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Reunited By 9/11, Giuliani And Kerik Keep Their Distance

The Huffington Post | September 11, 2007
Sam Stein

As presidential candidate and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, took the stage Tuesday to commemorate the sixth anniversary of 9/11, a former friend of his and influential figure from that day avoided the spotlight. Deliberately.

Bernard Kerik, who was the police commissioner of New York when the Twin Towers collapsed, attended the somber memorial near Ground Zero. But he didn't address the crowd. And he definitely didn't rekindle his once-close relationship with Giuliani.

"We sort of passed each other on the sideline there but we didn't talk to each other," Kerik told the Huffington Post. "I'm staying away from his campaign stuff. He has enough shit on his mind. He's going be a busy man for the next year."

Kerik acknowledges that his past troubles - including, among other things, accepting $165,000 in free house renovations from a shady contractor, tax evasion, plotting to wiretap the husband of former Westchester DA Jeanine Pirro, and having romantic, extramarital trysts in an apartment designed to give weary 9/11 rescue workers rest - make him a pariah within Giuliani circles. Nevertheless, he took up the baton of championing his former boss' White House credentials.

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Asked to respond to criticism that Giuliani made a terrible, life-costing mistake by putting New York's terrorist response center in one of the Twin Towers - thereby rendering it moot when the building was hit - Kerik noted the clairvoyance of hindsight.

"Yeah," he said, "I wish I could look back and say some of the things I've done and moves I've made, I didn't make. But the reality is you don't have that luxury of going back. Was it a bad decision? Possibly. But I think people have to look beyond that and look at the scope of the response on 9/11."

As for the criticism expressed by the International Association of Firefighters that Giuliani's performance on 9/11 was more or less a disaster, Kerik decried it as politics.

"The unfortunate thing is they have brought this into the political arena," he claimed. "As an insider in the administration, I know what Rudy did for the fire department. And I know what he did for the city... For anybody to question his leadership, I find it pretty appalling"

Kerik even waded briefly into the presidential campaign, lobbing criticisms at Representative Dennis Kucinich, D-OH, who, in a recent radio interview from Syria, derided America's presence in Iraq.

"I was so sickened by it, I had to turn it off," Kerik said. "The reason we are never going to win this war is because we can't unite against the enemy. I don't know what the parameters are for treason, but this guy should be impeached."

Giuliani's offices were closed in observation of 9/11 and not reachable for comment. Both Kucinich and the International Association of Firefighters took exception to Kerik's attacks.

"Consider the source," Kucinich's press secretary, Natalie Laber, suggested to the Huffington Post.

The International Association of Firefighters was a bit more direct. "Bernard Kerik has been indicted on a number of very serious criminal charges and he is a close personal friend of Giuliani's," the organization's spokesperson, Jeff Zack, said in an email message to the Huffington Post, "no one should take his word for anything."


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911:  The Road to Tyranny