Thursday, September 17, 2009

Anonymous Source Watch: Washington Post (Thursday, September 17)

From Finance Chief, a Bill That My Weather the Blows (A1)
By Ceci Connolly

Anonymous Quote #1
"There will be a lot of horse-trading, and it will not be pretty," said one White House aide who is not authorized to discuss the administration's strategy. "This is all about steps that move us forward."

Biden Pushes Iraqi Leaders on Vote Law, Oil-Bid Perks (A16)
By Scott Wilson

Anonymous Quote #1
A senior administration official said Biden also made his interests known on a variety of issues, such as the need for the Iraqi parliament to adopt laws to better protect foreign investment and leaving unchanged the terms of the timetable for the withdrawal of the 130,000 U.S. troops now in the country.

Anonymous Quote #2
But Biden is reluctant to be seen as meddling in a domestic Iraqi issue, and a senior administration official said the vice president operated largely in "listening mode."

Anonymous Quote #3
Biden reiterated the terms of the withdrawal timeline. The senior administration official said the two men's statements mean "that we have a mutual interest in moving forward" under the conditions set out in the agreement.

Anonymous Quote #4
Biden also appealed to Iraqi leaders to offer more financial incentives for foreign investors to bid on Iraqi oil concessions; only one bid of the eight put out this year was accepted. The administration official estimated that one additional deal would translate into $50 billion to $60 billion in foreign investment in Iraq, generate $600 million in annual revenue and create tens of thousands of jobs in the country.

The official said Biden would deliver the same message to Kurdish leaders in meetings scheduled for Thursday. Kurds' interest in ensuring what they see as a fair share of proceeds from the rich oil fields of Iraq's north has presented an obstacle to a revenue-sharing agreement. Reaching a deal is crucial to Iraq's oil-dependent economy, but the goal has been politically elusive for years.

"In an election season in any country, it's difficult to make definitive progress on any issue, and these are difficult issues," the official said, adding that Biden's hope is for the next Iraqi government to be "in good position" to move on the oil legislation and other matters soon after the election.

Anonymous Quote #5
In all his meetings, Biden asked Iraqi officials to assess their progress on an election law, concerned that without one in place soon the January vote will not be able to proceed. The official said he particularly pressed Ayad al-Samarraie, speaker of the Iraqi parliament, because the law is a legislative matter.

Anonymous Quote #6
But the administration source said Biden told Iraqi leaders that regulatory and other financial protections need to be enacted to make foreign investors more comfortable doing business here.

Some of the proposed protections are before parliament, the official said, and their passage would allow, among other things, for the Overseas Private Investment Corp. to extend loan guarantees to companies wishing to do business in Iraq.

Obama Says He Won’t Rush Troop Decision (A16)
By Karen DeYoung

Anonymous Quote #1
But senior administration officials who discussed the ongoing Afghanistan strategy deliberations on the condition of anonymity said they expected internal discussions of the issue to continue for some time.

Anonymous Quote #2
"Nobody is more impatient for progress in Afghanistan than the president," one official said of the internal talks. "It is a mistake to suggest that ensuring that we have the strategy right and ensuring that we have the right policy in place to protect the American people is inconsistent with urgently addressing the challenge we face in that country."

Anonymous Quote #3
An administration official provided a similar briefing to reporters on the condition of anonymity, and echoed Obama's statement about the timing of any troop decision. The president, he said, was "taking a very deliberate, rational approach, starting at the top of the logic chain," which begins with setting goals and then assessing progress toward meeting them. That process is ongoing, he said, and no determination of whether additional resources are needed will be made until it is completed.

The metrics list, the official said, will allow the administration to assess progress in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- and on the overall counterterrorism goal of defeating al-Qaeda -- on a quarterly basis, with the first assessment due in December.

Anonymous Quote #4
For its part, a senior administration official said, the White House is reluctant to put McChrystal in the lead to explain its policy, fearing a comparison with the Bush administration's approach.

First Full Afghan Tally Gives Karzai 54% of Vote (A16)
By Pamela Constable

Anonymous Quote #1
Galbraith had pushed for an exhaustive probe. Sources who are familiar with the dispute but are not authorized to speak on the record said Eide argued that the international community should not press too hard because it could undermine national stability.

Galbraith had been convinced that Karzai could not win without fraud and had tried to reduce the number of polling stations in some areas in the south, the incumbent's ethnic stronghold, said one diplomatic source. Eide and others, the source said, were convinced that Karzai would win in any case and that any irregularities could be smoothed over, as they were in the 2004 presidential election that Karzai won by a safe margin.

FDIC Packages Loans From Failed Banks (A18)
By Binyamin Appelbaum

Anonymous Quote #1
An FDIC official said a second deal would soon follow, and that he expected others before the end of the year.

The official said that the agency continued to believe that the program could help banks and that the agency in part was moving ahead so that it would be ready if the industry took a turn for the worse.

"We'd be ready to apply this process either on failed bank assets or on open banks," said the official, who conducted a briefing for the media on the condition of anonymity.

Anonymous Quote #2
An executive with a group that placed an unsuccessful bid said that the FDIC had offered a particularly attractive portfolio in this first auction.

Cuomo Subpoenas Bank of America Directors (A19)
By Tomoeh Murakami Tse

Anonymous Quote #1
New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo subpoenaed five Bank of America directors Wednesday as investigators prepare to file charges against the bank's senior executives in connection with its acquisition of Merrill Lynch, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

Anonymous Quote #2
Cuomo plans to subpoena most, if not all, of the directors over the next several weeks, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Bank of America chief executive Kenneth D. Lewis has already testified.

Board members will be asked about whether the bank withheld material information from shareholders, including the $15 billion in additional losses at Merrill that were disclosed weeks after the merger, as well as the $3.6 billion in bonuses it paid to employees shortly before the deal closed. The directors will also be asked about their role in determining what information to disclose and the pressure the bank may have received from government officials in the weeks leading up to the merger, the source said.

Anonymous Quote #3
A source close to the investigation said earlier this week that Cuomo's office is in the final stages of drawing up charges against senior Bank of America executives.

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