If we weren’t footing the bill, this would be funny:

Among the creditors stung by this week’s bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is another casualty of the credit crunch: Freddie Mac.

Freddie disclosed in a securities filing Thursday that it hasn’t received principal payments of $1.2 billion plus interest on short-term loans to Lehman that were due Monday. A Freddie spokesman said the loans were part of the mortgage company’s routine management of cash reserves and were made in late August. The cash was advanced to Lehman in the federal funds market for short-term loans among financial institutions.

Watching out for the taxpayer’s dime:

It isn’t clear why Freddie accepted such a large exposure to Lehman at a time when that investment bank was struggling to survive as an independent firm. “It’s obvious Freddie didn’t exercise reasonable safeguards,” said Sean Egan, managing director at Egan-Jones Ratings Co., an independent credit-rating firm. A Freddie spokesman declined to comment on whether the safeguards were reasonable.

Well, no it isn’t exactly a mystery why reasonable safeguards weren’t taken. Freddie Mac would still be in business if it was run by people who were taking reasonable safeguards, now wouldn’t it?

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