Volcker: Annan Not Cleared At All

Contrary to Kofi Annan’s claims to the contrary, the Volcker Commission did not clear the UN Secretary-General of wrongdoing or incompetence in its written report last month. That comes directly from Paul Volcker himself, who found himself rather amazed by that statement from the head of the United Nations:

In an interview aired yesterday with Fox News, Mr. Volcker took direct issue with Mr. Annan’s insistence that he had been exonerated by investigators probing both his role in overseeing the Iraq aid program and conflicts of interest involving a key contract awarded to a Swiss firm that employed Mr. Annan’s son.
“I thought we criticized [Mr. Annan] rather severely,” Mr. Volcker said of his panel’s interim report, released March 29. “I would not call that an exoneration.”
Asked point-blank whether Mr. Annan had been cleared of wrongdoing in the $10 billion scandal, Mr. Volcker replied, “No.”

Perhaps Volcker was naive enough to think that Annan appointed him to “find the truth,” as Volcker describes his mission later in the interview. However, Annan’s spin of Volcker’s interim report — the investigation continues to this day — should clearly show Volcker that Annan used him and his reputation to hide his culpability behind a series of ambiguous findings, and claim that as exoneration. Annan created the Volcker Commission as a reaction to investigations spinning up in the US, which have subpoena power that Volcker lacks. He deftly used Volcker to capture jurisdiction and ensured that subpoenas could not be put into play, making it easier for people to hide documentation and refuse to assist with the investigation.
If Volcker is surprised that such an arrangement leaves the field wide open for Annan to play spin doctor, then he is more foolish than previously thought. That may explain why two of his three lead investigators quit in protest this month, after being overruled on the strength of language in the report that allowed Annan to spin it the way he did. Volcker should reconsider his efforts on behalf of Annan, to whom he reports, and contemplate marrying his efforts to that of Senator Norm Coleman and his investigation, which does have subpoena power and could actually find the corruption Volcker says he seeks.