Friday, December 03, 2004

The Kerik you may not know

Giuliani Flunkey Kerik Gets Homeland Security Nomination

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who became a millionaire by helping Rudolph Giuliani's company sell post-9/11 "anti-terrorism" services, has been nominated by George W. Bush to replace Tom Ridge as head of Homeland Security. Giuliani highlighted Kerik at the Republican National Convention by referring to him in this bizarre anecdote about what Giuliani did in the midst of the 9/11 attacks: "I grabbed the arm of then Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and I said to him 'Bernie, thank God, George Bush is our President." Kerik's lucrative record in the "fear of terrorism" makes him an ideal choice for the Bush administration.

Kerik, who recently sold "$5.8 million of stock in a company that makes stun guns used by many police forces" once declared bankruptcy when he was a young police officer. As police commissioner, he was fined $2,500 by the City's Conflict of Interest Board, after using police officers to conduct research into his mother's death for content in his 2001 autobiography.

He is also accused of using homicide detectives "to question and fingerprint several Fox News employees whom his publisher, Judith Regan, apparently suspected of stealing her cellphone and necklace." This is the man who will run "the largest federal department created since the Defense Department in 1949... oversee security of the nation's borders, ports and airports and will be in charge of the Secret Service, the Coast Guard, customs and much of the immigration service," as the New York Times reports.

Tom Ridge, who used terrorism alerts to frighten voters during the presidential election campaign, may very well be seen as a model public servant compared to Kerik. The rise of Rudolph Giuliani's one-time chauffeur to such an elevated federal position is a sure sign that the former Mayor of New York City is a force to be reckoned with within the Republican Party. The tapping of Kerik is also an indication that homeland security is not a real priority for the Bush administration.