In his first national television interview since the NYSE terrorist plot was revealed, former New York Stock Exchange Chairman and CEO Richard “Dick” Grasso congratulated authorities while expressing reservations.
“The government has a responsibility to … become transparent,” Grasso told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto on Wednesday in an exclusive interview. “They’re losing the confidence of the American people.”
FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce testified on Tuesday that the NSA's controversial surveillance of telephone and Internet communications foiled more than 50 terrorist plots, including one to bomb the Big Board.
“The New York Stock exchange is the symbol of America’s economic excellence,” Grasso said. “Those who want to bring the country down look upon the stock exchange as a proxy … in essence, the assault and perhaps extinguishment of our way of life.”
Cavuto questioned the secret surveillance program’s effectiveness and pressed the former exchange head on whether he believed lives were indeed saved.
“Three thousand people died that day in September because we weren’t doing the things that needed to be done,” Grasso responded, referring to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. “We followed Bin Laden in the latter part of the ’90s. We had a shot at him. We didn’t take it. Who knows whether (we) had taken that shot, 9-11 would have never occurred.”
The former NYSE chief reminded Cavuto the stock exchange was subject to acts of terror several times prior to 1993’s first world trade center bombing.
“In 1979, the FLN blew up a small explosive on a Sunday evening in front of our broad street entrance.” Grasso said. “And then in 1989, an activist group actually got on to the trading floor, penetrating our security.”
“The stock exchange represents a plumb,” Grasso said, “to those who hate our way of life.”