Krauthammer’s Kerik rationalization

via Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall by Steve Benen on 11/11/07

For most reasonable people, the fact that Rudy Giuliani urged the White House to put Bernie Kerik in charge of the Department of Homeland Security is humiliating. After all, Giuliani had already been briefed on Kerik’s connections to organized crime when he made the recommendation, which puts a crimp in the Republican candidate’s “competent manager” schtick.

Apparently, however, we’ve got it all wrong. Charles Krauthammer wants us to know that Giuliani’s DHS recommendation, which even he now concedes was an embarrassing mistake, is actually an encouraging point for the former mayor.

On the November 9 edition of Fox News’ Special Report, during a discussion of how Republican presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has “dealt with” his former police commissioner Bernard Kerik’s recent 16-count federal indictment, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer asserted that “the fact that [Giuliani] recommended [Kerik] for [secretary of the Department of] Homeland Security is, in some odd way, exonerating.” Krauthammer continued: “[T]he man is not an idiot. If he had actually thought there was real criminality here, as we see in the indictment, you don’t recommend a guy for a post like that if you assume he really is linked with the Mafia, he really has been involved in corruption.”

But according to a November 3 New York Times article, in 2006 Giuliani “acknowledged” in “testimony to a state grand jury” that “the city investigations commissioner, Edward J. Kuriansky, had told him that he had been briefed at least once” about Kerik’s connections to Interstate Industrial Corp., which the Times described as a company “suspected of links to organized crime.” Additionally, according to the Times, Kuriansky also briefed Giuliani’s chief of staff and had documentation of those “sessions,” both of which occurred before Giuliani appointed Kerik as police commissioner in 2000.

I don’t expect much from Krauthammer, but c’mon. If you’re going to shamelessly carry water for Giuliani, it’s best to probably just avoid the Kerik subject altogether.

The former mayor appointed a criminal to head the NYPD, and wanted a corrupt cop with mob ties to be responsible for the domestic security of 300 million Americans. Krauthammer’s valiant efforts notwithstanding, it’s unspinnable.

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