Dirt and Bernie

Bernard Kerik has announced his withdrawal from consideration as the new Department of Homeland Security chief. Apparently, he’s got nanny problems.

It turns out, though, that Kerik’s got more problems than that. He’s also got bias problems, financial problems, conflict of interest problems, and mob connection problems.

I think the most interesting report has to be this one:
Kerik was also coming under close scrutiny for his windfall profit from stock options in Taser International, a company that makes high-voltage stun guns. He netted more than $6 million on the options, without ever having invested any of his own money. Kerik joined the Taser board after leaving his police commissioner’s job in 2002 . New York City was a purchaser of the stun guns, as was the Department of Homeland Security. Kerik sold the stock in early November, shortly before an Amnesty International report charged that there had been more than 70 Taser-related deaths since 2001.
Intriguing line of business for a potential Homeland Security guy. Not to mention, he sounds as dangerous as Martha Stewart!

It’s an interesting problem for the administration to be faced with, isn’t it? Kerik was Bush’s first choice for Homeland Chief, but his not insignificant list of peccadilloes was outed by the media. I’m surprised that part of the 9/11 Commission’s report on intelligence wasn’t a recommendation to collectively rename all agencies under the proposed intelligence czar the Keystone Cops.

John Aravosis at AMERICAblog says:
I'm watching THIS WEEK this morning. And ABC's Terry Moran, ever the pit bull (not), just reported that the reason the White House didn't know about Kerik's alleged affair with a subordinate, taking thousands of dollars of gifts from his previous job he wasn't supposed to take, etc., is becaus KERIK DIDN'T TELL THE WHITE HOUSE.

Huh. Bush is appointed the top domestic counter-terrorism guy in the US and he doesn't even vet the guy to see if he is, well, a terrorist, or at least a bad cop. But hey, Keriks NEVER TOLD Bush the truth, and as we know, in this White House if you don't TELL the president something, then the president has no obligation to want to, or try to, find out the truth.

The funny thing is that how did so many outside non-profits like CREW, and newspapers across the country, and bloggers/online reporters like John Byrne at RawStory get the inside scoop on Kerik all within a week? Yet the White House didn't have a clue, and had no way of getting a clue about Kerik? They didn't even do an FBI background check on the guy? They couldn't wait a week to do the same investigation everyone else did on the guy? Isn't homeland security worth that kind of due diligence from the White House?
And Atrios points out:
And, of course, the vetting process was handled by Alberto Gonzalez, whose contribution to justice and competence are legendary...
Well, I’m sure Mr. Gonzalez just figured that he and a guy who liked tasers that much were bound to get along fine.

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