Guest Post: How Goldman Dissembled In The Wall Street Journal

Tyler Durden's picture

You have read Dealbook's superficial (and practically dictated) defense of Goldman's subprime bet. Below we present David Fiderer's a vastly different perspective than the one shared by straight-to-HBO expert A.R.S., which provides a far more realistic perspective of what really happened with Goldman and its "big short."

How Goldman Dissembled In The Wall Street Journal

By David Fiderer

The Wall Street Journal story, “Goldman Plans to Fight Back Against Senate Report,” which references the Levin Report on the financial crisis, is somewhat misleading. Consider this excerpt:

For example, one of the most dramatic documents released by the panel is a chart showing the size of Goldman's overall long or short bets on the housing market. While those bets varied from day to day, the Senate subcommittee said Goldman had net short positions of $10.6 billion on Feb. 26, 2007, and $13.9 billion on June 25, 2007. The June 25 position was the company's biggest bet against the housing market, according to the Senate subcommittee.

Goldman now plans to contend that both figures are wildly inaccurate, claiming Senate investigators overlooked or ignored bullish mortgage trades held by the securities firm, these people said. Documents detailing those bets were submitted to the subcommittee, but few of them were released as part of the April report.

The document in question, below, that was not part of the 2011 report. It was released one year earlier, on April 27, 2010, when the Subcommittee held hearings on Goldman’s trades. (See Exhibit # 162.)

After those April 2010 hearings, the subcommittee drilled down further. It came to recognize that The Big Short was never a “bet against the housing market.” Goldman and its cohorts were far more focused. They did not bet against housing, or against subprime bonds in general. Instead, Goldman took a massive short position the BBB and BBB- tranches of subprime bonds. These were the toxic assets with 20 times leverage that were stuffed in to mezzanine CDOs.  Once the housing bubble stopped, these BBB defaults became virtual certainty.  Goldman was a leader in fabricating synthetic mezzanine CDOs, insuring BBB tranches, which were designed to fail.

The Journal continues:

For June 25, 2007, Goldman officials believe Senate investigators didn't take into consideration more than $5 billion of prime, or high-quality, mortgage-backed bonds held by the firm at the time, another document shows.

Here Goldman is trying to suggest some kind of false equivalency between credit risk of prime mortgage bonds (about which we have no information) and the hyper-leveraged BBB tranches on subprime bonds.  No one ever believed that subprime mortgages performed in tandem with the prime market. These two positions do not offset one another and any more than a position in natural gas offsets a position in asphalt.

Finally, Goldman’s pushback seems more than a little disingenuous, given the extent to which it dragged its feet and stonewalled investigators who sought information. Exhibit A is Goldman’s response to a request by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission about the firm’s trading data. Goldman offered up a tally of 22,000 trades, but excluded information on:

  1. Whether a trade was long or short;
  2. The identification of the counterparty; and
  3. The identification of the ABX instrument being traded. 

Which is why it was no surprise last week when Lehman Brothers Holdings accused Goldman of intentionally delaying the disclosure of documents.

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SheepDog-One's picture

'Dissemble' only something elite snob banksters can do.

Gene Parmesan's picture



1. Conceal one's true motives, feelings, or beliefs while wearing spats.   2. Disguise or conceal (a feeling or intention) while wearing spats.
disabledvet's picture

at first i thought it said "while wearing pants."  what's wearing spats?  and of course "elites are known for a ruthless attraction to their reality" and of course Goldman never disappointed on that score!  "disassembling" is what comes when one fears the truth--not when one embraces it as GS so memorably did.  the irony of course is "no one in DC had the guts to say yes, in this instance, it is crime to make money" even "as politicians we are fully cognizant of a your very effective albeit totally criminal sales pitch."  in short a "right back atchya!"  Anywho...

Gene Parmesan's picture

They're what Scrooge McDuck tries to pass off as footwear.

cara leaf's picture

Spats were fancy shoes in the Roaring 20s.  They were hard to keep clean.

steveo's picture

I have outlawed the word Elite in regards to criminals / thieves.

Gene Parmesan's picture

Hold on - let me get this straight. Goldman isn't one of the good guys?!

trentusa's picture

Yes, Goldman is one of the good guys. They are a repentful friend who needs to be checked, but like Catholic priests raping the markets, we cant just throw the church out in the cold?

cara leaf's picture

No, Warren Buffet is the good guy.  He propped them and all their weapons of mass destruction derivatives up.

Talk about fork-ed tongue.  A complete fraud.  First semester.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Andrew Ross-Sorkin is the unfettered King of Apologists for the Rapacious Vampire Squid, bar none.

Andrew Ross-Sorkin; from Tabloid Journalism to The New York Times (again, Tabloid Journalism), to maybe a position at The Squid itself, one bright, sunny day?

