Imaginary terrorists, undocumented dishwashers and NAMBLA were far more important than our country's economic security.
| LAT | FBI saw threat of mortgage crisis
WASHINGTON -- Long before the mortgage crisis began rocking Main Street and Wall Street, a top FBI official made a chilling, if little-noticed, prediction: The booming mortgage business, fueled by low interest rates and soaring home values, was starting to attract shady operators and billions in losses were possible.
"It has the potential to be an epidemic," Chris Swecker, the FBI official in charge of criminal investigations, told reporters in September 2004. But, he added reassuringly, the FBI was on the case. "We think we can prevent a problem that could have as much impact as the S&L crisis," he said....
...sources familiar with the FBI budget process, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the growing fraud problem, say that he and other FBI criminal investigators sought additional assistance to take on the mortgage scoundrels....
But the tepid response also reflects a broad realignment of law-enforcement priorities at the Justice Department in which mortgage fraud and other white-collar crimes have been subordinated to other Bush administration priorities.
That has reflected, in part, the ramp-up in national security and terrorism investigations after the Sept. 11 attacks. But the administration has also put more support behind efforts against illegal immigration and child pornography.