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Big Trouble In Little Goldman's VPN Firewall?

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

This evening’s latest NYT Story-Morgenson Joint Venture story about Goldman beats a well-beaten drum: the question, which has been discussed extensively on Zero Hedge and elsewhere before, of just how ridiculous and ludicrous is the notion, used by Goldman in both Congress and before the SEC, that Fabrice Tourre, then a midlevel 28 year old whose story has been told millions of times, worked completely and entirely alone when perpetrating the Abacus CDO “transgression” (for which Goldman neither admitted nor denied guilt). Obviously this is such BS that nobody but an entity as entitled (and for the implications of perceived infinite self-entitlement look no further than DSK or David Sokol) as Goldman (and hence the SEC which needs Goldman for future employment prospects) could possibly believe it. There is however, a link in the story that is so weak, that it raises extensive questions about either the credibility of the entire narrative, or the complete worthlessness of Goldman’s IT security and VPN firewall, two possibilities that demand further inquiry.

Here is the relevant extract from the NYT article:

In their Oct. 10 response to the S.E.C., Mr. Tourre’s lawyers, including Pamela Chepiga of Allen & Overy, made an argument that they have not emphasized publicly. They contended that “singling Mr. Tourre out for criticism regarding the content of this clearly collaborative effort is unreasonable.”

So far so good. But here is where it gets downright ridiculous:

These legal replies, which are not public, were provided to The New York Times by Nancy Cohen, an artist and filmmaker in New York also known as Nancy Koan, who says she found the materials in a laptop she had been given by a friend in 2006.

The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building. E-mail messages for Mr. Tourre continued streaming into the device, but Ms. Cohen said she had ignored them until she heard Mr. Tourre’s name in news reports about the S.E.C. case.  She then provided the material to The Times. Mr. Tourre’s lawyer did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

So let’s get this straight: someone, i.e., Ms. Cohen’s friend, found one (supposedly corporate) notebook belonging to Tourre, back in 2006, “discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building.” Not only was this notebook in perfect working order, but somehow, and anyone who has ever worked in investment banking can attest to this, had a permanent VPN connection, something that all who have enjoyed inputting Securicard ID codes at each and every login attempt, know is impossible, to Goldman’s primary email server. In addition, it held in its buffer’s Tourre’s email password for not one, not two, but at least three years, something that is contrary to FINRA regulations which at last check require banks to force employees to change their email password at least once a year. Lastly, Ms. Cohen somehow had parallel access to Tourre’s emails even as he had access on at least one other offsite terminal: an event that would have set off every possible red flag in even the simplest VPN network (and trust us, Goldman has a VPN…it is also very, very well encrypted).

In summary – we call total bullshit on this story.

Which begs the question: what is really going on here? Well, since the premise of the NYT story is to present the now firewalled publication as having access to non-public emails that expose other Goldman employees in Tourre-gate (“In addition to Mr. Egol, they included David Gerst, a securities lawyer in the Abacus group and Darren Littlejohn, another lawyer at Goldman who worked on the deal; Cactus Raazi and Gail Kreitman, sales representatives; Shin Yukawa, a credit ratings specialist; and others” – there is Ms. Kreitman again… the same Ms. Kreitman (and her husband) whom we wrote about a year ago, and who was mysteriously fired long before the Tourre affair) we can only surmise that this is nothing short of the smoking gun that somehow is supposed to hold in it the secrets that could put the Goldman civil (and criminal case) back front and center (We also ignore the fact that attorney-client privilege, which is the key source of information in the NYT article, tends to be the most sacred Non-Disclosure source of information which even reporters are leery of breaking).

We therefore wonder: is the NYT now being used as a conduit through which to build the criminal case against Goldman (which, make no mistake, is about to hit the news any minute) using purposefully leaked smoking guns. On the other hand, the alternative is just as disturbing. Assuming there is no ulterior motive, one wonders: just how secure is Goldman’s firewall from the external world. If a random woman can find a jettisoned laptop and use it to access confidential emails for several years, we would venture to guess: not very. In which case the question becomes: just how many (hundreds, thousands?) of people have parallel knowledge of all the latest happenings at the 200 West headquartered firm?

h/t Manal Mehta


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