Angry about leaks from the intelligence community, President Trump has asked a secretive private-equity billionaire to take a hard look at the multiple agencies that surreptitiously gather information in the name of protecting America, according to NBC News.
Here is what you need to know about Stephen Feinberg, the co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management and one of Donald Trump’s campaign advisers.
1. Feinberg is closely connected to controversial White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s influential son-in-law Jared Kushner, according to The New York Times.
2. He has no direct intelligence gathering or national security experience. However, Cerberus owns a private military contractor, DynCorp International, that provides security services to government agencies. In 2010, DynCorp had $3 billion in revenues, the majority of which came from the U.S. government.
3. A Bronx-born Princeton grad who excelled at tennis and joined the ROTC, the 56-year-old Feinberg began his Wall Street career at Drexel Burnham Lambert, which specialized in junk bonds and was driven into bankruptcy in 1990 after an insider-trading scandal that famously snared “junk bond king” Michael Milken. The prosecutor who went after Drexel was then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and eventual Trump campaign surrogate who was passed over for a cabinet position.
4. Feinberg is a major Republican donor. In the 2016 race, he first donated $200,000 to the Jeb Bush presidential campaign. When Bush, battered by Trump, dropped out, Feinberg switched to his fellow billionaire. He donated almost $1.5 million to Rebuilding America Now, a super PAC supporting Trump, according to OpenSecrets.org.
5. Cerberus, named after a mythological three-headed dog known as the “hound of Hell,” has more than $30 billion under management.
6. The senior leadership of Cerberus includes former Vice-President Dan Quayle and former Treasury Secretary John Snow. So Feinberg is not only a big-time GOP donor, he also is connected to the Republican establishment.
7. Feinberg has a reputation for avoiding the spotlight, and encourages his colleagues to do the same. He reportedly once said, "If anyone at Cerberus has his picture in the paper and a picture of his apartment, we will do more than fire that person. We will kill him. The jail sentence will be worth it."
8. Cerberus had major stakes in Chrysler and the financial arm of General Motors and was deeply involved in the government bailout of the auto industry under President Obama. Other Cerberus investments range from cosmetics (Avon) to fast-food (Strategic Restaurants) to pharma (PaxVax) and real estate (Haya).
9. Not listed on the Cerberus website is its ownership of Freedom Group, a firearms holding company that controls such brands as Remington, Marlin and Bushmaster, maker of the AR-15 used by the Beltway snipers in 2002 and in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn.
10. Feinberg has three daughters, is married to the former Gisela Sanchez has homes in Manhattan and Greenwich, Conn. He is said to be an avid elk hunter.