Sunday, April 08, 2007

Kerik vetting by White House "rushed"

More news today about once-nominated Bernie Kerik as Homeland Security chief -- the Bush administration should have seen all the issues surrounding Kerik at the time of his nomination. Fortunately, Kerik withdrew his nomination.

Here are some red flags Bush and his bafoons should have seen and acted on (admittedly they saw them, but they disregarded them):
  • Kerik was fined $2,500 by New York City for using police detectives to help him with his autobiography.
  • He was also a defendant in a civil lawsuit accusing him of retaliation against a corrections official who had disciplined a female prison guard with whom Kerik was having a relationship.
  • One of Kerik's former top deputies was convicted of stealing money from a foundation that Kerik ran while serving as Giuliani's corrections chief. The foundation was funded by rebates from tobacco companies selling cigarettes to prison inmates.
  • Kerik, who filed for bankruptcy as a police officer, became rich almost overnight after leaving office. Just before his nomination, he made a quick $6.2 million without investing a dime by exercising stock options from his service on the board of Taser International, a stun-gun firm seeking business with homeland security agencies.
  • Kerik's tenure in Iraq generated strong criticism of his management. Iraqi officials complained to U.S. authorities about $1.2 billion Kerik spent to train Iraqi police officers in Jordan, spending they called wasteful. Iraqis also questioned why Kerik spent tens of millions of dollars to buy weapons for Iraqi trainees when the U.S. military had confiscated plenty of such weapons after the invasion.
Bottom line: President Bush wanted a 9/11 hero to head the new Department of Homeland Security and Kerik, with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani's sterling recommendation, was his man.

And guess who was in charge of vetting Kerik? Alberto Gonzales. Is "Alberto" the most incompetent lawyer ever? Thank goodness that Bush has finally fired him! (Oh, wait, he hasn't and probably won't.)
WP: White House looked past Kerik alarms - Highlights -