Andrew does hope.

4shzl's picture

A hack by any other name is still a hack.  Maybe the Times should bring back Ben Stein -- they'd make a great tag team.

TruthInSunshine's picture

Andrew Ross-Sorking almost took Lord Blankfeind's original job offer as Blankfiend's official toilet bowl licker and ball licker, but it didn't pay any more than his current scum rag gig.

cara leaf's picture

The worst.  I heard him speak in Santa Barbara last week.  Complete jerk.  He told the auditorium this giant secret.  Some Deep Throat from the Fed called him up for meeting.  At this clandestine meeting the Deep Throat said in very hushed tones, "Andy boy, I'm only telling you this...but without the bailout, we think unemployment would've hit 25%."

WOW!  Someone from the Fed ACTUALLY TOLD YOU THAT? I can tell you're in the inner circle.  This idiot who greatly underestimates those who wish to be underestimated, then let us know he had just spent the weekend with Warren Buffet as he pranced around the stage llike a doppelganger for Gates.  He's really a moron.  Said the press, "has to decide what to ttell us dopes because we'd get all hysterical if we knew the facts."  I took issue with this when I asked him a question which he blew off because he didn't know the answer.  Typical bought off emperor, no clothes. 

Conrad Murray's picture

Save a country, hang a banker.

steveo's picture

This chart shows the Bernank will lose this round

Short Euro, closed long ES daytrade

Orly's picture

Don't forget your long USDCHF!

ZeroPower's picture

Not in myself, but maaaaan oh man, can't wait till the big desks pile into that. Guess theyre trying to squeeze every last pip on the trip down... 95 was low, 90 was crazy, 85 was 'GO ALL IN LONG' and now its just gotten ridiculous.

Yen Cross's picture

 Sell the rallies! usd/chf. I have done quite well on that trade.

Gubbmint Cheese's picture

Andrew can eat a stale bag of dicks.

disabledvet's picture

i'm all for a fight for survival on this one.  we all in agreement here?  and speaking of survival..."Espana beeches!"

tallen's picture

Ben's talking, turn CNBC on! Gold/silver about to take off most likely.

Orly's picture

I'm thinking that Goldman is in the same position as Lee Oswald and poor Tim Osman, only Goldman helped plot their own take-down.

Fall guy.


The whole lot'll laugh all the way from a shut-down and dismembered bank.

Blankfein: "Who loves ya, baby?"

Gloomy's picture

The Federal Reserve is risking a second Great Depression by putting pressure on banks to raise more capital, banking analyst Dick Bove writes in a scathing note that accuses the central bank of losing “all sense of reality.”

AladdinSaneGirl's picture

Read the other day an interview with one of the Rothschild's, in which he said it was noticeable that the stock price of many good companies is undervalued right now. This calmed me down as i have taken a big hit in the last month and am sitting on a lot of stock. Then i read that Paulson has also taken a hit but is used to extreme volatility and believes stock will rise up to 40% by year end. He is holding gold whereas Soros and others have sold. So now, im wondering if Paulson knows something about Goldman ... have they been shorting unduly and is that about to be exposed? Just ideas as to what is going on at the top atm.

Thisson's picture

Nobody but Soros knows if he sold his gold position.  He could very well have sold his paper gold position and purchased physical gold, and nobody would be the wiser.

Do what's best for you and yours, and don't be a speculator.  There's no need to be when the ultimate outcome of this debacle is clear: the piper must be paid.

disabledvet's picture

short the squid at your own peril.  "that's why it has only one big eye."  two eyes "are as wasteful as they are unnecessary."  as an expert at "pissing off the planet" however i find it hard to "fathom" why in a time a war "go after the government"?  the irony is that GS "was the civic minded one."  was it all "for the wrong reasons"?  isn't there something to be gained as a GS in trying to support your government?  perhaps the "irony of Bill Gross" can provide a good example.  "if they'd stuck to their patriotism they would have made a killing"..."so to speak."

Yen Cross's picture

 Rupert? Rupert? Rupert?   I guess Ben Stein is off today!

DNB-sore's picture

Discrediting Matt Taibbi and ZH in a show that is involving credibility by people who have lost their credits like GS? Talked straight by WSJ but the facts are there

tradewithdave's picture

When all else fails, there's always Too Cute To Fail...

Who doesn't like puppies and butterflies? 

Dave Harrison



Seasmoke's picture

what does God think about this ?

shortus cynicus's picture

GS is innocent BY DEFINITION.

mberry8870's picture

Ya know I hate fractional banking the Fed etc. etc. but really folks! We are talking a $10 B bet on a market how big? Are we really going to say that people in these markets didn't know Goldman's stance. I am reminded of the story of the scorpion and the frog.... That is what they do. It ain't illegal, it wasn't a fraud. The best cure for a bubble is a pop.