URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: Mary Jo White, Famed Terrorism And Financial-Crimes Prosecutor, Gets Nod From President Obama To Head The SEC

recommendedreading1UPDATED 12:53 P.M. ET (U.S.A.) In a move that may signal that the White House sees the SEC as an agency that is playing an increasingly important role in matters of national security and economic security, President Obama is set to nominate famed attorney and former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White to head the SEC. The White House is expected to make a formal announcement this afternoon.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed at a gaggle this morning that the President would announce the nomination this afternoon.

White, currently in private practice, once led the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, commonly known as the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office. She also has held positions in the Eastern District of New York.

Over the years, White has led complex white-collar fraud investigations, and made her name prosecuting organized crime and international terrorism cases. She became a national figure in the 1990s, presiding over the prosecution of Ramzi Yousef in the World Trade Center bombing. And White also prosecuted Mafia figure John Gotti.

Reporters questioned Carney on the White nomination this morning. From the White House press gaggle (italics added/verbatim from transcript):

Q Jay, which of those regulated by the SEC know about Mary Jo White’s qualifications? And does it suggest a new level of aggressiveness of regulatory enforcement?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I can confirm that the President, later today, will announce his intention to nominate Mary Jo White to serve as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. I’ll obviously leave some of this to the President, but it’s certainly out there and been confirmed.

Mary Jo White — for those of us, as you were, here in the ‘90s, know of her extraordinary record as a U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. I mean, she prosecuted a number of large-scale white-collar crimes in complex securities and financial institution fraud. She brought justice to the terrorists responsible for the bombing of the World Trade Center and for the bombing of American embassies in Africa. She also served as a director of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

As you know, the SEC plays an essential role in the implementation of Wall Street reform and rooting out reckless behavior in the financial industry. The President believes that that appointment and the other one — the re-nomination he’s making today — demonstrate the commitment that he has to carrying out Wall Street reform, making sure that we have the rules of the road that are necessary and that are being enforced in a way that ensures we don’t have the kind of financial crisis that we had that led to the worst economic crisis that we’ve seen since the Great Depression.

Q Don’t mess with the SEC.

MR. CARNEY: Look, she’s got an incredibly impressive résumé, and the President is very pleased to be able to nominate her.

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