In interviews for an article The Observer published earlier this week about Standard & Poor’s, one interviewee floated the idea that S&P downgraded the United States from AAA to AA+ to make future government investigations of the rating agency’s role in the mortgage crisis appear retaliatory. While certainly plausible, this motive sounded a little bit conspiratorial.
Then, today, The New York Times reports that the DOJ is investigating Standard & Poor’s for its role in improperly rating mortgage-backed securities as AAA in the mortgage crisis: Louise Story writes:
The investigation began before Standard & Poor’s cut the United States’ AAA credit rating this month, but it is likely to add fuel to the political firestorm that has surrounded that action. Lawmakers and some administration officials have since questioned the agency’s secretive process, its credibility and the competence of its analysts, claiming to have found an error in its debt calculations.