Friday, April 17, 2009

State of Risk Management Consulting: Patently Laughable

While the Bush administration allowed financial terrorists to implode citizen's retirement accounts, a subset trained their eyes on non-Wall Street terror threats. Homeland Security leaders included Michael Chertoff and Frances Townsend. Both made major private sector moves.

Michael Chertoff started The Chertoff Group in an alliance with Burson-Marsteller, a bipartisan opinion influencer, a.k.a influence peddler. The Burson-Marsteller stable includes blue Mark Penn alongside red Karen Hughes and newly landed Dana Perino. Hughes was charged with improving America's standing in the Muslim world. For failing miserably, Karen got a high dollar private sector slot. Dana was hired for playing dumb during every crisis, but especially for her cluelessness in the Wall Street implosion.

Most new start consulting firms can't immediately hire expensive talent. Did Burson bankroll The Chertoff Group's hiring Michael Hayden and two of Chertoff's former Homeland Security Deputies? What about clients? The ones needing advise on "a range of security concerns, including cyber security, terrorism, fraud, border protection and supply-chain security. Chertoff Group also plans to offer consulting services on mergers and acquisitions in the security field, as well as due diligence support."

Chertoff will have competition from Baker Botts new consulting arm. James A. Baker, III's law firm hired Frances Fragos Townsend as partner. She'll head a new practice group called Global Security and Corporate Risk Counseling. Fran will advise Baker Botts clients on government investigations. The news broke on April 1st, surely a cruel joke considering the whitewashes Mr. Baker and Ms. Townsend foisted on the American public.

Baker covered for Lord John Browne of BP-Texas City explosion fame. Browne not only avoided direct responsibility for 15 deaths, he landed a cush job at Riverstone Holdings, a Carlyle Group joint venture.

Fran omitted Memorial Medical Center from her Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned report. That move left out Tenet Health's 10 deaths and LifeCare Hospitals' 24 deaths. LifeCare was acquired by The Carlyle Group weeks before landfall. I'm sure President George W. Bush's tenure as board member in the mid 1990's for Carlyle affiliate CaterAir never arose.

James A. Baker, III and Frances Fragos Townsend offered two whitewashes with curious links to The Carlyle Group. Carlyle Co-founder David Rubenstein is dancing hard to minimize the risk of regulation for private equity underwriters. Will he hire the Chertoff or Baker Botts? David knows how to purchase influence.

Update 8-14-13:  General Michael Hayden remains unaccountable for his role in turning the U.S. into a pervasive surveillance state.  How much did his net worth increase since he ceased "public service?"  As for declaring financial conflicts of interest, that's so passe. 

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