasi-official papers called “statements of facts,” which were conveniently devoid of anything like actual facts.
Taibbi Returns To Rolling Stone With Piece That Was ‘Supposed To Launch’ New Site (Talking Points Memo)