Maybe with now the Third Bailout, it's time to ask the hard questions about AIG.
The third bailout fund for AIG of 30 billion US dollars makes that insurance company the largest corporate recipient of federal funds, according to Bloomberg, which calculates its debt to the government at 70 billion dollars. AIG requested the third tranche, claiming that it could find no buyers for its Asian insurance operation, AIA.
This is patently untrue. In fact, China Life has shown strong interest in purchasing AIA's (AIG's Asian unit) assets in the Greater China region but, insurance industry insiders say, was rebuffed by AIG's asking price, which was astronomical considering the company's heavy debt burden. The transfer of AIA to the federal government, probably to protect sensitive private data that cannot be shared with foreign companies without igniting a major scandal, confirms suspicions long held about the 'revolving door' between AIG executives and the US intelligence agents.
Intelligence agencies in Japan, Indonesia and China have long suspected that AIG and its Asian unit, AIA, were heavily used as cover for placement of NOC agents, eavesdropping operations and for collecting private data unrelated to insurance matters on their nationals.
The links between the American International Group and the U.S. intelligence establishment were disguised by less than a fig leaf. This former CEO and chairman Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, who promotes himself as old China hand was a longtime member of the National Intelligence Council and adviser to the National Economic Council. Kenneth Starr's uncle, Cornelius Vander Starr, was also a top executive with the far-flung insurance company.
Beijing has kept a hawk eye on AIG's data collecting on Chinese citizens, which got a boost by hiring exiled Chinese dissidents following the Tiananmen incident. In more recent times, the new AIG tower on the posh downtown Hong Kong waterfront raised eyebrows for its fortress-like design and antennas spouting peeking out from its angular upper floors.
Considering the estimated 60 billion in losses sustained by AIG thus far, the Obama administration has an obligation to disclose to both investors and taxpayers the extent of US intelligence manipulation of the insurance company - and whether Agency officials were involved in diverting funds from the company to finance 'black operations' or to line their own pockets. Did the Agency-based executives run AIG into the ground by funneling corporate funds into covert operations outside of congressional authority? Or were billions simply spend on slush funds?
In Hong Kong, NOCs in AIG were known to lead the high life in vast and expensive expat apartments, wining and dining in tycoon-level restaurants and clubs, and keeping prostitutes on the AIA payroll disguised as insurance brokers. To local Hong Kongers who have a strong belief in 'feng shui', there was a dread of AIA since its first headquarters (still used as a back office) has windows shaped like coffins.