The U.N. hired former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker to investigate the oil for food scandal. I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about Volcker, although I do have reservations about hiring elderly gentlemen to conduct investigations that ought to be carried out by, you know, investigators. Hard-nosed ones.
Now, however, Fox News has reported that Volcker has some apparently troubling conflicts of interest that bear on the investigation. When such “conflicts” are alleged, it is always important to try to separate the real from the (more usual) chimerical. In this case, I have to say that the conflicts seem pretty substantial.
UPDATE: We got this very interesting email from a reader with knowledge of Volcker’s investigation:
I’m a regular reader, and a former federal prosecutor. I just wanted to tell you that Volcker’s Chief Investigating Counsel, Michael Cornacchia, also a former federal prosecutor, and a number of the people he has working for him, including a former Queens ADA and at least 2 former FBI agents that I know of, are real investigators, and people of great integrity. However, the entire thing is structured to report to Kofi Annan, and they have very little power to compel anyone to speak to them or produce documents. And to be perfectly frank, Volcker is long past his prime, and has been in the establishment loop for most of his career. I don’t doubt that was why he was chosen. I suspect the UN will only release carefully massaged portions and “summaries” of what they find out.