Libya: Get’m with Geithner
I have reported before that the most effective person in the Obama Administration might be Timothy Geithner. The Obama Administration uses him as a tiger to go after bad guys. He puts the lock on their assets.
“Sanctions in 72 hours: How the U.S. pulled off a major freeze of Libyan assets
Gallery: Conflict and chaos in Libya: As forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi continue attacks on rebels and international strikes begin, thousands of Libyans flee the fighting.
By Robert O’Harrow Jr., James V. Grimaldi and Brady Dennis, Wednesday, March 23, 2:38 PM
The Treasury Department team had been working nonstop on a plan to freeze Libyan assets in U.S. banks, hoping they might snare $100 million or more and prevent Moammar Gaddafi from tapping it as he unleashed deadly attacks against protesters who wanted him gone.
Now, at 2:22 Friday afternoon, Feb. 25, an e-mail arrived from a Treasury official with startling news. Their $100 million estimate was off — orders of magnitude off.
The e-mail said there was in “excess of $29.7 Billion — yes, that’s a B.”
And most of the money was at one bank.
It was a piece of extraordinary good fortune for the Obama administration at a crucial moment in the efforts to address the bizarre and deadly events unfolding in Libya.
Never before had U.S. officials so quickly launched economic sanctions affecting so many assets of a targeted country.
The frenetic 72 hours leading up to the Executive Order 13566 illustrate how a process of identifying and freezing assets — something that customarily has taken weeks or months — has become one of the first tactical tools to employ in the midst of fast-breaking crises.
It also shows that government officials have learned from other recent economic sanction efforts, including against Iran and North Korea. Instead of being a secondary measure, as in the past, economic sanctions have become a centerpiece of national security policy.”